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.

 

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

10 Reasons to Use a Local Tour Guide in Iceland

10 Reasons to Use a Local Tour Guide in Iceland

With tourism exponentially increasing month by month here in Southern Iceland, it has become pretty clear more people want to explore it!  There are hundreds of company’s you can choose to take you there but today I want to bring to light some important reasons why you should choose a local guide (like us at Katlatrack who is based in Vik Iceland) to adventure with.

 

1.) Experience. We know the area of Vik like the back of our hands because we were born and raised. Driving amazing people and 4×4 Tour Guiding in Vik Iceland has been in our bloodline for generations (ask us to tell you the story of my great grandfather!).

2.) Safety. The landscape changes, only a locale Vik Iceland Tour Guide is going to know how it’s changing from day to day (You’ve heard of Katla right? She can erupt any day!) and the routes to keep your unique adventure a safe one.  We are professional 4×4 drivers which means the chances of your adventure coming to a halt because of us is slim (we know how to handle easily through snow, ice, dynamic river crossings and extreme up/down hills.

3.) Knowledge. Vik Iceland is our home we know everything about the area. Local guide = Local Knowledge.

4.) History. Want to know when the church on the hill in Vik was built or the history on the first road from west to east (Reykjavik to Kirkjubæjarklaustur)? We have you covered!

5.) Folklore. Ohhhh and we have some GOOD stories to share too! All of the locations in Vik come with a fantastic interesting story! Only a locale Vik tour guide will be able to share them!

6.) Access to Secret Spots!

7.) Personalized day, not cookie cutter! Sure there are larger Tour company’s (that may be cheaper, but remember you get what you pay for!) that say they explore Vik like a local but I promise you they do not offer the level of TLC Katlatrack does. We care about YOU. Your EXPERIENCE. And strive to ensure you walk away completely blown away by this amazing area.

8.) You can ask as many questions as you want! A general big box Tour company isn’t going to allow you to or make you feel comfortable to ask! Ask away with us!

9.) Recommendations! The best place to eat in the area? Local easy walk to do near the hotel or a hot spring nearby… we know them! Ask us for local recommendations, we are happy to provide!

10.) You’re contributing to the life of a local person in the area who has a small business and a growing family!

 

Our New Accommodation – Volcano Apartments

Our New Accommodation – Volcano Apartments

Accommodation can be hard to find in Iceland, especially in the south of Iceland. In the south, you can find many of the most popular places people like to visit while in Iceland, like Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Gullfoss, Geysir, Dyrhólaey, and Vík. Did you know that the population in Vík is 300 people but at high season there are like 2500 cars that drive through, so the number of visitors is approx. 5-6000 people and a big part of this people like to stay in Vík. It´s the same story in other nearby towns. Guesthouse, hotels, apartment´s and hostels are normally fully booked in July and August. So it´s very important to book in advance and make sure you choose the best location for your travel to avoid long distance driving. Even though you might think Iceland is small and easy to drive from one place to the other it always take´s more time than you predict and Google map is not always correct. If you are planning a trip to Iceland just now then please check out our new accommodation – www.volcanoapartments.is. It´s a well-located apartment in the south of Iceland. From there it´s easy to drive to check out the waterfalls, black beaches, and Geysers. It´s only 8 km from the main road and the town of Hvolsvöllur, quiet and private but has an amazing mountain view. From there you can see Volcano Hekla, Katla, Eyjafjallajökull, and Vestmannaeyjar. And there are few horses there who love travellers attention.
Check this out if you are planning your Iceland trip.

Best.
Guðjón and Katlatrack team.

 

Why You Should Visit Iceland in Winter

Why You Should Visit Iceland in Winter

From Northern lights displays to snowy landscapes, winter in Iceland offers a unique experience. The days on the Arctic island are short, but it has beautiful light. Sunrise and sunset last for a few hours creating a warm glow all over the city and it is ideal for photography. The weather is mostly unpredictable as it could be sunny and in a few minutes, the snow can surface.

Iceland is not also as cold as the name implies and has waterfalls, green landscape and hot springs.

What fun things can you experience while in this snowy paradise?

 

Aurora Borealis

In Iceland, you have a unique opportunity to see the northern lights. The Aurora borealis northern lights can be seen on a clear night which is free of fog or cloud which may cover the beautiful lights. If you go on a tour, your tour guide may be able to forecast when the lights will be visible since they know the weather more and can predict it using the Aurora forecast website. If you are unable to see the northern lights on the first trip, go back the next day, and you can see the most beautiful feature of this ice paradise.

 

Sport Activities

Even though there are no animals during winter because all the colorful birds migrate during this season. The whales cannot also be seen during this season, but other activities make up for this lack. Activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating can keep you active and occupied all through your stay.

 

Frozen Sand Beach and Glaciers

You can see the Vik black sand beach as it always looks like a fantasy land. The waterfalls are also frozen during winter and glaciers cover 10% of the Iceland. The water which runs through the caves freezes during winter and creates an amazing phenomenon which is called the Crystal Caves. The most famous glaciers for tours are the south and south-east of Iceland Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajokull and also the South West Langjokull. The ice cave in Langjökull is man-made and are visited with planned tours on monster trucks which take tourists to the entrance of the glacier which is 1200 meters above the sea level. After entering the cave entrance, tourists can explore the tunnels, moulins or glacier mills, ice layers, and running water. But if you prefer a natural made ice cave it´s best to find a local guide in the south.

 

Tourists can journey to the world’s most beautiful wildernesses which closely resemble an ice age and is the inspiration for the nomenclature of the island. They can also see the captivating blue ice which is in the middle of the glacier.

The glaciers also serve as a venue for marriage ceremonies for tourists and can give the most incredible landscape for such ceremonies.

Iceland has great sights and is still in winter by March. This period is perfect for a vacation as the there are fewer tourists during this time, and the flights and accommodation are much cheaper.

Katlatrack