25 Things to Do in Vik Iceland | Katlatrack

25 Things to Do in Vik Iceland | Katlatrack

As you travel throughout this tiny rock in the North Atlantic Ocean, discovering all of its natural beauty, you might be dying to get off the beaten path.  You know, a place to discover and have all to yourself.  With the serious increase in tourism, it can be tough to do without a local guide.  Our Katlatrack team love to show you around, so join us today as we share with you 25 Things to Do in Vik Iceland!

Welcome to our hometown, Vik!  It’s a town that only 300ish people live on a daily basis.  So to say we all know each other, is pretty darn true!  When you drive down the mountain and into the town, you get a sense of excitement but still with the underlying, small town charm and hospitality.  Here is our guide to the best sights to see and the best unique and offbeat things to do in Vik, Iceland!

1- Visit the Hillside Vik Church

If you find yourself self-driving in Iceland the ring road.  Few things are more iconic than Víkurkirkja (Vik i Myrdal Church).  It was built in 1932 and has stood strong against the wind over time thanks to her concrete walls.  The hillside church in Vik has enough seats for 200 people.  The view from the mountain the church sits on is gorgeous overlooking the charming small town.

2- Eat traditional Icelandic Meat Soup

When you have been touring or hiking around the island all day and need something warm in your belly the very best cure for that is trying a bowl of traditional Icelandic meat soup.  It is traditionally referred to by locals, kjotsupa.  You’re in luck too, because Vikurskali (the cafeteria inside of the N1 fuel station in Vik) is known for the best in the town!  They are typically open from 11am-8pm year round.

3- Explore Caves and Learn about the Local Folklore of them!

By booking one of our custom tours, we can take you to countless local area caves that are far away from the tourists.  As you explore them, your guide will tell you about the folklore stories that come with!  This is a very unique “like a local” experience and one of the best things to do in Vik.

4- Play Golf!

Yes, even in Iceland we have several golf courses for you to delight in.  The local golf course in Vik may not be very long, but does boast amazing views as you tee off!  Feel free to check out this website for more information: http://www.visitvik.is/listings/vik-golf-course/

5- Visit the top of Reynisfjall Mountain

Standing over 1,000 feet tall is a mountain named Reynisfjall.  The area overlooks the famed sea stacks that are on the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.  There are only 2 ways you can get to the top.  First either by your own two legs hiking the 1-2 hours (one way) up the mountain.  Second, you book our team take you in our super jeep on our Best of Vík tour.  Our super jeep team has special permission to drive to the top!

6- Journey to a Viking tomb!

No joke folks!  One of the first settlers is buried on top of a nearby mountain in Vik.  So if you are game for a hike that is about 1 hour or less depending on your pace, we recommend as a thing to do in Vik is to visit a traditional Viking tomb.  You will drive 10 minutes east from the heart of Vik until you see a sign on the right saying “Hjörleifshöfði.” 

Do not drive here in your standard rental car during winter (snow levels can be high).  Follow the well-driven track (DO NOT OFF ROAD) until you see the next sign on the left pointing you towards the parking lot.  Follow the path that leads to the top of the mountain and there you will find one of the first settlers buried in the traditional Viking tomb way.  There will likely not be many people there as it is an offbeat thing to do in Vik Iceland.

7- Go Beer Tasting!

Vik Iceland is proud to have unveiled it’s very own brewery named Smiðjan Brugghús!  So we dare you to grab a burger, fries, and a beer flight!  Check out their website for more details.

8- Vik Swimming Pool

Unfortunately, Vik is not a geothermal hot spot.  But we do have a pool if you want to relax after your afternoon of hiking!  Most days they are open until 7 pm.  Check out their website for more information on the Vik swimming pool hours.

9- Visit the Dyrhólaey Lighthouse and Sea Arch

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan or natural beauty, you will love visiting Dyrhólaey.  It overlooks a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean.  During summer this place is full of all sorts of birds nesting and catching their dinners.  There is a historical lighthouse, lovely sea arch, and endless views that offer fantastic photo opportunities!

