Iceland, the land of great contrasts where fire meets ice, is the place where volcanic forces have created a vast, alien landscape. It is the perfect destination for an ultimate journey.
Located 200km/120miles from the country’s capital, Vik is a very popular and accessible destination, home to some amazing attractions: Reynisfjara and Kirkjufjara black sand beach, Reynisdrangar rocks, ice caves (Hálsanefshellir, Hjörleifshöfði and the “Yoda Cave”), Mýrdalsjökull glacier, Dyrhólaey peninsula. Even though it had under 300 inhabitants, the city developed a unique personality that gave it a special vibe. I really loved it, especially for its green meadows and its neighboring peninsula, Dyrhólaey.
Discover Iceland (things to know about it, itinerary, top things to do there)
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We were in the middle of our 10-days holiday in Iceland when we lived the strongest emotions in that magical country. We arrived in Vik late in the afternoon on a hazy and rainy day. But who would have thought that on such weather I would live the biggest excitement?
The first stop in Vik was Sudur Restaurant. It is an extremely popular restaurant located on a hill above Vik, the dishes are delicious and the staff is very friendly.
While having dinner, I found a flyer from VisitVik mentioning about Dyrhólaey peninsula as one of the best places to spot a puffin. The Atlantic puffins, whose nickname is “clowns of the sea”, have become kind of a mascot of Iceland. They are beautiful birds with colorful beaks and a funny waddle. I have dreamed to see a puffin in real life since I had an interview with my friend Oana Badiu about wildlife photography.
So, our next stop in that evening was Dyrhólaey. In the beginning, I was very disappointed to find that landscape covered in a thick layer of fog. I could barely see anything. I was running on the marked trail desperately hoping and calling loudly the puffins to show their faces. Gradually, the fog was moving and allowed us to see in the distance just a small part of the Dyrhólaey Arch.
Robert was saying it was time to leave the area because we had no chance to catch sight of the puffins. He was going to the car. I was a few meters behind him, looking again around the cliffs and praying for at least one puffin to show off in my way, when I saw in the distance a cute bird with a pompous posture staring at me from a mound. It was a puffin! I started screaming to Robert to come quickly. Fortunately, the puffin didn’t get scared after hearing my shout. So, I started the long photography session trying to catch it in nice photos despite the fact it was shrouded in mist. I couldn’t get enough of it – cuteness overload! 🙂
Due to the weather, we didn’t go on Reynisfjara and Kirkjufjara black sand beaches. Moreover, I didn’t want to risk after I had seen a video with some tourists who almost died because of the extremely dangerous waves that had come with no warning. However, we saw those beaches from the cliffs. I totally felt in love with the shades of black and gray which made one feel the solemnity of that mystic place. The foamy water and a flock of eider ducks were animating the place.
Back home, when I took a look again over the photos I was very surprised to find in one of them a lot of puffins sitting on the boulder from Reynisfjara beach. So, next time, I have to take my binoculars with me on holiday.
Happy and grateful for the experience I had just lived, we went to a camping near Vik which became the most isolated and hardly accessible campground that we had ever been to by then. Þakgil is a hidden gem, 15km away from the ring road. It was almost midnight, we were very tired, the gravel road had many potholes making the uphill slopes more difficult to climb by a non-sport car, but once arrived at Þakgil, I was completely sure it was well worth the effort.
The camping site (opened between June 1÷August 31) was a stunning green valley surrounded by steep mountains covered with soft moss. You could either camp, or rent a pine hut. The eating area was located in a natural cave with tables, benches and a barbecue.
Close to the campground, there was a small waterfall where one could hear only the sound of the water, while admiring the mystical surroundings. When I did that short hike to the waterfall, I met an Austrian female motorcyclist in her fifties who was coming for a day-trip to Þakgil because she loved the off-roading. She had come alone in Iceland with her own motorcycle by taking the ferry from Hirtshals (northern Denmark) to Seyðisfjörður in (east Iceland), via the amazing Faroe Islands. We both concluded that Þakgil was so breathtaking and out of this world!
The busiest and most wonderful day of our trip was about to end, but the Icelandic adventure continued for another couple of days.
We ate at:
- Sudur Restaurant / Vik (lamb plate ≅ 36€; creamy mushroom soup ≅ 10€)
- at Þakgil
Keep on reading IDR’s articles to discover the amazing Iceland and many other incredible places on Earth.