What does Iceland have in common with Hartlepool UK, Nevada, Utah and Missouri, USA, Duntroon, New Zealand, and a few more places across the world? An ‘Elephant Rock’.
'Elephant Rock' is a natural rock formation in Heimaey, part of the Westman Islands or Vestmannaeyjar. The islands are a visitor attraction in their own right, but Elephant Rock is the main draw. The basalt rock structure is completely natural, but remarkably, largely resembles that of an elephant! The rock looks identical to an elephant drinking from the water, with some of its trunk submerged in the seawater. Even the texture of the rock adds to the wrinkled appearance of elephant skin! Fans have also spotted the resemblance to H.P. Lovecraft's cosmic entity, Cthulhu, a sea monster with the face of an octopus, of American pulp magazine Weird Tales.
There is a picture that went viral on the internet a while ago about Elephant Rock. Elephant Rock, Iceland, is the close-up elephant face, but the aerial picture is from Asia.
The giant Elephant Rock lies 7.5 kilometers off the south coast of Iceland, near to Heimaey in the Westman Islands. The Westman Islands are a collection of 15 islands and reefs formed by volcanic eruptions and activity underground, under the sea. With a total area of around 13 square kilometers, Heimaey is the largest of these islands, the only populated island that people live on. Elephant Rock is located at the western part of Heimaey.
The approximate GPS coordinates are: 63.439284, -20.311016
Elephant Rock is believed to have been created during one of Mount Eldfell's many eruptions, as the entire Vestmannaeyjar archipelago is volcanic - which makes it an excellent travel destination mainly for geology enthusiasts!
Elephant Rock is best viewed from the sea! RIB boat tours and ferries run 5-6 times a day from Landeyjahöfn, on the mainland, four nautical miles from the rock, and offers the closest views of the rock. Alternatively, from Heimaey, Elephant Rock can be seen from the golf course, at the edge of Halldórsskora’s sea cliffs. To get there you follow the signs to either the campsite, golf course or sports area.
To get to Elephant Rock from Reykjavik, you will need to drive along the South Coast for around 2 hours, around 140 kilometers, following Route One to the ferry port at Landeyjahöfn. From Vik, Landeyjahöfn is roughly 1 hour away, around a 75km drive. From here you can simply take a boat tour out around the islands!