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If you are interested in exploring Iceland, there is a gem of a place you must consider – Hvitserkur. As fascinating as its name sounds, Hvitserkur is a glorious and pristine sea stack in the Vatnsnes Peninsula of Iceland. It is a 15-meter-high stack of basalt rock on the eastern shore of the Vatnsnes Peninsula. So, in case you are keen on knowing more about this wonder of nature, then read ahead. 

Hvítserkur – Drinking Dragon

Where Is Hvítserkur Located?

Hvitserkur is located in northwest Iceland, near the Nordur-Mulasysla region of Iceland, an area of 1171 feet above sea level. It takes 3 hours to reach the Hvitserkur rock stack from Reykjavik by road, meaning that you will cover an approximate distance of 229 kilometers. The picturesque place is a mere 43 minutes from Hvammstangi. Lastly, Hvitserkur is also easily accessible from the Ring Road by a 30-kilometer gravel road. It is noteworthy to highlight that the parking lot of Hvitserkur leads to a timber sightseeing platform for a magnificent bird's-eye view of the enormous rock stack.

How To Get To Hvítserkur?

Hvitserkur is located next to road number 711 on the eastern side of Iceland's Vatnsnes Peninsula. The spot is at a 30-minute distance from the Ring Road, and you can reach it by opting for a gravel road, which is in pretty good shape. You can either take road number 711 from the Ring Road, 716, or route number 717. All three stated roads are gravel roads. During the summer months, a standard car can quickly dissect the entire journey to Hvitserkur. But, during winters, the road to Hvitserkur point is closed due to snow. So, you can park your car at a nearby hotel and walk to your destination.

Tourist couple descending to Hvitserkur

General Information About Hvitserkur

  • Height 15m (49 feet) 
  • Thickness 1-2 meters
  • Location Húnaflói Bay, Northwest Iceland
  • Time to Visit Year-round
  • Activities Photography, seal and wildlife watching, northern lights

What Is Hvitserkur Known For?

Alternately known as the Troll of Northwest Iceland, Hvitserkur is a 15-meter or 49-foot-tall basalt rock stack emerging from the Hunafloi Bay in the Atlantic Ocean. 

At the base of the Hvitserkur are two gigantic holes caused by erosion that make the structure seem like a dragon drinking water. Some are also of the opinion that it looks like an elephant or a rhino. The scientific community traces the formation of Hvitserkur to a volcano plug whose craters wore down with the tides of time. In simpler terms, Hvitserkur was a volcanic plug. But, over the years, its surrounding craters were marred away owing to the Atlantic Ocean and only leaving behind the Hvitserkur stack.

History Of Hvítserkur

Sunset light beaming through Hvitserkur formation

As per Icelandic legend, the Hvitserkur rock was a troll from the Vatnsnes Peninsula. He was persistent in ripping the bells of the Pingeyraklauster Convent. As per local beliefs, the trolls were petrified of Christianity and, therefore, clamored against the church bells. But, one day, one of the trolls became so enraged that he did not notice the rising sun and froze like a rock for eternity due to the glistening rays of the Icelandic sun. 

The broader allegory that the legend hints toward is the movement against the Christianization of Iceland. The country was compelled to convert into a Christian nation in 1000 CE, courtesy of the Norwegian Invasion. The transition was challenging and crushing for the Icelanders who practiced the religion of the Old Norse Gods. They were ostracized and humiliated for more than one millennium for holding on to their faith and possessing traces of it. Hence, the legend of the Hvitserkur troll is an allegory to the steadfast resistance of the Icelanders against the Christian reign. Those who held onto their views were seen as idiotic, violent, and hind-sighted. It also implies that a similar fate of eternal freezing awaits those who resisted the Christianization of the Scandinavian country.

What To Do At Hvitserkur?

Close-up of bird on the shore

Watching Wildlife

Hvítserkur is also a wildlife haven. Below is a glimpse into the diverse wildlife you're likely to encounter here.

Fulmars: These medium-sized seabirds are a common sight at Hvítserkur, nesting on the rock's crevices and cliffs. Their distinctive call and graceful flight add to the enchanting ambiance of the place.

