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Vestrahorn, Iceland

Saturday, June 3, 2023 - 7:45pm by Lolo
57 miles and 1.2 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Herb meets VestrahornHerb meets VestrahornWhat a day it had already been with enough varied scenery to normally fill a week - sod-covered churches, a beautiful canyon hike to a waterfall, a glacier lagoon with icebergs bopping about, and a stunning beach covered in glittering ice.

But it wasn’t over yet. In fact, the best was yet to come,

After Diamond Beach, we were pretty much leaving the touristy section of the Ring Road and heading into the more remote natural beauty of eastern Iceland.

VestrahornVestrahornWe had watched plenty of YouTube videos during our pre-trip planning and were very excited about visiting Vestrahorn, a stunning mountain with spiky peaks rising 1,490 feet above a flat, black sand beach with undulating dunes and giant tufts of grass.

The locals call it “Batman Mountain,” because its spiky peaks (“horns”) look like the Batman logo.

Tiny little Viking Village at base of mountainTiny little Viking Village at base of mountainUnlike most of the mountains in Iceland, which are volcanic in origin, this one is made out of iron- and magnesium-rich gabbro rock, which leads to its dark and jagged appearance. The perfect setting for a Viking Village or an episode of Game of Thrones.

Since it’s located down an unmarked dirt road off the Ring Road, very few tourists come here - mostly just photographers that know about this spot. It's absolutely stunning.

Across the beachAcross the beachTo get here, we passed the turnoff for the town of Höfn, and continued on the Ring Road for about 4 miles and made a right turn onto the unmarked dirt road immediately before a long dark tunnel.

We continued on this road for about 2.5 miles before arriving at the Viking Cafe.

It was quite cozy and nice with lovely pastries and other baked goods for sale. They have a small campground there - basically two parking lots, one behind the cafe and one atop a nearby hill. We preferred the one up the hill because there were better views.

We booked camping for the night, which gave us free access out onto the Stokknes Peninsula where Vestrahorn is located. Otherwise, it costs $10.

Shortcut along the tidal flatsShortcut along the tidal flatsAfter paying, we drove through the gate out onto a dirt road that brought us alongside the tidal flat and sand dunes. Clouds were moving in quickly, so he had to hurry if we wanted to catch the beautiful light that was still falling on Vestrahorn.

We parked in the first pullout we could find and ran out onto the grass-covered dunes for a striking view, and hopefully some striking photographs, of this amazing mountain.

Getting closerGetting closerLuckily we did, because we literally only had 10 minutes of sunlight on the mountain before the clouds darkened its face. Thank God, we didn’t stop for a pastry and coffee in the Cafe or we would have missed it.

While Herb was rushing around trying to catch the fading light, Hilda and I noticed some tiny little structures at the base of the mountain, way over on the other side of the tidal flats. This must be the tiny Viking Village, which was the film set for a movie that never happened.

Our Viking hostOur Viking hostAdventurous women that we are, Hilda and I decided that we would try to get there. It turned out to be a lot more of an adventure than we expected.

So off we went across the grassy dunes towards the beach, where we occasionally sunk quite deeply in the sand. The reflections of Vestrahorn in the calm sea though were worth getting our sneakers wet.

The real trail went straight across the beach to the base of the mountain before turning left towards the Viking Village. We, however, decided to take a diagonal shortcut (the hypotenuse) across what we discovered a bit too late was a wet tidal marsh.

Traditional Icelandic sod-covered homesTraditional Icelandic sod-covered homesWe weaved our way along the driest spots we could find and eventually made it to the Viking Village, dramatically set against the base of the massive Vestrahorn.

The village is a replica of an authentic Viking village, created in 2010 as a movie set for a Universal Studios production, which never happened because of budgetary reasons. We had the whole place to ourselves and were able to wander amongst the various sod-roofed wooden structures, much like the traditional Icelandic turf houses. There was even a wood-carved Viking to greet us.

There was even a Viking ship that we could board and pretend that we were Vikings. Hilda beat me to the ship’s wheel and took command of the ship.

Traditional Icelandic sod-covered homesTraditional Icelandic sod-covered homesWe had been gone for almost two hours already, so I texted Herb thinking he might be worried about us. When he didn’t respond after 20 minutes or so, I texted him again thinking I might get his attention with, “I met Thor in the Viking Village. Don’t wait up for me,” but even that didn’t get a response. Herb’s not the jealous type.

After having enough fun playing Viking, Hilda and I continued on and back to the van, where the boys were happily drinking beer, totally unphased that we had been gone for two hours.

Viking shipViking shipWe drove back out through the access gate and up the hill to our campsite for the night. The Viking Cafe was already closed (Vikings must go to bed early), so it was backpacking food for us in our camper - Idahoan powdered potatoes with Starkist chicken in a package mixed in. Oh, and Hilda made some cabbage so we would have a veggie.

We were pretty exhausted. It had been a very big day..

Vestrahorn location map in "high definition"

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