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Halsanefshellir Cave Reseguide

475 recensioner på Google
Grottor, Strand
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Iceland
CX35+2C Vik, Iceland
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Halsanefshellir Cave is a sea cave featuring octagonal basalt pillars located on Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in the town of Vik in Iceland.Halsanefshellir is a sea cave that's famous for its hexagonal basalt pillars. It's located on the Reynisfjara black sand beach near the town of Vik on Iceland's South Coast.

Halsanefshellir is a beautiful cave located along the world-famous Reynisfjara black sand beach. It's been carved by the relentless force of the North Atlantic Ocean over millennia, and it's characterized by the basalt columns that frame its entrance.

Halsanefshellir is a shallow cave, so exploring won't take long, but it's a fantastic spot to capture gorgeous photographs. The cave and surrounding rock formations can only be explored when conditions are at their best on Reynisfjara beach. Never go near the cave at high tide or in bad conditions! It's life-threatening because of the extremely dangerous Reynisfjara waves.

To visit the cave, you can embark on South Coast tours or travel there with a rental car. Self-drive tours provide great flexibility, and the Halsanefshellir cave is only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Reykjavik!

Alternatively, opt for a Golden Circle and South Coast combo tour, such as this small-group 3-day Golden Circle and South Coast tour, to see iconic landmarks like Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park before venturing to Reynisfjara beach and the Halsanefshellir cave.

Location of Halsanefshellir Cave

There are multiple cave formations in Reynisfjara known as Halsanefshellir caveHalsanefshellir cave is next to Vik village on Iceland's South Coast, approximately 112 miles (180 kilometers) from Reykjavik. To reach the cave, drive along the scenic Route 1, also known as the Ring Road, and follow signs to Reynisfjara black sand beach.

If you're planning to stay in Vik accommodation, it's just under a 15-minute drive from the town center.

Halsanefshellir Cave Features

The Halsanefshellir cave in Reynisfjara is very dangerous

Photo from Johan Wieland

Halsanefshellir cave has a striking entrance adorned with octagonal basalt pillars. When basalt lava cools and solidifies, it creates basalt columns like the ones at Halsanefshellir. During the cooling process, contraction forces create a distinctive hexagonal pattern.

Visitors to Halsanefshellir cave will be transported into a world where time seems to stand still. Enjoy listening to the crashing waves echoing against the cave's walls, a sensory experience like no other.

Bring a flashlight if you have one. A torch provides an excellent opportunity to look closely at the cave's patterns and formations. Be careful when inside the cave, however, as there's a chance of rockfall from the cave ceiling.

Halsanefshellir Cave History and Folklore

Halsanefshellir cave has cultural, geological, and historical significance and looks stunning amid Reynisfjara's surroundings at sunset.

Beyond its geological beauty, the cave holds a rich history and folklore. It lies at the base of Mount Reynisfjall, which was created after the last ice age following a volcanic eruption. Powerful waves from the North Atlantic Ocean carved out the cave's shape over time.

Given its shallow depths and the perilous nature of the crashing ocean waves, the cave's practical use for shelter or habitation is very unlikely. The adjacent Reynisfjara beach has historically served as a landing site for boats, although this was much more common in the town of Vik, just beyond the Reynisfjall mountain.

The Reynisdrangar rock formations can be observed from Vik and from Reynisfjara The most well known aspect of the areas history relates to the nearby Reynisdrangar sea stacks which can be seen from the Halsanefshellir cave. According to local legend, a prince sailed to Iceland aboard a merchant ship in search of a bride but came up empty-handed. When starting the journey back home, the ship encountered a troll who sought passage, a request the prince refused.

In retaliation, the troll prophesied that both the ship and its crew would turn to stone. Defiant, the prince declared the same fate for the troll. Thus, they were all transformed into the imposing sea stacks.

Another version of the story states that the Reynisdrangar are trolls who attempted to tow a ship ashore under the cover of night, only to be caught by the first light of dawn, turning them to stone. These stories add a mystical air to the area, bringing a sense of life to the stunning nature.

