Information about Vatnsnes

Hvitserkur is a rock on the Vatnsnes Peninsula that many photographers flock to.

Vatnsnes is a peninsula in north Iceland, best known for its wildlife and geology.

Wildlife at the Vatnsnes Peninsula.

The Vatnsnes Peninsula is well-known as being one of the best places in the country, alongside the Westfjords, Ytri Tunga Beach and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, to watch seals from the shore.

Iceland is home to grey and harbour seals throughout the year, although occasionally is visited by harp, ringed, hooded and bearded seals. Rogue walruses even show up on rare occasions, but not as far south as Vatnsnes.

The best locations on the Vatnsnes Peninsula to see seal colonies are at the farms Svalbarð and Illugarstaðir. Both of these have car parks and signposts to assist visitors in getting close to the seals, and neither require a great deal of walking to reach the optimal viewing points. At Illugarstaðir, there are also bathroom facilities and binoculars available.

The best time to view the seals is the two hours before and after low tide, when the weather is clear.

The seals of these sanctuaries are not particularly afraid of people, but even so, they are wild animals and should not be approached, and definitely not fed; though usually peaceful, seals have been known to bite, and such wounds are very easily infected.

It is also essential that, in spite of videos on Youtube, the seals should never be filmed with a drone. They are very sensitive to noise, so the buzzing sound (as well as any shouting) will frighten them away, disturbing the animals and ruining the experience for all other guests.

To learn more about the seals on Vatnsnes, visitors should attend the Icelandic Seal Centre, located in the largest town on the peninsula, Hvammstangi.

The centre has been running since 2005, and has exhibitions on the biology and geographical distribution of seals, the protection of seals, and the relationship between the animals and man since settlement. It also has information on the birds and whales that frequent the Vatnsnes Peninsula.

To learn more about seal-watching in Iceland, there is a relevant article you can read on this site.

Geology of the Vatnsnes Peninsula

Hvitserkur, as seen from the Vatnsnes Peninsula in summer.

Vatnsnes is a mountainous peninsula that is geologically less active than the rest of the country. It still has interesting basalt formations, however, the most notable of which is the Hvítserkur monolith.

This bizarre feature stands just out to sea in shallow water, and is most often compared to an elephant drinking; some onlookers have said it more resembles a dragon or a dinosaur.

According to legend, however, it is a troll, that waded into the sea to throw rocks at the nearby monastery (trolls, unlike hidden elves, despised Christianity, and could not live on or near sanctified ground). It is said that the sun rose during its assault and it had no time to find shelter; it was frozen into the rock formation you see today.

Hvítserkur has been reinforced at its base with concrete to preserve it for future generations. It is one of the country’s most photographed landmarks, both for its unusual shape and the fact it hosts many nesting birds in summer, who can lay their eggs safe from land predators such as Arctic Foxes and rats.

 

Services near Vatnsnes

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Vatnsnes

Hvítserkur

Hvítserkur, otherwise known as the Troll of Northwest Iceland, is a 15 m (49 ft) tall basalt rock stack protruding from Húnafl&oa...

View

Illugastadir

Illugastaðir farm can be found on the west side of the Vatnsnes Peninsula. The area has truly stunning views of the eastern Westfjord coastline&nb...

View

Hóp Lake

Lake Hop is a tidal lake in North Iceland. It is the fifth largest lake in the country and popular for fishing. The lake is situated around 35 km fro...

View

Borgarvirki

Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir. Borgarvirki ‘Citadel’ is a columnar basalt fortress and a volcanic plug on the Va...

View

Blönduós

Blönduós is the largest urban area of Húnaflói bay in northwest Iceland, with a population of around 880 people. It is a ser...

View

Hvammstangi

Hvammstangi is a village on the Vatnsnes Peninsula, six kilometres north of the Ring Road. Nestled beside the Miðfjörður fjord, Hvam...

View

Reykir

Reykir is a tiny settlement in North Iceland. It is best known for its regional museum and the hot spring Biskupslaug. The Reykir regional museum is ...

View

Reykir Regional Museum (Hrútafjörður)

The local culture museum at Reykir in Hrutafjordur bay in North Iceland gives a good impression of the shark hunts from the bay and the farm comm...

View

Húnaflói

Húnaflói is a bay in north Iceland. Many beautiful fishing villages and fascinating sites sit on its shores.  The most iconic fe...

View

Vatnsdalur

Vatnsdalur ('Lake Valley') is a valley in Hunavatnssysla in North Iceland. It is located just south of the Ring Road. As well as being well ...

View

Kolugljúfur

  Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir Kolugljúfur is a gorge that contains a waterfall in north Iceland. It is relati...

View

Hrútafjörður

Hrútafjörður is a fjord in north-west Iceland that stretches out of Húnaflói bay. The name of the fjord translates to ...

View

Drangsnes

The fishing village of Drangsnes can be found at the mouth of the Steingrímsfjörður fjord, in the Westfjords of Iceland. Drangsnes is ...

View

Kaldbakur

Kaldbakur is the highest mountain in the Westfjords. The mountain, located beween the fjords Arnarfjordur and Dyrafjordur, rises to 998 meters. From ...

View

Bjarnarfjörður in Strandir

Bjarnarfjörður is fjord in the Westfjords, south of Veiðileysufjörður and north of Steingrímsfjörður. Bjarnarfj&...

View

Hólmavík

In the desolate, dramatic, and awe-inspiring Strandir region of the Westfjords, the village of Hólmavík is the largest settlement. About...

View

Álftavatn

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit Chmee2/Valtameri Álftavatn is a beautiful lake in the southern Icelandic highlands, renowned fo...

View

Skagafjörður

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit: Steinib68 Skagafjörður is a fjord in North Iceland. Sauðárkrókur is its largest...

View

Sauðárkrókur

Sauðárkrókur (a.k.a. 'Krókurinn'), is the largest urban area in Skagafjörður in north Iceland and the second...

View

Djúpavík

Djúpavík is a village in the Westfjords of Iceland, located in Árneshreppur which is the least populous municipality in the count...

View

Tours near Vatnsnes

Wild North Super Jeep Tour | Grabrok Crater, Kolugljufur Canyon & Borgarvirki Citadel

Jump aboard this Super Jeep tour for an adventure to the wild, untouched beauty of North......

View

Iceland Midnight Sun Photography Workshop

Bring your photography skills to higher levels by joining this 12-day summer workshop chasing......

View

10-Day Untouched Tour | Circle of Iceland with Glacier Hiking & Ice Caving

Come on an adventure of a lifetime and circle the entire island of ice and fire with this 10-day......

View

14 Day Photography Workshop | Ring Road in the Winter with Ice Cave

Spend two weeks capturing Iceland’s beautiful winter landscapes with this fantastic photography......

View

3-Day North Iceland Tour from Reykjavik with Daily Activities

See Iceland’s beautiful north without renting a car, by booking this three-day tour to Akureyri......

View