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Iceland’s most southerly settlement, Vík is on the Route One main road that runs along the south coast of the island. The most iconic feature might be its red-roofed church, isolated up on a hill above the town, or perhaps the towering sea stacks that are marooned just off the black-sanded beach. There is plenty to see and do with an overnight stay in Vík if you’re exploring the south coast or embarking on a road trip around the entire island of Iceland.
Quaint red-roofed church amidst a lush green landscape speckled with yellow flowers, with the contrasting black sand beach and sea stacks looming in the background.
Best time to visit
All year-round
63.41762, -18.99718
Distance from Reykjavík
186km (115mi)

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        Discover a Charming Coastal Village at Vík

        The village of Vík started out as most towns and villages in Iceland did – in the 9th century, a cluster of farms formed a named settlement. However, Vík is different from every other coastal town because it didn’t have any permanent traders settle until 1890.

        The reason it took so long for traders to settle here could be down to the fact that Vík has never had a harbour or pier. It’s the only coastal town or village in Iceland that doesn’t have a harbour, but there is still a lively fishing community that uses smaller boats to haul in their catch of the day.

        The red church of Vík during winter, set against a backdrop of brown mountains blanketed in snow.

        Things to do in Vík

        Despite having a population of around 320 (approximately 750 including the municipality of Mýrdalshreppur), Vík is one of the largest towns in Iceland. So, there are plenty of things to see and do in Vík.

        It’s an excellent place to stretch your legs if you’re making the long drive to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon or are taking in the sights of the south coast.

        A pretty church in traditional Icelandic style sits atop a small hill, overlooking the town and beach – this is the perfect stroll for cramped legs. You can also head down to the vast stretch of black sand that fringes the village to admire the two craggy sea stacks that sit just off the shore.

        Legend has it that these stacks are the frozen forms of three trolls that were pulling a ship to shore before the sun rose and turned them to stone.

        Vík is also home to Iceland’s Lava Show, where you can witness a volcanic eruption recreated and learn about Iceland’s unique geology with plenty of drama, lava and fire.

        Within the town centre, there’s a healthy selection of gastro pubs serving hearty burgers for an evening meal, cafés with home baking and soups on offer and supermarkets to stock up on supplies if you are staying in self-catered accommodation. There’s a wide selection of places to stay for all budgets, from shared rooms in hostels to comfortable hotels and self-catered apartments.

        Person with a yellow backpack walking on a black sand beach toward a distant sea stack.

        Activities and adventures near Vík

        Adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers will find plenty to amuse themselves around Vík. Just along the coast from the village, Reynisfjara black-sanded beach is the area’s biggest attraction where the wild waves of the North Atlantic crash against shimmering jet-black sand.

        The waves here are extremely powerful and unpredictable, so it is important to obey the warnings and signs posted around the beach. It is famous for sneaker waves that have been known to race up the sand and pull people out to sea in a heartbeat – too far out for a safe rescue. But heeding the warnings and staying well back from the shore, you can have a great time at Reynisfjara, strolling along the black sand and exploring the ethereal rock formations of Hálsanefshellir cave.

        At the other end of Reynisfjara, the cliffs of the Dyrhólaey peninsula are a great place to spot puffins. You can also embark on a heart-pumping ATV adventure in this area, powering across the black sand to the wreck of an old aeroplane on the shore. Adventure-seekers can try their hand at zip-lining high above Iceland’s ethereal landscape just outside Vík.

        Half an hour’s drive away, the impressive white tongue of Sólheimajökull glacier stretches down towards the main road. This is a popular spot for glacier hikes on the frozen surface.

        Riddled with secret sinkholes and covered ravines, glacier hiking can only be done under the guidance and supervision of a professional guide. You can also try ice climbing and explore natural ice caves beneath the surface of the glacier in winter at Sólheimajökull.

        All About Vík

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