Potential Dangers at Halsanefshellir Cave

There are plenty of warning signs in Reynisfjara so take the time to read them

Photo from Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir

It's essential to be cautious when exploring Reynisfjara's black sand beach and Halsanefshellir's cave. Although Reynisfjara has been named one of the best non-tropical beaches globally by National Geographic, it's also infamous for its dangers.

Reynisfjara beach is notorious for its unpredictable sneaker waves. They can suddenly surge far up the shore without warning, posing a serious danger to unsuspecting visitors. Tragically, multiple deaths have occurred at Reynisfjara due to these treacherous waves and people ignoring the safety warnings.

Halsanefshellir is close to the water's edge, so those who choose to explore the cave should do so with much caution. Sneaker waves can unexpectedly reach and enter the cave, knocking over anyone in their path and pulling them out to sea.

Read the warning signs on Reynisfjara beach and follow safety instructions

Photo from Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir

Visitors should only enter the cave at low tide. In doing so, it's essential to read and adhere to warnings from local authorities. The beach features warning signs and a lighting system to indicate the danger level and where it's safe to go.

You should only attempt to enter the cave when the Reynisfjara warning lights are green, indicating low-risk conditions. No photo is worth the risk of ignoring warnings or believing the area is safe just because it looks that way to you.

Although the dangers of the sneaker waves are most widely known, the cave poses additional concerns. Rockfall could occur in the cave at any time, which is another safety issue to be aware of should you choose to visit. Around 100 tons of rock collapsed in the cave in 2013. Luckily no one was in the cave at the time.

Attractions Near Halsanefshellir Cave

Seljalandsfoss is a stunning South Coast waterfall.

Reynisfjara black sand beach offers more than just Halsanefshellir cave. Visitors can marvel at the surrounding attractions, such as the Dyrholaey peninsula, which has a stunning panoramic coastline view, including Reynisfjara beach and the sea stacks called Reynisdrangar.

The stunning Skogafoss is a 30-minute drive away and is one of Iceland's largest and most picturesque waterfalls. It drops approximately 197 feet (60 meters) and is surrounded by lush green cliffs. Visitors can also hike to the top of the waterfall for a breathtaking view.

A further 38.5 miles (62 kilometers) away is Seljalandsfoss, another famous waterfall in Iceland. What sets it apart is the ability to walk behind the waterfall, offering a unique perspective and photo opportunities.

The beautiful Fjadrargljufur canyon is an hour's drive further east from Reynisfjara, which has been carved out by the Fjadra river. Visitors can hike along the canyon's rim for spectacular views of the winding river below.

Places to Stay Near Halsanefshellir Cave

Reynisfjara beach is known for it's dangerous waves that can sneak up on unsuspecting visitors.

Travelers visiting Halsanefshellir cave and Reynisfjara black sand beach have various accommodation options along the South Coast or, more conveniently, accommodation in Vik. From cozy guesthouses to boutique hotels, there's something to suit every budget and preference. 

Black Beach Suites provides comfortable private suites with easy access to top attractions on Iceland's South Coast. With modern amenities, stunning sea views, and proximity to attractions like Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, it's an ideal choice for travelers seeking convenience and luxury near Vik.

The Volcano Hotel, on Route 1 on the South Coast of Iceland, offers cozy and affordable accommodations. It has beautifully styled rooms inspired by nearby natural wonders. The Volcano Hotel is an ideal base for both Ring Road travelers and those focusing on the wonders of the south.

Hotel Kria provides modern comfort in the heart of Vik. It has soundproofed walls, blackout curtains, and exceptional amenities. The on-site Drangar Restaurant serves traditional Icelandic cuisine with seasonal, high-quality ingredients, ensuring a memorable dining experience.

The Barn Hostel in Vik has rustic yet modern accommodations, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious travelers seeking chic lodging. It's conveniently located near Reynisfjara beach and within easy driving distance of various natural attractions, including glaciers and waterfalls. The Barn is a perfect stopping point for travelers exploring Iceland's South Coast.

Alternatively, visitors can opt to stay in one of the hotels and accommodations in Reykjavik and embark on a day trip to explore the wonders of Iceland's South Coast.

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