Iceland // Northwest Iceland //

The Vatnsnes peninsula

From Hvammstangi, you’ll need your own transport to follow Route 711 as it heads northeast around the Vatnsnes peninsula, a wild and uninhabited finger of land on the eastern side of Húnaflói known for its superb views out over the bay towards the needle-sharp peaks of the Strandir coast in the West Fjords. While ascending tiers of craggy, inaccessible hills form the spine of the peninsula, the land closer to the shore is surprisingly green and is given over to grazing land for horses; you’ll also spot flocks of greylag geese, and seals on the beach at Ósar. Around 20km from Hvammstangi, the café at the tiny settlement of Geitafell offers a welcome opportunity to break your journey.

On the promontory’s more sheltered eastern coast, 29km north of the Ringroad along Route 711 and 18km east of Geitafell, there’s a seal-breeding ground at the the farm settlement of Ósar, where adult seals and their young can be spotted lolling idly on the black volcanic sands during June and July – a rare opportunity to see these appealing creatures at close quarters. A short path leads down to the sands from the friendly youth hostel. Ósar is also the location of the 15m-high Hvítserkur rock formation, a striking landmark just offshore. Sculpted by the tremendous force of the sea, this craggy rock looks like a forbidding sea monster rearing up from the waves.

More about Iceland

20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.