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Your Guide to Dyrhólaey in Iceland

Dyrhólaey is a fan-favorite when it comes to an Iceland itinerary. That’s because it’s jam-packed with natural wonders, breathtaking views, as well as myths and folklore. Intrigued? Well, then read on!

We dive into some of the main attractions and what you can expect from your visit. We also tell you all about the nitty-gritty, such as its location and how to get there. By the time you’ve read our guide, you’ll be up-to-date with everything Dyrhólaey, and just as excited about the area as we are.

dyrhólaey iceland

What is Dyrhólaey?

Although some refer to Dyrhólaey as a Peninsula, calling it a promontory is more accurate. A promontory is “a point of high land that juts out into a large body of water”. What makes Dyrhólaey so special as a promontory is the fact that it juts out from a height of 120 meters, offering visitors astounding views over the Icelandic landscape and the ocean.

Today, the area is a nature reserve with all its amazing wildlife, Icelandic landmarks, and natural wonders. These are a few of Dyrhólaey’s highlights:

Reynisfjara; the Dyrhólaey Beach

What most don’t know is that our famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is the Dyrhólaey beach. Reynisfjara is known for its incredible basalt cliffs and beach that stretches out for kilometers whilst the waves crash onto the shore.

Whilst strolls are highly recommended, no swimming is allowed since Reynisfjara has incredibly strong undercurrents. You should also keep an eye out for sneaker waves. These waves come out of nowhere, knock your feet out from under you, and drag you into the ocean. This is why you never turn your back on the ocean.

The Dyrhólaey Arch

The Dyrhólaey Arch is Dyrhólaey’s most prominent feature, and the one you’ll probably recognize the most from tourist postcards. It’s also what gave the area its name in the first place. Dyrhólaey translates to “the hill island with the door hole”.

dyrhólaey cliffs

The arch was once a normal sliver of land stretching out into the sea, but thousands of years’ worth of pummelling by the waves and the weather elements have eroded a big hole right through it.

The arch has received star treatment, with many photographers coming to take photos of the natural wonder. And there’s much fun to be had here – you’ll see many boats purposefully drive through the hole, and we’ve even had someone fly a plane through in 1993.

The Dyrhólaey Lighthouse

As a gigantic rock reaching into the sea, it should come as no surprise that Dyrhólaey boasts its own lighthouse. But this light, guiding sailors safely home, isn’t your typical red and white lighthouse. Its unique aesthetic makes it look like a stumpy little fort rather than a lighthouse – making it a favorite amongst photographers. To get to it you only need to take a short walk from the Dyrhólaey viewpoint.

The Dyrhólaey Cliffs

The Dyrhólaey Cliffs are impressive for multiple reasons. Firstly, these cliffs line the coast at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and is another reason why the beach has become so famous. These oddly shaped black cliffs, are actually hexagonal basalt rock that formed after lava cooled down and hardened as it flowed over the cliffs.

So, you are looking at thousands and thousands of years’ worth of history when looking up at those cliffs. Secondly, the cliffs are considered a must-visit spot for avid birdwatchers since it’s a popular breeding ground for a variety of bird species.

dyrhólaey beach

Where is Dyrhólaey in Iceland?

Dyrhólaey is located near the village of Vik in the south of Iceland. It’s about 180 kilometers from the capital city of Reykjavík, which equates to about a 2.5-hour drive.

So, if you want to do a day trip, you can easily do it from there during Iceland’s summer months when we have plenty of daylight hours. But Dyrhólaey is also conveniently close to the Ring Road, making it the perfect stop along a Ring Road road trip around the island.

How to Get to Dyrhólaey

You can essentially choose one of two ways to visit Dyrhólaey :

By Going on a Tour

We have plenty of tour operators and private guides who offer existing tour packages with Dyrhólaey as a destination or whom you can negotiate a customized private tour with. Just keep in mind that these tours can fill up pretty fast during our peak-season summer months, so be sure to book well in advance.

By Driving Yourself

As we already mentioned, Dyrhólaey is practically on the Ring Road route, making it the perfect stop on your road trip itinerary. Driving to Dyrhólaey from Reykjavík is very easy.

Start driving east on the Ring Road, and turn right off Road 218. Then make a right up the hill, where you will be taken to the upper Dyrhólaey area. After exploring the area, you can head back, but take the turn down to the beach to tick that off the to-do list as well.

The Dyrhólaey Hike

There is a popular hiking trail that starts from the Dyrhólaey Lighthouse to another black sand beach called Kirkjufara Beach nearby. It’s an out-and-back trail that is considered to be fairly easy and is not very long (roughly 5.5 kilometers in total). The only things to keep an eye out for are rare bird species and the waves crashing onto the cliffs.

Things to at Dyrhólaey & Surroundings

If you’re planning on doing a road trip, here are a few other popular stops in the area:

  • Katla Volcano

  • Reynisdrangar Rock Formation

  • Skogafoss Waterfall

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

  • Myrdalsjökull Glacier

Where to Stay Near Dyrhólaey

If you would also like to stay over in order to explore the area and everything it has to offer more thoroughly, you will find a myriad of accommodation options to suit every preference and pocket. For a more luxurious stay, you can book a room at Umi Hotel.

Or you can go for a less hefty price tag whilst keeping all your creature comforts when booking at Guesthouse Skogafoss. Alternatively, you can go the most budget-friendly route and book a spot at Vik Tjaldsvædi Campsite

dyrhólaey arch

Dyrhólaey; A Lucky Packet of Local Attractions & Natural Wonders

Properly exploring Dyrhólaey can easily take up an entire day and you’re guaranteed to leave with a lifetime of precious memories. Whether hiking, birdwatching, or taking a stroll on the beach, you name it – you can find it at Dyrhólaey. Plan out that Ring Road road trip, rent a car in Iceland, and hit the road, exploring Dyrhólaey along the way.

1 comment

1 commentaire

davenport kim
davenport kim
08 juil.

Dyrhólaey is a wonderful place filled with natural attractions, breathtaking views as well as myths and folklore that are well worth a visit. flappy bird

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