10- Have a picnic overlooking Vik Beach!

In our opinion, this is one of the best things to do in Vik Iceland (outside of our local super jeep tours)!  So grab some lunch to go (or even sandwiches from the local KR grocery store) and grab a seat on the sand dunes or at the picnic table down by the beach to enjoy the view!  Special Note: Be careful to not get near the ripe tide waves!

11- Adventure to an Ice Cave!

You cannot leave Iceland without doing two things… Super Jeep touring and experiencing an ice cave.  You’re in luck too because many of our tours like the Fasttrack Ice Cave and Katla Glacier Ice Cave, tours combine both of those super awesome things!  …and we scout weekly, to ensure we always have some type of ice cave year-round to take you to!

12- Overnight at the best hotels in Vik!

Having a full day of adventure can be quite tiring so it’s nice to “home base” yourself in Vik.  Our favourite hotels are Icelandair Vik and Hotel Kria.  We encourage you to check them out as you plan out your things to do in Vik Iceland!

13- Go Northern Lights Hunting

Speaking of overnight accommodation in Vik, if staying the night during fall/winter time this area can be quite good for Northern Lights hunting.  We would suggest you head up to the area above the church to possibly see but also encourage you to check out the local forecast on Vedur first!  Note: Northern Lights season is typically October-March.

14- Visit the Wool Gallery

Many folks ask us where to buy the best local souvenirs, and our answer is simple: Vik Wool Gallery.  Lots of handmade items by locals for you to consider!

15- View the Lava Show

New this year to the town and quickly becoming one of the most interesting things to do in Vik is the Lava Show.  I mean who doesn’t want to see what happens when a volcano explodes?!

16- Eat a traditional Icelandic Hot Dog

Hands down one of our favourite things to do are to buy a hot dog from the N1 fuel station in Vik.  They are so delicious and engrained as a part of our culture.  Don’t worry my American friends out there who are likely cringing… They are not made from random parts of pigs, they are 100% lamb meat and taste totally different!  You dress the hot dog in raw and fried onions, ketchup, mustard, and remolaði sauces.  Traditionally you would also grab a can of coke and a Prince Polo bar too if you want to go full on Icelandic 😉

17- Paraglide from the top of a Mountain in Vik!

Our talented friends at http://www.paragliding.is/ will take good care of you!

18- Have the BEST dinner view in Vik!

No matter what country you come from, we can all appreciate the natural beauty of a nice view during dinner!  At Strondin Restaurant during the months of June through September you can have hands down the BEST view during dinner in Vik Iceland.  Reservations are strongly encouraged during high season.

19- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Our Katlatrack super jeep touring team are not huge fans of visiting tourist locations.  But for years now, our little beach on the other side of the mountain has received worldwide acclaim.  Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is not only stunning for the sand and the caves, but primarily because of the basalt columns emerging from the sea!  The area will leave you inspired.  Special Note: This area can be quite dangerous with sneaker waves so please do not go near the water and beware of what the tide is doing.

20- Eat Local Arctic Char in Vik

Several of the local restaurants offer delicious local cuisine like Arctic Char (a taste somewhere between trout and salmon, if curious).  Our favourites: The Berg and Sudur Vik for the best places to eat in Vik!

21- Hike the trails above Víkurkirkja

There are countless little sweet trails that go behind Vik i Myrdal Church.  Take a few minutes to explore them and witness the view of the town below!

22- Go Horseback Riding

It’s important to us locals that we keep our Vik Iceland traditions alive.  Part of the history in Iceland are not only tending to our sheep but riding our horses!  Our friends at Vik Horse Adventure will introduce you to the amazing Icelandic horse!  They are talented creatures that boast an extra gait named the “Tölt.”  This is a gait so smooth that you could hold a beer and not spill it (believe me, I’ve done it!)!  After all, how many chances in your life will you have the opportunity to spend time with such an amazing horse and ride them on a black sand beach?!

