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

ABOUT HVITSERKUR

Hvitserkur sea stack in north iceland

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. 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 a unique essence. 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's and only leaving behind the Hvitserkur stack. It is noteworthy to mention that Hvitserkur survived because the locals shored up its foundation with concrete a few years ago. Moreover, the geological oddity was commemorated on an Icelandic stamp in 1990. So, now that we have some rudimentary information about Hvitserkur, Iceland, let us move toward the local legends surrounding the natural marvel. 

HVITSERKUR – LOCAL LEGENDS AND FOLKLORE

sunset reflection on Hvitserkur

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 practice 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.

GEOGRAPHICAL AND CLIMATIC SPECIFICITY OF HVITSERKUR, ICELAND

people sightseeing black sand beach in iceland

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.

Moreover, there is also a hiking trail to Osar, where we can observe friendly and playful seals. In all honesty, the temperatures at Hvitserkur remain reasonably uniform throughout the day and during the whole year. As such, there is a general lack of seasons in the area. The spot is warmest in July and sunniest and driest during May. The winters are bitterly cold, and the freezing periods are prolonged. March is the coldest month in Hvitserkur. The average evening temperature of the area is 22.1 degrees Fahrenheit. We can generally expect rainfall during December. So, if you are planning to visit Hvitserkur, Iceland, please make sure that the time you are traveling is neither too hot nor too cold. Furthermore, it is also essential to pack the necessities accordingly. So, now that you know about the climatic and geographical specificities of Hvitserkur, let us try and gauge how exactly to reach the spot. 

HOW TO GET TO HVITSERKUR

hikers walking to hvitserkur sea stack formation

Hvitserkur in Iceland is located next to road number 711 on the eastern side of the 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 the 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. 

TOP 8 THINGS THAT MAKE HVITSERKUR SPECIAL – UNIQUE FEATURES

After reading the fundamentals of Hvitserkur, Iceland, we are sure that you are keen on knowing its unique features. Well, we have cataloged a list of pointers that will, undoubtedly, imbibe some fascination toward the place in your mind. 

  • The wildlife around Hvitserkur is a sight for sore eyes. You can observe the ever-so-classic Icelandic sea birds such as seagulls, shag, and fulmar. Adorable seals add to the charm of the entire spot. Moreover, we can also spot some aggressive and snooty arctic terns. It is interesting to note that Hvitserkur is one of the enormous seal colonies of Iceland. So, you are in for one hell of a miraculous ride. 
resting seals in iceland
  • On the beach of the Vatnsnes Peninsula, you can notice a smack of jellyfish. These colorful creatures are beautiful and wondrous, but be careful as they can be lethal. 

  • The swarms of seabirds surrounding the colossal rock stack and constantly moving around it provide Hvitserkur with a rotating appearance. As such, it seems like the “Rhino Rock” is somehow alive and thriving. Wouldn't it be absolutely ethereal to witness a geological spectacle that appears to be breathing and in motion? We are sure it would be! 

  • 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. 
northern lights over Hvitserkur rock formation
  • Hvitserkur is undoubtedly one of the best seal-watching spots in the whole of Iceland. 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. Hvammstangi near Hvitserkur has tiny shops and cozy restaurants that you can spend some time in. 

  • 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 to watch fun-loving seals in their natural habitat. 
beach in north iceland
  • To everyone's pleasant surprise, Hvitserkur is an easy drive from the serene and decorated Suluvellir farm – a place known for its quintessential Icelandic scenery and aesthetic aura. So, if you want more soul food and visual treats, then head to Suluvellir after your Hvitserkur detour. 

  • 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 at 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. 

THING TO DO AT HVITSERKUR, ICELAND

Iceland is a country of innumerable wonders, and its gigantic rock stack – Hvitserkur is not an exception. Now, after grabbing some essential knowledge of the tourist spot, let us look at the many things you can do in Hvitserkur. 

baby ducks in Hvitserkur Iceland
  • Wildlife Observing – Eclectic-colored jellyfishes and seals will be your go-to sights when you visit Hvitserkur. So, you are in for a wildlife ride. Whether you are traveling with your friends, family, or all by yourself, Hvitserkur, Iceland, will enrich you with nature's scent and make you fall in love with Mother Earth all over again. You will find yourself amid the largest colonies of seals in Iceland. Moreover, along the beach's shoreline, starry-eyed, colorful jellyfish will be waiting to welcome you. On the opposite side of the Vatnsnes Peninsula, you can visit the cozy town of Hvammstangi. In addition to seals and jellyfish, Hvitserkur is an excellent place to bird-watch. The massive rock stack is an abode of birds like fulmars, seagulls, etc. Lastly, while visiting during summers, you can see the national bird of Iceland – the arctic tern – blazing over Hvitserkur in pride. Although these birds may be somewhat aggressive, they are loved and also protected by the locals.
      
  • Embracing the Scenic Beauty - The breathtaking beauty of Iceland needs no introduction. But, Hvitserkur is a unique geological remnant as it survived the test of time. The 49-foot rock stack is a glory to look at. You will forget all your worries and realize how minute your problems are in front of this big vast universe. Hvitserkur will make you feel humble, and you will be able to recognize the spirit and feistiness of nature. So, if you are zealous about re-embracing Mother Earth and nature, then Hvitserkur will be your go-to place. 
wild flowers in north iceland
  • The essence of Iceland – Hvitserkur aptly represents the essence of Iceland. The surrounding area with magnificent beaches and a colossal water body coupled with adorable towns is eponymous to Iceland. The rural villages of Hvitserkur rely on agriculture, fishing, and other similar trades for their livelihoods. You can engage with locals and attempt to extract a tinge of Icelandic life. Enjoy Icelandic cuisine and homestays in Vatnsnes Peninsula and have a relaxing and memorable time.

In conclusion, Hvitserkur, Iceland, is a place that reeks of nature, coziness, and beauty. We highly recommend you visit the site at least once in your lifetime and gain an otherworldly experience.