Vestrahorn Iceland is one of the most photographed mountains on the island. Located on the Stokksnes peninsula the whole area is magical with its steep slopes reaching a flat lagoon, a black sand beach and small black dunes. This natural wonder is one of the most beautiful Icelandic landscapes. Below is my guide to help you plan your visit to the Vestrahorn mountain Iceland.
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Vestrahorn Mountain Iceland - Well loved by photographers
Vestrahorn, sometimes called Vesturhorn, is a dramatic spot where vertiginous cliffs meet a flat black sand beach. It is 454m (1490ft) high and sometimes called Batman Mountain. It is one of the highlights of South Iceland.
Before you learn more about one of the best landscapes in Iceland, here is a photo to show you why it is so loved by Photographers and why you should add it to your Iceland road trip.
INFO & PLANNING TIPS - VESTRAHORN ICELAND
How to get to Vestrahorn Iceland location
- Located on the South East Coast of Iceland, at the East end, so completely opposite to Reykjavik
- How to get to Vestrahorn - On the Ring Road, drive East past the town of Höfn. After 7 km (4.3mi) turn right (south) onto an unmarked dirt road just before the tunnel.
Follow this road for over 5km (3.1mi) and you will reach a cafe with the statue you see in picture in the next section
- Höfn to Vestrahorn = 20min drive
- Jökulsarlon to Vestrahorn = 1h15 drive
- Vik to Vestrahorn = 3h30 drive
- How far is it to Reykjavik - too far for a day trip (6 hour drive)
- Pay the fee in the box at the café
Vestrahorn Iceland Map - Where is Vestrahorn mountain?
Below is a map of the South Coast to help you find where the Vestrahorn mountain is located, as well as a snapshot of Google Earth showing you the Stokksnes Map and where to go for beautiful views of Vestrahorn:
Vestrahorn with its GPS coordinates is included in my eBook full of practical maps to plan your trip:
Visiting Vestrahorn Iceland
- You can stop at the café and walk down to the black sand beach and lagoon
- Or you can drive the road towards the military base that is not military anymore I think. There you have to stop, then turnaround and admire the view. You can walk in the sand dunes to get some nice foreground to the mountains
- Be careful with the grass. It is critical to the sand dunes to avoid erosion
- Close to the cafe is the Viking village film set
- And Check out my complete article with detailed suggestions and tips on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
Best time to see Vestrahorn
- There is no ideal time or period to see Vestrahorn. When the clouds are high is better obviously, but the area is beautiful in all conditions.
- Note that it can be very windy so come prepare
- The view is facing North, so not ideal for sunrise or sunset. But it is great for Northern lights on a clear night
Where to stay near Vestrahorn
If you want to be able to photography it at sunset or sunrise, better to stay close to avoid too much driving.
I recommend staying in or around the town of Höfn - check out the best customer rated accommodations in the area.
The Statue guarding the Stokksnes beach
When we arrived at the café, this statue is placed in higher ground, guarding the beach and the mountain. I liked it especially with the beautiful blue sky behind it that I have not seen that often in Iceland 🙂
Photographing the Vestrahorn Mountain
Arriving at the fence of the military base, I turned around and discovered that amazing scene. I set up for a while away admiring this striking mountain and watching each cloud get stuck above it. Because I wan assure you it was windy and clouds were moving a lot, but on Vestrahorn, all were stuck.
I waited quite a long time but the clouds never left. More were coming and pilling up at the top of the mountains. A bit frustrating but a wonderful spectacle!
- If you are a well equipped photographer, you will need a wide angle. The sand dunes I will show further in this article make for a great foreground if you can't have the reflections
- If you are not a photographer, know that I took the photos above with the Panorama option of the iPhone 3.
History & Geology of Vestrahorn
Geology of Vestrahorn mountain
Vestrahorn is a 454m (1490ft) high mountain.
It is surrounded by Eystrahorn and Brunnhorn (the 3 little summits stretching into the sea like Batman). All of them together are often what we refer to as Vestrahorn, even if technically it is just one summit.
All of them are made of gabbro and granophyre rocks (unstratified).
Because of its shape and structure is is mostly scree on its side which makes it extremely difficult to climb.
History of the Vestrahorn area
- The area was one of the first settlements in Iceland by the people of Norway
- Since the second world war it is a military base and Natro radar station. If you walk to the end of the road you will see the fences.
Vestrahorn beach (Black sand beach Iceland)
The beach just in front of Vestrahorn is made of black sand. And it gets crashing waves from the Atlantic ocean.
Why is the sand black?
With the volcanic activity in Iceland, the black sand and pebbles are tiny fragments from the basalt lava that covers the area.
But the most famous pictures of Vesturhorn / Vestrarhorn are the ones with crazy reflections, and it can look like you are walking on water.
Here is an example:
Like Kirkjufell, Vestrahorn is well photographed (although not as much as it is very isolated in comparison). I really recommend googling pictures of it and you will see that some are incredible with reflections and partial snow.
Discover other options on my article about black sand beaches in Iceland.
Vestrahorn and black sand dunes
At this end of the Stokksnes beach there are small dunes formed by the black sand. It makes for a great foreground.
They are not big but cover with some dense grass is some places. Just be careful not to walk on the grass and disturb the place, otherwise it will not be able to stand against erosion.
If you look closely at the photo above some water remain on the sand and on quiet days (not windy) you can get wonderful reflections. Check out this example.
Vestrahorn Iceland in Winter
With a good 4WD car, it is worth visiting Vestrahorn in Winter. Just be aware that the road will not be cleared, but it is not long and relatively flat. So the drive to Vestrahorn in Winter is not too difficult.
To give you an idea, below is a photo:
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Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
Discover more things to do and places to see in Iceland in my online Iceland Destination Guide.
Unpredictable weather is sometimes a good thing, don’t you think?
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