23- Trek to the abandoned US Navy Plane

A novelty for many tourists is witnessing the US Navy plane that crashed down on a nearby beach just 15 short minutes from the downtown of Vik.  Over the last 5+ years, it has grown into one of the most popular things to do in Vik.  Please note, you may only park and hike to the plane now unless you go on an ATV adventure with the landowners.

24- Search for Puffins!

Bird watching is a summer thing to do in Vik Iceland.  During the months of mid-June to August, you can find these little guys throughout the cliffs of Reynisfjall Mountain and Dyrhólaey.

25- Explore Hidden Mountains and Secret Canyons!!

After this long list of what to do in Vik Iceland, you might be after something even more offbeat in a super jeep, maybe?  Our Katlatrack super jeep would love to show you a mountain areas only locals go!  If you book our Hidden Mountains tour, you will experience an awe-inspiring area few people have laid their eyes on.  It will feel so fresh and new that you’ll want to plant a flag in the ground with your names on it saying you “just discovered it”!

 

The natural beauty of Vik South Iceland will leave you always wanting more.  There is so much to see and do, especially during the summer months when all of the highland roads are open.  Our Vik based super jeep team would love to share our local knowledge and addiction to adventure with you by showing you the pure side of Iceland.  We hope today you have enjoyed this Iceland travel blog post on 25 things to do in Vik!  Feel free to contact us on planning your own unique adventure exploring all that you wish in Vik!!

Your Adventure Awaits,

Guðjon + Katlatrack Team

Driving in Iceland

Driving in Iceland

 

Visiting Iceland is an exhilarating opportunity, but one must remember that you are also coming to a tiny island in the North Atlantic that encounters some very unpredictable weather conditions.  So in order to keep yourself safe and others around you, today we would like to share some driving in Iceland tips.

 

General Advice About Driving in Iceland:

 

  1. Drive on the right side of the road (and the left side of the car).
  2. Your seatbelts and headlights must be on always, daylight or not.
  3. Icelandic roads can be coarse, unpredictable, and can feel VERY at narrow at times.
  4. Follow the speed limit! It’s a heavy if you don’t and many times you’re caught on camera.
  5. DO NOT DRIVE OFF ROAD. I repeat, DO NOT DRIVE OFF ROAD.  The landscape is delicate and it takes 100’s of years for your damage to be recovered if you were to.  You will also be heavily fined, so just don’t do it.
  6. DO NOT drive on any road that does not have a number (IE, Route 1, Route 36, etc) because you could get into a really bad situation (IE, like crossing a river in your economy car) or be invading someone’s private property.
  7. To Buy Fuel: Know your debit or credit card “pin” beforehand (MasterCard or VISA) OR buy prepaid cards to use at the fuel pumps once you arrive in Iceland for various amounts in ISK (Most common fuel stations in Iceland are: N1, Olis, and Orkan).
  8. Iceland’s Emergency Number (Search and Rescue Team) is: 112. Special Note: The group who responds are volunteers so please do not use this number if you need tow or are not endangered in some way.
  9. Dangerous gale force winds, rain, hail, snow, or blizzard conditions can come out of nowhere, fast. Be prepared and before traveling each day check: http://safetravel.is/http://www.road.is/ and http://en.vedur.is.
  10. Have an emergency kit on hand (this can be as simple as a first aid kit, food, water, extra fuel etc).
  11. Do not drink and drive!
  12. Pay attention to signs (ie, blind hills) and one-lane bridges.
  13. Lookout for sheep!

 

Things NOT to do while driving in Iceland:

 

  • Do not stop on the road to take that “perfect social media photo.” You endanger your own life and others by doing so.  Please park in designated areas and walk back to where you want to take the photo.
  • Do not take photos while driving.
  • Do not have your phone to your ear while driving (it’s illegal).
  • Do not drive fast on gravel roads, you can lose grip and end up on the side of it stranded.
  • Do not drive during storms. The wind is not joke here folks and many of our “storms” are gale force wind level (IE, 60+ mph). –See point 9 above.
  • Do not take turns from inside roundabouts from the inside lane without signaling and being aware of where other cars or trucks are.
  • Do not stop on the side of the road to feed the animals (IE, Icelandic horses or sheep).
  • Do not drive into anyone’s drive way or land without permission.

