Information about Hvítserkur

Hvítserkur, aka; “The Troll of North-West Iceland”, is a 15-metre (49ft) high basalt rock stack protruding from Húnaflói Bay.

Hvítserkur, aka; “The Troll of North-West Iceland”, is a 15-metre (49ft) high basalt rock stack protruding from Húnaflói Bay. The rock is a nesting ground for seagulls, shag and fulmar, making it appear constantly in motion, further enforcing the idea that Hvítserkur is, in some way, very much alive.

Hvítserkur is best viewed along the eastern shore of the Vatnsnes Peninsula and takes its name from the birdlife that nests atop it. In Icelandic, the name translates to “white shirt”, a nod to the colour of the bird droppings that cover the rock.

Folklore

It should come as no surprise that Hvítserkur is often referred to as a troll. Folklore implies that Hvítserkur was originally a troll determined to rip the bells down from Þingeyraklaustur convent, an apparent allusion to the people’s stoic resistance to the Christianisation of Iceland. 

However, as goes the story, the troll became paralysed by walking out under sunlight and quickly turned to stone. The Hvítserkur stack is all that remains.

Formation 

The scientific community has another explanation. Erosion from the cascading sea water has carved three large holes through the basalt rock, sculpting and shaping it into what appears as some petrified, mythological animal. 

The base of the stack has been reinforced with concrete to protect its foundations from the sea, but this has not stopped visitors’ interpreting the rock’s peculiar shape. 

Some say Hvítserkur looks like an elephant, others a rhino. Some onlookers have gone as far as to claim the rock appears as a “dinosaur drinking.” 

Nearby

To the south, visitors to Hvítserkur can detour toward Sigríðarstaðir, a location reputable for viewing seal colonies. Hvítserkur is also only a short drive from the historical and quintessential Súluvellir farm, a location that boasts incredible views of the surrounding landscape. 

Services near Hvítserkur

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