Seagulls: Seagulls are ubiquitous in Iceland, and Hvitserkur is no exception. These charismatic birds are a constant presence, soaring overhead and scavenging for food.

Arctic Terns: The summer months bring a special treat to Hvítserkur: the Arctic tern, Iceland's national bird. These small, energetic birds migrate from the Antarctic to Iceland, and their aerial acrobatics are a delight to watch. 

Jellyfish: The beach near Hvítserkur is a wonderful world teeming with jellyfish. These delicate creatures, with their vibrant colors and otherworldly movements, are stunning to observe. 

Seals: Hvitserkur Iceland is home to one of Iceland's largest colonies of seals, with hundreds inhabiting the surrounding waters. You can spot these playful marine mammals basking on the rocks or gliding through the waves.

In Hvammstangi town, there is an Icelandic Seal Centre where all animal lovers will have the time of their lives. You can observe how seals have impacted this North European nation's natural heritage, traditions, and folklore.

To the south of Hvitserkur is the Sigríðarstaðavatn Lake and beach, which is an immensely rewarding seal-watching location. It is a reliable and rewarding spot for anyone interested in watching fun-loving seals in their natural habitat.

Hvitserkur at distance during sunset


The place is a heavenly abode for photographers. The scenic views of the sun, moon, and Aurora Borealis reflect off of the flat water around Hvitserkur, providing the area with an otherworldly glow and appeal. Therefore, the place is rightly deemed as an endearing spot for Northern Light photographers. So, if you are a photographer on the hunt for unique and untouched places, you must consider Hvitserkur.

Hvitserkur on aurora borealis background

Northern Lights

Hvitserkur offers one of the best views of the Northern Lights. It is a phenomenal spot to bask in the majestic aura of the Aurora Borealis. If enjoying the Northern lights is one of your priorities, you must visit Hvitserkur, Iceland, from mid-September to mid-April. From September to April, the nights in Iceland are incredibly dark, which facilitates a magnificent view of the Northern Lights up above. You can explore the adjacent area of Hvitserkur through a rental car, provided that you don't mind bumpy roads. 

Interesting Facts About Hvitserkur

  • The term – Hvitserkur – literally translates to “white shirt,” a connotation to the fact that it is engulfed in shag and cormorant –  types of water birds – guano. The colossal rock stack looks half white because of the bird droppings of waterbirds nesting on it, providing the entire structure with a unique essence.

  • Despite its enduring presence, Hvitserkur hasn't escaped the relentless forces of erosion. Over centuries, the pounding of the waves has gradually weakened its base, raising concerns about its stability. In 1955, a decision was made to reinforce the rock with cement blocks to prevent the collapse and preserve this natural masterpiece for the generations ahead - a delicate balance between nature's way and human intervention.

  • The geological oddity was commemorated on an Icelandic stamp in 1990.
Tourist looking at Hvitserkur from shore

Best Time To Visit Hvítserkur

Although there is a lesser distinction between the seasons in the area, the best time to visit Hvítserkur might be summer, when the weather is milder, and the sea is calmer. However, the stack is accessible year-round, and winter offers a unique perspective as the sea stack is often covered in snow. Having said that, it's always a good idea to consider the weather conditions when planning your trip to Hvitserkur during the winter period so it’s neither too hot nor too cold!

Where To Stay Near Hvítserkur?

Hótel Hvítserkur: A cozy countryside hotel in Hvammstangi with family rooms and continental breakfast. 

Ósar Hostel: A basic hostel in Vatnsnes with a shared lounge and a bar. 

Glaðheimar Cottages: A collection of cottages for a private and secluded stay in Blönduós.

Brekkukot Cottages: An attractive cottage complex in Blönduós for outdoor enthusiasts.

Illugastaðir Campground: Charming camping facilities perfect for an affordable yet peaceful stay near Hvítserkur.

Attractions Nearby

  • Kolugljúfur Canyon
  • Gauksmýri Horse Farm
  • Hvammstangi
  • “Byggðasafn Húnvetninga & Strandamanna” Museum
  • Hveraborg Thermal Spring
  • Blönduós 
  • Kálfshamarsvík Lighthouse