 

Specifically driving in Vik:

 

  • If there is a wind / sand storm, do not drive east from the village, wait it out. One of the most open/vulnerable drives in Iceland is the drive from Vik to Kirkjubæjarklaustur because you are crossing a black desert which during a storm is BRUTAL.  The photo below shows what a 10-minute sand storm did to someone’s rental car.  –Blew out the windows, took off the paint, saturated every cavass with sand.
  • Take care opening car doors, the wind can often blow the door from your hand.
  • Park into the wind if possible so you can open your doors easier.
  • Do not drive on any of the beaches or glacier areas. The waves are violent and there can be quicksand.
  • Do not drive into anyone’s drive way or land without permission from the owner. Respect the local people.
  • See previous points above and lastly, DO NOT OFF ROAD.

 

Best Iceland Winter Tours in Vik

Best Iceland Winter Tours in Vik

Winter has officially come to Iceland!  Although the daylight hours are limited, the adventure level still runs high during those hours.  And believe us, we utilize every single second for your adventure when you come to Vik Iceland for our 4×4 tour!  As you have likely already figured out, the South of Iceland is the richest of landscape diversity.  Every 5 minutes, your eyes will be overwhelmed by a stunning waterfall, beautifully shaped mountain, unique rock formation, or glaciers in the distance.

So when you start thinking about winter in Vik Iceland… What kind of tours get you the most excited?  Today we would love to introduce you to the incredible things to do during winter time here in Iceland (and also bust any myths that you might think are available or easy accessed)!

 

Ice Cave Tour in Vik Iceland

This might be our favorite type of tour during this time of year because every year new ice caves are formed (because our glaciers are receding each year, not growing in length).  The really amazing thing about our secret glacier area, is that there are multiple layers to the glacier so you see years of history coming out of the glacier.  How exciting is that?  You’ll feel like you’re part of Icelandic history!

You will witness black ice (from years of the black desert sand hitting it and freezing), you see pure white/clear ice (once the sand washes off) and the glimmer of blue ice (which is light reflecting).  Our ice caves in Vik Iceland are many times not the glorious “blue ice” caves you see in the typical photos, but they offer more charm, history, and seclusion.

The ice caves our Vik Iceland based Katlatrack team will take you to offer a more private feel.  We commit to not taking in large groups in to journey to the ice caves (whereas our competition in other ice cave areas will take in 30-50+ people at time) so you have a more intimate moment with the subglacial volcano.  It’s our mission to provide the most memorable and intimate experience you have when you come to visit Iceland.  So during our Ice Cave Tour in Vik Iceland, you will interact with a local guide educating you the home-grown geology, folklore stories, safety brief, and an unbelievable adventure into a natural ice cave!

Plus, our team is continuously scouting for new ice caves around our glacier so often times during our tours, we may see more than one!  The ice caves may vary in size, texture and tone, but they will leave you impressed and totally connected with Vik Iceland for the rest of your lives!  Feel free to grab a seat on one of our Ice Cave tours in Vik Iceland, HERE.

 

Super Jeep 4×4 Tour in Vik Iceland

There is something really unforgettable about buzzing through the snow in a 4×4 super jeep!  You feel like a total badass, free, and a little high on adrenaline!  So if you take our advice from our previous post of splurging on an extraordinary Offbeat Tour in Vik Iceland, you’ll never regret it!  You’ll be able to go home and know you saw areas of Iceland the majority of the locals haven’t even seen! Think Hidden caves, a subglacial volcano (say what?!), tops of incredible mountains, and landscapes you’ve only seen in movies!  Our “Under the Volcano” 4×4 super jeep tour from Vik Iceland would be a fantastic fit for you if you find yourself looking for just that!  Feel free to grab a seat on the tour, HERE.

