What is interesting about Hvitserkur – the bizarre rock of Iceland
A unique natural attraction in Iceland – Hvitserkur rock. How to get there, when is the best time to go, how to prepare and what to take with you.
Hvitserkur is located in northwest Iceland, in the eastern part of the Vatnesnes Peninsula, which itself is one of the most interesting places in the country. This rock is known all over the world for its bizarre shape, resembling a dinosaur drinking water from the sea. It is home to many species of seabirds, whose stains of droppings add to the grim charm of this landmark in Iceland.
Excursions in and around Reykjavik
The most interesting excursions are the itineraries from locals on Tripster . It is interesting to start with a sightseeing tour of Reykjavik (the capital of Iceland, though small, but there are plenty of interesting places there). And then go on a trip to the “Golden Ring of Iceland” (the 8-hour program includes all the main natural beauties of the country, including the Valley of Geysers Højkadalur and Gudlfoss Waterfall).
Hvitserkur – “elephant” or “dinosaur”
Hvitserkur (Hvítserkur means “white shirt”) is better known in tourist guides as the “Dinosaur of Iceland”. Although some see it as an “elephant” or even a “mammoth. The rock is considered one of the most famous near Nordur-Mulasisla, its height is 356 meters above sea level.
Hvitserkur is one of the symbols of Iceland
The rocks of Hvitserkur are whitened by the droppings of the gluttons, birds of the petrel family that nest on it. This gives the black rock a whimsical glow in the sunlight.
There are two through holes in the lower part of Hvitserkur, which creates the illusion that these are the mighty claws of a dinosaur or a mammoth that stooped to drink seawater. To protect the base of the rock from the destructive erosion of the waves, Icelanders prudently reinforced it with concrete.
One of the main attractions near Hvitserkur is watching the colony of seals, there lives one of the largest in Iceland. In the coastal waters you can spot large blue-golden jelly fish, which get washed ashore during high tides. The region is also famous as a habitat for seabirds (mostly grouse and gulls), which are found here in huge flocks.
On the opposite side of the peninsula you can visit the large village of Hvamstangi, which is located 197 km north of Reykjavik.
Hvitserkur: where is it and how to get there
To travel around this area of Iceland, it is best to rent a car. Just keep in mind that you will have to drive on bumpy trails and a difficult coastal strip in terms of driving. It is very sparsely populated, and the nearest town has only 50 thousand inhabitants. So it is advisable to have a map, plan a route and an overnight stay in advance. Benches and picnic tables can be found in the parking lot of Ósar, which is easily accessible to the coast on a sandy trail.
An alternate route to Hvitserkur Cliff is along Route 711, starting from County Road 1, which can be traveled throughout the Vatnesnes Circle.
When is the best time to go to Hvitserkur
The area is warmest in July, coldest and wettest in March, and the most rainfall in December. However, the best time to travel to Hvitserkur is May. It’s dry, sunny and very photogenic.
You can plan a trip in mid-September or mid-April – in these months it is still warm, the nights are dark, and there is a good chance of catching the northern lights over the sea and Dinosaur’s Rock in all the colors of the rainbow.
During high tides you can walk up to the 15-meter high rock Hvitserkur directly on the sea shore. True, the guides always recommend having a stick or an umbrella-tether to scare off the pesky polar terns (this is the national bird of Iceland, depicted on the postage stamps of the country). While locals hold them in high esteem, these birds can be intimidating to untrained tourists, who may find them intrusive and aggressive.
Terns attack travelers on the approach to the rock. This is their nesting site, and they are not particularly happy to see uninvited guests.
Where to stay near the cliff 2022
If you go to the “Dinosaur of Iceland” from Reykjavik, you have to travel more than 500 km (round trip) in one day. Many travelers, not wanting to spend so much time on the road, go to the peninsula Vatnesnes with an overnight stay or even two. There are several guest houses and budget hostels in the Hvitserkur area.
