Visit Hvítserkur

Rate this Adventure Hvitserkur

Distance

0.5 Miles

Elevation Gain

0 Feet

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Barry Holloway

Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Legend has it that the troll, Hvítserkur, intended to silence the bells of Þingeyraklaustur Convent at Þingeyrar in northern Iceland. Instead, he was unintentionally caught in sunlight and turned to stone. You can visit Hvítserkur along the scenic road which follows the remote coastline of the Vatnsnes Peninsula.

Though the legend sounds far more exciting, the formation is actually the hardened lava plug of an ancient volcano. After the volcano eroded away, the plug is all that remains. The troll’s name, Hvítserkur, translates to “white shirt”. During summer, many seagulls and fulmars nest upon the formation, their excrement and the natural light gray splotches on the rock led to the name. So there you have it, it’s nothing more than a 15m (49 ft) high rock covered in poo, but one worthy of a visit.

Traveling along road 711, overlooking Húnafjörður, you’ll come to the turn to Hvítserkur. If going northbound, it will be on the right shortly after the Farfuglaheimili hostel and café. Roughly a quarter of a mile off of the road is an area for parking. Follow the trail in a northeasterly direction to an overlook at the top of the cliff. From here, and several other locations along the clifftop, steep trails wind their way down to water level. At low tide, you can walk to and beyond Hvítserkur on exposed sandbars, but first you’ll have to locate the best route of stepping stones to take across a shallow stream flowing into the fjord. During low tide, you may notice that concrete has been used to support the formation.

Across the fjord, you’ll have great views of the snow-capped peaks of the Skagi peninsula. Keep watch for seals, which can frequently be seen, as well as seagulls, fulmars, and other birds. Arctic Terns nest in the area and can be a bit aggressive if you approach too closely.

Traveling east to west on the Ring Road, there are three options for turns to drive to Hvítserkur. All will be gravel, but they are in good condition and easily navigable by 2WD vehicles when dry; snowy and winter driving could be a challenge. The first and shortest route would be 716 to 717 to 711; you'll pass by the Borgarvirki fortress, too. The next option, only a bit longer, but more direct, would be to turn onto 711; this way you wouldn’t have to watch for the turns onto the other numbered roads (which can sometimes be confusing and require a “best” guess). Last, the longest, but the route I took, was to drive on highway 72 to Hvammstangi, 6 miles north of the Ring Road, and then follow 711 clockwise around the peninsula and back to the Ring Road by one of the routes mentioned above. If you go with either of the first two options, after visiting Hvítserkur you can turn right on 711 to drive counter-clockwise around the peninsula.

While in the area, you may want to take advantage of other sights. The night before visiting Hvítserkur, I camped at Sæberg HI Hostel; besides camping, it offered rooms, small cabins, and a hot tub fed by nearby natural hot springs. The next morning I traveled road 711 around the entire Vatnsnes Peninsula; it’s a great detour off of the Ring Road. Some of the best seal viewing areas in Iceland can be found along the road. Boat tours to seal colonies are offered at the Icelandic Seal Center in Hvammstangi.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

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Distance

0.5 Miles

Elevation Gain

0 Feet

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Barry Holloway

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