Dyrhólaey, Iceland

Dyrhólaey sign
A rock arch on the black beach
Dyrholaey Black Sand Beach
Dyrholaey rock arch
Dyrholaey Coast
Lighthouse at Dyrholaey

Dyrhólaey at a Glance

A small peninsula or promontory around 10 km (6 miles) from the village of Vik on Iceland's southernmost coast, Dyrhólaey was formerly an eyja or volcanic island. It is now a sanctuary for artic terms and eider ducks, and in summer, a large number of puffins nest on the cliff faces around Dyrhólaey.

From the higher area, a 110 m (360 ft) high summit, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking and interesting view in all directions. Looking to the north provides a view of the big glacier Mýrdalsjökull, while to the east there is Reynisdrangar - beautiful black lava seastacks. There is also a good eastward view of the large glacier Mýrdalsjökull with its black lava columns emerging from the sea. To the west, provided the weather permits, the whole coastline towards Selfoss can be seen. From the front of the peninsula a huge black arch of lava can be seen reaching out into the sea, which gives the peninsula its name - "the hill island with the door hole." The summit is 110 m high and it is possible to walk the bridge or arch provided the explorer isn't afraid of heights. From the top, visitors will also find a large, spectacular lighthouse shaped like a castle.

From the lower area, visitors will see a rock named Arnardrangur ("Eagle Rock"), a name taken from the days when eagles nested in the rock although they haven't nested here since the mid-1980s. This is a very picturesque place where Reynisfjara and Reynisdrangar can be seen in the background. There are also beautiful rock formations and little caves in a southerly direction along the beach, which can be accessed on foot at low tide.

The nearby village of Vik is renowned for its black sandy beaches and closeness to the natural wonder that is Dyrhólaey with its 110 m high rock face that was formed thousands of years ago by a volcanic eruption.