 

Frozen Waterfall Hunting in Iceland

Waterfalls are one of the most amazing natural wonder features we have in Iceland.  And I’m proud to say that Southern Iceland is gushing with them!  In winter, they sometimes freeze partially or fully making it a really unique photo opportunity!  Fun Fact: Iceland is an island that boasts over 6,000 waterfalls and only 3,000 of them have names!  Can you imagine finding a secret frozen waterfall with us and giving it a name you create!?  We would love to take you on a custom private waterfall hunting adventure.  Feel free to contact us HERE to find out more information on a custom winter 4×4 tour in Vik Iceland.

 

Caving in Vik Iceland

There are countless unique natural caves in Iceland that have been created by lava flow, glaciers receding, or the ocean retreating.  During winter, they may need to be dug out a tiny bit, but that only adds to the adventure level, right?!  We would love to put together a custom tour for you to experience some of Iceland’s natural caves.  Contact us HERE for more information.

 

Game of Thrones Tours in Vik Iceland

Countless films and television shows have been filmed in Iceland and specifically the Southern part.  In our local area of Vik Iceland there are many locations where Game of Thrones and several of the Star Wars movies were filmed.  If you’re a fan, seeing the area in wintertime is quite the treat!  Feel free to book one of our Custom Tours to delight in that once-in-a-lifetime experience!

 

Snowmobiling in Iceland

During wintertime in Iceland, there is an endless list of company’s doing snowmobiling tours.  It can be a fun way to ride around on the landscape!  Although we prefer to stay warm and cozy in our super jeeps, we understand some of you may love the wind blowing on your face!

 

Dog Sledding

This is one of the biggest myths about Icelandic wintertime I would like to “bust.”  We are not a culture that ever required sleigh dogs.  We only use our dogs for herding sheep.  Many people assume since we are a Nordic country, dog sledding is part of our culture, but it’s not.  There is only one company in the entire island doing dog sledding tours in Iceland.  More often than not also if there is not a enough snow, they have the dogs run you on a wheeled sleigh, so it is NOT the traditional dog sledding experience I am sure you were hoping for.  That said, we encourage you to do dog sledding tours in Greenland or Lapland =) 

 

Northern Lights Hunting in Vik Iceland

Hunting for Northern Lights can sometimes be a daunting task… Why? Because it’s unpredictable.  So booking a ticket to Iceland during our “Northern Lights” season (which is typically between October-March) does not guarantee you will see them, sorry!  There are several variables in play here like the weather (it needs to be cold and a clear night), the sun (it needs to have emitted solar flares a day or two before) and the amount of nearby light (you want it to be DARK, no light pollution).  But if you have several days to commit to the challenge your chances of seeing increase!

 

Glacier Walking / Ice Climbing

Hearing the crampons click onto the ice is one of my favorite sounds.  It’s empowering and you’re one with the glacier all at the time same time.  By coming onto the glacier (either by walking or ice climbing) you’re able to experience a viewpoint that is not only unique, but gives you perspective.  More often than not you’ll leave the glacier feeling accomplished and inspired.  We offer these tours by custom booking only, based on skill level and availability.  Feel free to contact us HERE for more information on glacier walking / climbing in Vik Iceland.

So what Winter Tour will you choose in Vik Iceland?  So many exciting options!  Or if you choose to journey on your own to the tourist locations in Vik, please make sure you go back and read our wonderful blog post, “Driving in Iceland” for tips to keep you safe.  We look forward to seeing you on one of our Adventure Tours in Vik Iceland!

Until next time,

Guðjon + Katlatrack Team

Iceland Tours: Fact or Fiction

Iceland Tours: Fact or Fiction

Since 2009 our team at Katlatrack has been handcrafting offbeat tours in Southern Iceland.  It is extremely important to us for you (and your group) to appreciate the non-touristy side of Iceland and go home with an unforgettable EXPERIENCE.  So today we would like to educate you on some Facts versus Fiction in regard to Iceland Tours and Locations. 

