Dyrhˇlaey Nature Reserve (What To See - South West)

Dyrhˇlaey Nature Reserve (What To See - South West)
Dyrhˇlaey promontory is 120 meters high and has been a natural reserve since 1978 due to the unique formation and bird life. It is located on the south coast of Iceland just west of Vik village and to get there turn off road 1 and take road 218 south. The name Dyrhˇlaey literally means "Door Hill Island" and the name comes from the large arch that has been eroded from headland by the ocean waves. During calm weather and sea conditions, boats can sail through the hole and under the arch and even small airplanes have flown under the arch. It is believed that Dyrhˇlaey was created by a subglacial volcanic eruption late in the Ice Age. From the top of Dyrhˇlaey Headland, there is a great view over the black sandy beaches of the south coast to the west and Reynisdrangar sea stacks to the east on Reynisfjara black beach at the foot of Mt. Reynisfjall. On top of Dyrhˇlaey is a lighthouse built in the year 1927 to guide seafarers near to the treacherous south coast. Mřrdalsj÷kull glacier is crowning the scenery to the north. Be careful when walking around the area and avoid getting too close to the cliff edges, as rock and landslides are known to occur there.


There is rich birdlife on Dyrhˇlaey in summer but Dyrhˇlaey is a nesting colony of thousands of seabirds in summer, including Puffins and Arctic Terns. Please note that the promontory area is closed during the spring time, due to nesting season, usually this is from early May until late June.

Katla Volcano

Dyrhˇlaey was Iceland's southernmost tip until 1918, when the Katla volcano erupted beneath Mřrdalsj÷kull glacier, causing huge floods due to melting of the glacier ice, carrying with it large quantities of sediments, pushing the sandy beach at K÷tlutangi few km east of Dyrhˇlaey further south. However constant erosion of the beach is likely to result in Dyrhˇlaey taking its place back in the years to come. A short distance east of Dyrhˇlaey is the small village of VÝk, the southernmost town in Iceland.

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