Vestrahorn Mountain is one of the most photographed locations in Iceland.
Imagine this stunning landscape: the "Batman mountain" with steep slopes reaching a flat lagoon, a black sand beach and small black dunes.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit to the Vestrahorn, Iceland with tips, map and photos.
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Why visit the Vestrahorn Mountain in Iceland ?
What is Vestrahorn?
Vestrahorn, sometimes called Vesturhorn, is a dramatic spot where vertiginous cliffs meet a flat black sand beach.
Because of its shape from some angles, it is sometimes called Batman Mountain.
plus, a lagoon forms at on the black sand. When there is no wind, you can enjoy magnificent reflections!
It is a magnificent sight, one of the highlights of South Iceland.
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). All of them together are often what is referred to as Vestrahorn, even if technically it is just one summit.
All of them are made of gabbro and granophyre rocks (unstratified). This is quite a contrast with the rest of the island that is mostly basalt and lava rocks. Geologists estimate it to be between 8 and 11 million years old.
Because of its shape and structure, it is extremely difficult to climb.
History of the Stokksnes peninsula
- The area was one of the first settlements in Iceland by the people of Ireland and Norway
- In the 800, the Vikings settled here
- Since the second world war it is a military base and Nato radar station. If you walk to the end of the road you will see the fences.
- 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 below and above with the Panorama option of the iPhone.
PLANNING TIPS & Map - Vestrahorn Iceland
Vestrahorn Iceland Map - Where is Vestrahorn mountain?
- Located on the South East Coast of Iceland, at the East end, so completely opposite to Reykjavik
- East of the town of Höfn
- 5km (3.1mi) from the Ring Road
- Below are maps to help you get oriented and locate the mountain and beach:
How to get to Vestrahorn Iceland
- 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 - Reykjavik to Vestrahorn = 6h drive
- On the Ring Road, drive East past the town of Höfn. After 7 km (4.3mi) turn right (south) on to 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 the picture in the next section
- Pay the fee in the box at the café
This location is included (with GPS coordinates, map of region and planning info) in my travel guide eBook that helps you easily plan your Iceland road trip:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
Acces to Vestrahorn 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.
- Stop at the café and pay the admission fee - this is private land
- Then you can walk down to the black sand beach and lagoon or on the road towards the military road to reach the dunes.
- Be careful with the grass. It is critical to the sand dunes to avoid erosion. Pay attention where you walk
- Close to the cafe is the Viking village film set that you can visit
- And Check out my complete article on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
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:
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
- Option 1 - Local experts - Iceland has a lot of specificities and the offerings of local companies are adapted - you can compare cars and prices of quality local brands on this expert Icelandic website
- Option 2 - International Brands - compare offers on RentalCars.com
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Best time to see and photograph Vestrahorn
Best weather conditions for photography
The ideal is on a clear day to be able to see the top of the mountain. Clouds do tend to get stuck on the mountain. Have a look:
The other great weather condition to get, is when you have no wind.
No wind means that the water on the tidal lagoon is quiet, without ripple. And you can get awesome reflections...
Best time of the day
When looking at Vestrahorn from the Stokksnes beach, you are facing North.
Therefore it is not ideal for sunrise and sunset. However, you can always have better lighting at those hours...
If you can choose I also recommend visiting between mid to low tide, when the tide is receding.
Vestrahorn and the Northern lights
Vestrahorn is a great locations to capture the Auroras.
- Again you are facing North. But for the Northern lights, it is perfect!
- There is no light pollution in the area. But be careful when you try to get there, as there is no light...
- You just need no cloud over and high activity - Check out the aurora forecast at Vedur.is
Vestrahorn is magnificent all year long with or without snow.
But it is true that with
Viking café and Viking Village Film Set
When arriving at Vestrahorn. There is a café.
This statue is placed in higher ground, guarding the beach and the mountain.
A short walk away from the café is the Viking village film set that can be visited (the admission fee covers both the beach area and the village).
It was created in 2009/2010 for Icelandic film director Baltasar Kormakúr. But the movie was never shot.
But it gives you an idea of what the buildings looked like at that time, as they have been built with attention to details.
Stokksnes beach - Black sand beach + Lagoon + dunes
The Stokksnes black sand beach
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. Discover other options on my article about black sand beaches in Iceland.
Stokksnes Lagoon (tidal flat)
But the most famous pictures of Vestrahorn are the ones with crazy reflections, and it can look like you are walking on water.
You need a receding tide and no wind.
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.
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 are covered 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.
Want to see other highlights nearby?
- The famous Jokulsarlon lagoon and its iceberg - read article
- Diamond beach with icebergs on black sand - read article
- Fjallsarlon Glacial Lagoon, lesser know but as impressive - read article
- The Svartifoss waterfall and its basalt columns - read article
- The impressive waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss (read article) and Skogafoss (read article)
- The "feather canyon" of Fjadrargljufur - read article
- Or read my complete article about South Iceland
Planning a trip to Iceland?
Check out my travel guide to help you plan:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
And keep track of your own trip!
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