Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!

Borgarvirki - the Citadel is a columnar basalt fortress and a volcanic plug on Vatnsnes peninsula in North-West Iceland. It is 10-15 m high and 177 meters above sea-level. 

There are steps leading up to the top. It is hard to walk there as it is very rocky and a lot of rocks have fallen from the fortress. But as you reach the top of the fortress the view from there is awesome. 

Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!

There is a hollow dent in the middle of the fortress about 5-6 meters deep and you can see that man made walls of stones from the fortress have been built there with an opening to the east.

Inside the dent there is a stone with a plate on it saying: "Hér voru skírð Sigurður Teitur og Elfa Maren 8. júlí 2001" or in English: "Here were baptized Sigurður Teitur and Elfa Maren on the 8th of July 2001" - isn't that lovely?

Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!

The Sagas say that this fortress was used for Viking military purposes and they added to the natural formation, so Borgarvirki is one of Iceland's most notable historic sites

In the fortress there are remains of 2 huts from ancient times. And a fresh water hole.

Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!

The story goes that the people of this area, Húnavatns district, used Borgarvirki as a defence when the chieftains of Borgarfjörður attacked them in the 13th century.  The chieftains were seeking revenge from the Heiðarvíg killings.  At least twice the people of the Húnavatns district were under siege and the attacker's strategy was to starve them out.  On one occasion they had run out of food. They overheard that their enemies were talking about how much provision they had got left.

Then Víga-Barði, their leader, thought of a strategy to get rid of their enemies. Only one piece of meat was left and they threw it out from the fortress. Their enemies came to the conclusion that they had plenty of provisions and left. 

The stories are not consistent though, but I think we get the drift.

Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!

On top of Borgarvirki is a view dial showing the names of the mountains in the vicinity. There are ca 90 view dials in Iceland and my goal is to find them all and photograph them :)  

My father-in-law made this view-dial and if you look closely during your visit you will see his initials J.H. (Jakob Hálfdanarson) on the view-dial :)

Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!

Even though it was July during my visit I am dressed in layers and wearing a down-parka from 66° North, which is our best known Icelandic brand. When they are having a sale at their outlet we Icelanders flock there and stock up on clothes that fit the Icelandic weather.

Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!

The photo below shows what the gravel road looks like and the lower sign is the sign for the view-dial - called hringsjá in Icelandic.

To get to Borgarvirki from Hvítserkur monolith you drive on road 711 and turn left on 717, which is 8 km of a bad one-lane road with hard shoulder and several blind hills. 

Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!The road seems never ending and when we finally got up to the parking lot by Borgarvirki on one of our visits there, we saw a tank-lorry coming in our direction.  We just counted our blessings that we "missed" it by a few minutes. So please drive carefully here.

To get back to ring-road 1 you drive further on on road 717 which turns into 716 and leads you to ring-road 1.

It is a bit tricky getting to Borgarvirki, but it is so worth it.

Borgarvirki Fortress in North-West Iceland - a Viking Fortress!

Don't miss visiting this area on Vatnsnes peninsula, it is so worth the detour in summer time. You can either rent a car in Reykjavík and drive to Borgarvirki or join this guided tour Wild North Super Jeep Tour | Grábrók Crater, Kolugljúfur Canyon & Borgarvirki Citadel. Also check out the self-drive tours available, with a car, accommodation and itinerary included.

I have written another blog on Hvítserkur monolith on the Vatnsnes peninsula.

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