In the Land of Fire and Ice with its incredibly interesting terrain, you can find plenty of intriguing and funny-looking rock formations (many of which have equally interesting backstories).
One of these must-visit spots is Elephant Rock in Iceland. And whilst there still are those who believe that Elephant Rock in Iceland is fake, we can promise that Elephant Rock in Iceland is 100% real.
The whole Elephant Rock in Iceland myth was merely started by a viral post that
Seemed too good to be true (it’s extraordinarily lifelike, we can assure you), and
Got mixed up with the Elephant Rock in Asia (but more on this later).
In this article, we tell you all there is to know about Elephant Rock, reveal its most interesting facts, tell you how to get there, and what else you can expect from the surroundings. So, without further ado, let’s rock on to Elephant Rock!
The Elephant-Shaped Rock in Westman Islands
At first glance, you’ll be forgiven to think that Elephant Rock has been purposefully carved out of the cliff face, but this basalt rock formation is 100% natural. Elephant Rock is, just as the name suggests, a rock that looks like an elephant that seemingly has its trunk in the ocean water.
Whether it’s coming for a dip or a drink is unclear, but it sure makes for an impressive sight.
How Did the Elephant Rock Form?
As we already mentioned, Elephant Rock consists of basalt rock. For those who were unaware, basalt rock is essentially lava that has cooled down. The culprit in the case of Elephant Rock is Eldfell Volcano, which has had numerous eruptions in the past, but its 1973 eruption is believed to have been responsible for this animalistic creation.
Fun Facts About Elephant Rock in Iceland
The following are just some fun facts about Elephant Rock to use as casual dinner conversation or to win that pub quiz trophy:
Ours is not the only elephant-shaped island. Strangely enough, there is another Elephant Rock in Asia that often gets confused with the one in Iceland. Where our Elephant Rock mostly consists of the face of an animal, the one in Asia looks like an Elephant lying down in the water if you take an aerial photo of it from above. When you look at Elephant Rock in Iceland from above, it just looks like a mountain rising out of the sea.
Iceland having an Elephant Rock is extremely ironic, since there has never been any record of an elephant ever setting foot on the island.
The above-mentioned is also why the name ‘elephant’ is not native to Iceland. In fact, it was merely adopted by the Icelandic language after the Vikings were taught the word by a Turkish Man (who obviously had seen an elephant before).
Where is Elephant Rock in Iceland?
Elephant Rock can be found on the island of Heimaey, which is part of the Westman Islands, roughly 7.4 kilometers into the ocean off the south coast of Iceland. As one of the more remote regions in Iceland, it’s filled with natural wonders, breathtaking views, and beautiful landscapes.
How to Get to Elephant Rock in Iceland
There are essentially 2 ways to get to Elephant Rock in Iceland:
There are numerous flights from Reykjavík to Vestmannaeyjar Airport every day and will last a mere 25 minutes. Once you’ve arrived on the Westman Islands, you’ll need to arrange for transport and book a spot on one of the Elephant Rock in Iceland boat tours.
We are firm believers that a road trip is the best way to explore the country, especially when it comes to the more remote regions such as the Westman Islands. To get to Elephant Rock, all you need to do is to get on Route 1 and drive along the south coast of Iceland for about 2 hours till you reach the ferry at Landeyjahöfn where you will go across to the Westman Islands.
How to See Elephant Rock in Iceland
Most will recommend that you book a spot on a boat tour to view Elephant Rock. It’s important to note, though, that the Elephant Rock in Iceland boat tours around Heimaey are limited to the warmer months of the year here on the island (May to September). But the boats are not the only way to see Elephant Rock.
You can go on a guided walking trail (also reserved for the warmer months with more daylight hours between May and August). If you’re a golfer, you can always take on the Westman Islands Golf Course, which is considered one of the top 200 golf courses in the world where you can get a nice view of Elephant Rock whilst playing 18 holes.
Where to Eat Near Elephant Rock
If you need to grab a bite on your Elephant Rock outing, you’ll find plenty of places to satisfy any craving. If you’ve gone to play a round of golf, you can actually get something at the clubhouse restaurant. Alternatively, there are plenty of restaurants and cafés offering all sorts of food in the town of Heimaey Island.
Where to Stay Around Elephant Rock
There are many different accommodation options to choose from in town that will suit every preference and every budget. Places such as Puffin Nest Capsule Hostel or Guesthouse Holl. But our personal recommendation would be to go camping at Vestmannaeyjar.
And don’t worry, if you don’t have any camping gear with you, or don’t think of yourself as the next winner of Survivor and enjoy your comforts, you can simply opt for one of their glamping tent options.
You’ll find all the amenities and facilities you need – all within viewing distance of the gentle, rocky, giant in the ocean. This is, of course, also the best way to save on those accommodation costs.
What to Do After Visiting Elephant Rock
Elephant Rock is not the only attraction in the area and is also the reason we recommend staying over at Heimaey for at least a night or two to properly take in everything the area has to offer. If you’re thinking of exploring the area a bit, the following attractions and activities should definitely make it onto your trip itinerary:
Check out the Puffins at Saeheimar Aquarium (this makes it possible to spot these lovable clowns of the sea even when visiting out of Puffin season).
Visit Brothers Brewery and taste some of our delicious craft beers.
Try your hand at Sprangan. This is a local activity where you swing around the cliffs with a rope.
Go to the Eldheimar Volcano Museum where you can learn about the volcano and find out first-hand how one of its eruptions created Elephant Rock.
Elephant Rock in Heimaey, Iceland; a Must On Any Iceland Trip Itinerary
Both locals and past visitors to the island will tell you that you’ll be missing out by skipping the Westman Islands during your trip to Iceland.
Due to its remote location and various activities, we recommend that you plan your trip for the summer months when you not only get to go Puffin spotting but also take one of the boat tours to Elephant Rock. So, rent a car in Iceland upon your arrival, head south on Route 1, and take the ferry to a lifetime of memories.