Things to See and Do Near Vík in Iceland
Home of Iceland's most southernmost village, Vík is a small yet quaint destination that all travelers should experience during their time on the land of fire and ice. Nestled under the well-known Mýrdalsjökull, the country's fourth largest ice cap, this tranquil location is home to some of Iceland’s most popular things to visit with its location being just off the renowned Ring Road.
Although it has only a few hundred inhabitants, the settlement of Vík is the largest within a 70km+ range and is a strategic staging post for both locals and tourists alike. Vík not only offers visitors a picturesque church with sweeping views over the city itself but also acts as a place for refuge after a long day, including grocery shopping, restaurants, a swimming pool and even a wool shop with some souvenirs to take back home. Home to Iceland’s most famous black sand beach, and neighboring one of the largest active volcanoes on Iceland, Vík has become popular for good reason and continues to attract visitors due to proximity and all that this small town has to offer.
Reynisfjara, “the Black Sand Beach”
Your first stop outside of Vík, and the one that no one is allowed to miss, located directly on the other side of Vík, is Iceland’s famed black beach. Reynisfjara, known as “The Black Sand Beach”, has gained its popularity due to its uniquely situated basalt columns, the myth of Reynisdrangar and the dangerous waves that come crashing on to its charcoal-coated shores.
The story has it, that the two formations jutting out of the water at the black sand beach (Reynisdrangar) were actually two live trolls. One evening, these trolls attempted to pull a ship from the sea, and as the sun began to rise, the trolls were caught directly in the daylight and immediately turned to stone.
Making your way in the opposite direction from Reynisfjara, located West from the village of Vík, Dyrhólaey (translating to “Door Hill Island”) offers its visitors sweeping views out onto the ocean and a picture worth 1,000 words. This peninsula is roughly 120 meters and is most known for its lighthouse and awe-inspiring outlook of the Southern coast. During the warmer months, visitors can enjoy the sight and sounds of Atlantic puffins who tend to be found nesting on the cliffs that jut out off of Dyrhólaey directly into the Atlantic. Be aware that during nesting season (8 May til June 25th) traffic to Dyrhólaey is limited to daytime hours.
If glaciers make up your ideal type of adventure, you can’t miss a trip to Mýrdalsjökull while you’re within the vicinity of Vík. Covering the active Katla volcano, this glacier stands tall at nearly 1500 meters, with its last massive eruption occurring just a little over a century ago. Getting up close and personal with the glacier, there’s also a chance to visit inside with a guided tour to see the work of mother nature first-hand. Dazzling blues bouncing off each and every angle as the pristine light reflects through the tunnels is really an experience that will not be forgotten.
Sólheimasandur and the DC3 plane wreck
If you really want to get the adrenaline rushing, as well as a closer look at Mýrdalsjökull, don’t miss an ATV tour to get up close and personal with some of the best parts of Iceland's southern coast. There’s also the chance to visit an actual plane wreck with access via shuttle. Located on the Sólheimasandur beach, a short drive and walk from the village of Vík, take the trip to see the remains of a crashed US Navy DC plane that's been stuck in the same spot for nearly half a century. This spot is one of Iceland’s most visited and most photographed places for a reason, so make sure it makes its way on to your itinerary!