1 Brimslóð Atelier Guesthouse
Address: Brimslóð 10A, Blönduós, Iceland
Brimslóð Atelier Guesthouse
One of the best hotels in Blöndüös, decorated in Scandinavian style. The living room has a view of the sea. Rooms are medium sized, stylish and comfortable, wi-fi free. Tasty varied breakfasts. The hostess is also an author of cookery books and her specialties are served in the restaurant.
2 Hótel Hvítserkur
Address: Vesturhópi, Thorfinnsstadir, Iceland
Standard Room at Hótel Hvítserkur
A hotel even closer to Hvítserkur than Brimslóð Atelier Guesthouse. Another local attraction, Lake Hop, is 800 meters from the guesthouse. Very friendly staff, simple but cozy rooms, Scandinavian-style generous breakfasts. Parking is available, wi-fi works.
Vatnsnesvegur, Vatnsnes, Iceland
Ósar Hostel near Hvitserkur
Although called a hostel, Ósar is still not one in the literal sense. Rather, it is a private home with three- and four-bed rooms. It is not possible to book just one bed in it and you have to pay for the whole room. Therefore, Ósar Hostel can be recommended to companies of 3-4 people.
The rock Hvitserkur on the map of Iceland
The main landmark in the area of Hvítserkur: Hvítserkur parking lot – 350 meters from the natural landmark of Iceland.
Hvítserkur – stone monster of Iceland, which from afar seems to be a living creature
Hvitserkur is a huge basalt rock, which is located on the northwest coast of amazing Iceland. In general, this country is rich in unusual and unique attractions, one of them was Hvitserkur.
The beauty of the rock.
The rock rises above the surface of the water as much as 15 meters and about the same distance to the nearest shore. Several hundred years ago this rock was a volcano of the same name, but the raging waves of the Atlantic Ocean destroyed most of its crater and only this basalt rock remained.
Hvitserkur in Russian means “white shirt”, this name was given to the rock because of the permanent thick layer of cormorant droppings on its surface.
To look at this former volcano, it is enough to walk up to the shore of the ocean. At low tide, those who want to get closer to the rock almost dry sand.
But it is a credit to the Icelanders that the cliff did not collapse, because they reinforced its base with a thick layer of concrete. When the residents of the area began to notice that the lower part of the landmark was beginning to deteriorate from the constant impact of the waves, they began to put cement on the base of the rock at low tide. Of course, it looks a bit unaesthetic, but it increases the life time of Hvitserkur.
Despite its majesty, from the shore it looks like a huge dog or boar. This is especially pronounced at sunset, when the low rays of the sun, create additional shadows. Some have noted that the volcanic rock looks more like a monster that drinks water from the ocean. Due to the two through holes in the base of the rock, it creates the image of two powerful paws of some creature.
Iceland – a country of incredibly beautiful northern lights, and this phenomenon even more adorns the rock Hvitserkur with many different shades.
Local legends of the rock
The locals of the northwest coast of Iceland could not leave this landmark without a myth. For example, one legend says that Hvitserkur Rock is a frozen troll that didn’t have time to hide before the sun came up.
In 1990, images of Hvitserkur Rock appeared on Icelandic postage stamps.
Also a favorite attraction near this landmark is seal-watching. This is where the largest colony of these animals in Iceland lives.
Right near the shore, you can see the beautiful golden-blue fish that have ended up there because of the waves and tides. Also, the northwestern part of Iceland is known to be home to a large number of seabirds.
The quickest way to get to enjoy the views at Hvitserkur is to rent a car. But to do so, you must be sure to have a navigator with you and a pre-booked spot for your overnight stay. The road is quite challenging and bumpy, but driving along the coastal strip of Iceland will give your tourists as much admiration as its end point.
The nicest and warmest month in this country is July, and the wettest and coolest is March. But to visit exactly Hvitserkur the most favorable month will be May, as during this time it is very sunny, warm and photogenic.
If you want to catch the beautiful northern lights, you should plan your trip for September or mid-April.