Around Hotel Kría
The location of Hotel Kría is our undeniable advantage. We are located in the small town of Vik beside road No 1 (ring road). Vik is a magical place for many reasons: a black beach, a wild and stormy sea, thousands of puffins, nearby volcanoes and fairy-tale-like landscapes.
Vik is also a great base for exploring the attractions of the south coast.
Ready for an adventure?
Hótel Kría is named after the thousands of arctic terns (in Icelandic - kría) that make their way to Vík from the Antarctic every summer. The terns nest and rear their young on the stark coast just outside the hotel.
The arctic tern is one of the most aggressive terns, fiercely defensive of its nest and young. It can attack humans. Keep your distance.
Where to go? What to see?
On the map below, you will find places of interest around Hotel Kria. Some of them are a short distance from the hotel, some you can visit during a half-day or day trip. Few of the places are accessible only during summer (Thakgil, Thórsmörk) or with a guide (activities on glaciers).
Guide with photos and short descriptions will help you to connect places with challenging Icelandic names.
From Hotel Kria to the West
Reynisfjara Beach (1)
11.5 km (14 min)
The famous black sand beach was not always covered with black sand and pebbles. The supernatural feeling was formed after Katla’s eruption more than 100 years ago. The coastline was extended by about 5 km, all thanks to the sizzling hot lava which then, after cooling off formed black-coloured sand and pillar-shaped basalt rock formations next to the beach.
The beach is also well known for large, incredibly powerful and dangerous sneaker waves. Sneaker waves at Reynisfjara come out much further than previous waves. Beware!
Dyrholaey Lighthouse (2)
19 km (22 min)
The place got its name from the massive arch that the sea has eroded from the headland. (The name literally means "door-hole"). When the sea is calm, big boats can sail through it. There has even been a maniacal daredevil pilot that flew through the arch with a small-craft airplane!
From the top of Dyrhólaey there is a great view. The headland is thought to have been made in an underwater volcanic eruption late in the glacial period, not unlike the eruption of Surtsey. Several outcrops are in the sea, the highest one called Háidrangur ("High column") is 56 m. high. Dyrhólaey has been a natural reserve since 1978.
DC Plane Wreck on Solheimasandun (3)
25 km (22 min) + 3.5 km one-way hike (40 min)
The rusting shell of the plane is laying on haunting black sands from November 1973 when a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the black beach. Fortunately, everyone survived. Later it turned out that the pilot had simply switched over to the wrong fuel tank.
The walk to the plain wrack is a 7km round trip and it will take around 40 min one way. The landscape is harsh and the wind from the ocean can be intense. The plane has been stripped, but it’s still a dramatic site and fun to poke around.
31,5 km (33 min)
Sólheimajökull Glacier is a glacial tongue and part of the mighty Mýrdalsjökull Glacier. With icy crevasses, deep blue colours, and rugged scenery, Solheimajokull is a top South Iceland glacier attraction.
Although Solheimajokull’s icy terrain is constantly changing, it’s estimated to be roughly 8 km long and 1-2 km wide. Located on the South Coast of Iceland, Solheimajokull is a popular destination for beautiful glacier walks and epic ice climbing activities.
Never go on a glacier hike alone, always book a tour with an agency.
34 km (30 min)
Skógar, literally forests, is a small Icelandic village with a population of roughly 25 located at the south of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, in the municipality of Rangárþing eystra.
The area is known for its waterfall, Skógafoss, on the Skógá river, which springs from 60 metres at the top of an eroded cliff.
42 km (35 min)
Eyjafjallajökull - Most famous for its recent 2010 eruption that caused massive disfunction of Airlines flown in Europe.
Some geophysicists in Iceland believe that the Eyjafjallajökull eruption may trigger an eruption of Katla, which would cause major flooding due to melting of glacial ice.
Volcanologists continue to monitor Katla, aware that any eruption from it has historically occurred within months of an Eyjafjallajökull eruption. This is an experience few get to endure, since volcanoes rarely erupt in the part of the northern hemisphere.
62 km (52 min)
Seljalandsfoss is located in the South Region in Iceland right by Route 1 and the road that leads to Þórsmörk Road 249. The waterfall drops 60 m (197 ft) and is part of the Seljalands River that has its origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull. Visitors can walk behind the falls into a small cave.
Plans to build an 8-metre high, 2000 square-metre information centre near the waterfall provoked controversy in Iceland in May 2017. Opponents of the plans argued that the building would spoil the view of the waterfall and interrupt the natural look of the area (source: Wikipedia).
62 km (52 min)
Gljúfrafoss or Gljúfrabúi ("one who lives in the canyon") is a small waterfall north of the larger falls of Seljalandsfoss in Iceland. The falls are partially obscured by the cliff rock, but hikers can follow a trail to enter the narrow canyon where the water plummets to a small pool.
There is also a winding trail nearby and a wooden staircase to enable sightseers to climb roughly halfway up and view the falls from another perspective (source: Wikipedia).
