The South Coast of Iceland has many stunning sights, including Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss, which are both located directly off of the Ring Road. There are also other locations for adventurers who are willing to venture off of the ring road, such as the Sólheimasandur plane wreck, and Dyrhólaey, which is just outside the town of Vik. In Icelandic, Dyrhólaey means “the hill-island with the door-hole”, which refers both to the height of the area, and the geologic features in the area. At 120 meters (360 feet) Dyrhólaey is a peninsula that is the highest point on the southern mainland. This means that on sunny days, visitors will have great views of the coastline of Selfoss; and of Mýrdalsjökull to the North. However, even on days where the weather is less than ideal, there are great views of the coastline, including the volcanic black beaches of the area and the massive sea arch that has been eroded from the headland.

Directions: Dyrhólaey is located off 218, which is well-marked and signed on both directions of Iceland’s Route 1. It is a two to two and one half hour drive from Reykjavik, and is twenty-five kilometers southeast of Skogafoss; and twenty-two kilometers to the West of Vik. The 218 is a single lane road that crosses both the lower area and the upper areas of the region; and ends in a parking lot in the upper region. From this point there are a number of trails that crisscross volcanic rock cliffs and head down to the beaches. While most of these trails are short, this is an area with plenty for people to explore.

Dyrholaey, Spring 2015

Tips: The area is a great spot to view nesting birds, and because of this, portions of the area are closed during spring and summer. In addition to that, this is an area with strong waves and tides, which are referenced on numerous signs in the area. While warnings are common in many places, this is an area where you should not be lulled into a false sense of security. While I was on the beach (with an eye on the ocean), a wave came up quickly, and despite being only knee-high, nearly dragged me into the surf (or beyond). Do not take the warnings lightly, and be sure to keep an eye on the ocean while you are enjoying the fantastic scenery of the region.

Waves crashing through some of the volcanic rock features at Dyrholaey