< FACT >

There is a HUGE difference between booking a tour (or self-driving) to the mainstream locations which will be flooded with 100’s of tourists VERSUS exploring one of our unique locations.

 

< FACT >

We want you to walk away from our 4×4 super jeep tours in Vik Iceland with an overwhelming feeling of “I just discovered this place” for the very first time and that this place only exists for you right now. It’s a feeling of almost as if time stops.

 

< FICTION >

You are going to be alone at the typical tourist locations like: Reynsfjara Black Sand Beach, Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Thingvellir, Gullfoss, Kerid, etc.

With tourism now being at an all-time high and the majority of visitors using Photoshop and editing programs to “edit people out” of photos they post of their travels, it’s heartbreaking when you show up and you’re not alone.  But really, when you show up at your favorite Blogger or Instagramers spot, often you will be greeted with a scene like this at Iceland’s many tourist locations (many 50-person buses and hundreds of people):

 

< FACT >

Whereas, with our offbeat Iceland tours you may not even see the random hiker, horseback rider, or local small group or explorers!

 

< FICTION >

You need a super jeep to drive the famed “Golden Circle” route.

No way – No need!  Self-drive that route (see HERE) and save your dollars for an exclusive tour with a local guide Katlatrack in Vik Iceland!

 

< FICTION >

There are always volcanos erupting in Iceland.

Sorry guys, at the time of writing this blog post, it has been over 2 years since our last eruption (and before then over 4 years).  Although we are a volcanic island, we do not have volcanos erupting constantly like Hawaii, etc.

But what we do have are overdue ones, some amazing subglacial volcanos with epic amounts of ICE and a good folklore story to match… And natural caves that were formed from glaciers receding or old lava flow.  Come along with us for one of our Vik Iceland super jeep tours to discover this!

 

< FACT >

The key differences between our Super Jeep Tours and others in Iceland are things such as the following:

  • The Experience: We are truly local to Vik Iceland.
  • Level of Attention to Detail… We care about you!
  • The amount of people you will see on our tours. Often, you will not run into many people during our tour stops / locations.
  • Our super jeep team asks for special permission to take you to these offbeat locations.
  • We offer background / history on the locations (and sometimes a neat folklore story too!)
  • Whatever the weather we can devise our best options for “plan a” or “plan b” options if booking a private custom tour.
  • The Katlatrack team have your safety in mind always.
  • Every single guide working with Katlatrack are respectful and considerate to the Icelandic nature.  We are firm believers in leaving the area better than when we arrived and only taking memories.

 

Your Adventure Awaits You,

Guðjon + Katlatrack Team

Vik Iceland Adventure Tours: Lunch Options

Vik Iceland Adventure Tours: Lunch Options

When you’re out adventuring in Iceland, it’s nice to have options for lunch than just delighting in random bad-for-you snacks from a gas station…  Imagine pulling up to a natural cave and exploring around while lunch is being prepared for you!  During our private tours from Vik Iceland, we are happy to add on a custom lunch option for you and your group.

So what could that be? 

Option 1:

Packed lunches (sandwich, skyr, fruit, chocolate, and water).

Option 2:

There are not many things more traditional to Icelanders then a Pylsur (hot dog) and a Coke.  Think: A tasty lamb hot hog, on a warm grilled bun topped with crispy fried onions, ketchup, sweet brown mustard (called Pylsusinnep), and Remúlaði (kinda tastes like American potato salad).  Tell me your mouth isn’t watering just thinking about it!  Comes with Chocolate, Coke, Water, and Coffee.

 

Option 3: 

If you want to go full-on luxury during your Iceland private super jeep tour, we can offer you an amazing display of grilled marinated lamb, potato salad, and chips.  Followed by wonderful Icelandic chocolates. Your choice of Icelandic beers, sodas, or coffee.

If interested in adding on this awesome option to your private 4×4 adventure tour in Vik Iceland, please contact us for a custom quote.

 

 

Your Adventure Awaits You,

Guðjon + Katlatrack Team