88 km (1 h 55 min+ this road includes a ferry)
Vestmannaeyjar came to international attention in 1973 with the eruption of Eldfell volcano, which destroyed many buildings and forced a month-long evacuation of the entire population to mainland Iceland. Approximately one-fifth of the town was destroyed before the lava flow was halted by the application of 6.8 billion litres of cold seawater (source: Wikipedia).
Þórsmörk (Thórsmörk) Nature Reserve (10)
89.5 km (1 h 45min + partly F-roads)
Nestled between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and Tindfjallajökull is Þórsmörk, the Valley of Thor. A nature reserve in the southern Icelandic highlands, Þórsmörk is one of the country's most popular hiking destinations and a favourite location for photographers and nature lovers alike.
Possible to visit only during the summer. Few glacier rivers to cross.
From Hotel Kría to the East
Thakgil (11) - hiking area
20.05 km (+37 min, partly F-roads)
Thakgil, or Þakgil, is a one-of-a-kind campground nestled in a small canyon surrounded by steep, mossy walls. To get there, you'll follow a dirt mountain road up into the mountains, passing a glacial river and finally entering into the canyon where the campsite is located.
The campground features a cave for a dining area, and has spaces for tents, camper vans and even a few small cabins. It's near Katla Glacier and the hiking trails offer great overlooks of it.
Arriving at Thakgil felt like an oasis from the crowds of the south coast. People are there, but it certainly doesn't have tour buses and I had to dig deeper to find information about it. Definitely a semi-hidden gem.
Possible to visit only during the summer.
Hjörleifshöfði & Yoda Cave (12)
15 km (17 min)
Hjörleifshöfði is 220m mountain. There is a hiking trail around the mountain and the view is incredible.
Mountain is named after the Viking settler Hjörleifshöfði, Ingólfur Arnarson's stepbrother (Arnarson is considered to be our first Viking settler in around 874 AD). They sailed in two ships on their way to Iceland but parted ways as Ingólfur spent the winter at Ingólfshöfði and his stepbrother at Hjörleifshöfði.
Explore the recently found Hjorleifshofdi Cave – best known as the Yoda Cave.
Eldhraun Lava Field (13)
61.3 km (46 min)
The Eldhraun lava field was formed after the eruption of the Laki volcano in 1783. It was a very powerful eruption that led to disease, crop failure and famine. Effects were enormous. It killed between 50% - 80% of domestic animals and 20% of the human population.
The eruption was also felt in Europe. Many historians speculate that the mist created by the eruption blocked sunlight in Europe and may have contributed to the French Revolution.
The lava field is about 12 meters thick and is covered with fine moss.
Don't step on the moss!
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon (14)
65 km (50 min)
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon - Deep down a narrow, serpent-shaped river runs through the canyon, which some geologists date back to 7000 - 9000 years ago.
Canyon was used as the location for the dragon flight scene in the first episode of Season 8, when Jon and Daenerys fly the dragons together for the first time.
The increase in visitors to the canyon is a whopping 80% between 2016-2017! In 2018 around 300,000 people visited the canyon! That is almost the whole population of Iceland.
73.4 km (1h 1 min)
A little town that is usually called by the locals "Klaustur" offers a few fun hiking trails, small but picturesque waterfall Stjórnarfoss and Systrafoss and a lake located at the edge of the mountaintop - Systravatn. The walk up the mountainside to Systravatn takes about 20 minutes. Spectacular view from the top.
Skaftafell National Park (16)
140 km (1 h 45 min)
Skaftafell is a wilderness area in Iceland's Vatnajökull National Park. Its huge glaciers include Skaftafellsjökull and Svínafellsjökull.
Trails lead to Kristínartindar Mountain and to the Svartifoss waterfall, which tumbles over black basalt columns.
Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon (17)
183 km (2 hours 22 min)
A hidden gem! Fjallsarlon is a less-known iceberg lagoon, yet it's just spectacular. Slightly smaller than Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, but it is more intimate and you feel more involved with the surroundings.
The floating icebergs create a dazzling show all unique in colour, shape and size creating perfect photo opportunities wherever you look.
Tours on daily basis on Fjallsarlon Iceberg lagoon from the beginning of April until late October, weather permitting (source: https://fjallsarlon.is/).
Diamond Beach (18)
191 km (2h 26 min)
Diamond Beach is a strip of black sand beach located at the lagoon of the Jökulsárlón glacier.
On the black sand beach, you can see individual large blocks of icebergs, which are sometimes called "diamond beach" because of the pieces of ice scattered on the sand.
Under no circumstances should you climb the icebergs, as they have slippery surfaces and sharp edges.
Jokulsárlón Glacier Lagoon (19)
192 km (2 h 30 min)
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon - Many of the icebergs are over 1,000 years old and have made their way through the grand lagoon first as enormous ice blocks and now smaller bergs enjoying their last moments until their join with the Atlantic ocean.
Jökulsárlón does not freeze in winter. Ice water and soil make a unique ecological phenomenon. The lake is now reported to have doubled in size in the recent 15-year period. The huge blocks of ice that calve from the edge of Vatnajökull are about 30 meters high, which fills the lagoon stocked with icebergs.