South Coast, Iceland
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Hjörleifshöfði is a spectacular cape, just 15 minutes from little town of Vík, in the south of Iceland. The cape looks like a mountain island in the middle of the black desert of Mýrdalssandur. It stands 221 meters high with lush green hills and black lava hills with tuff rock formations and huge vertical cliffs. There is a large cave on the southwest side that opens against the seemingly endless black plain ahead, making the landscape unearthly and exotic. Few hundred meters from the cape, there is a boulder in the sand called Lásadrangur, a prominent feature in the otherwise barren landscape. Further away is another boulder called Arnardrangur that gives a similar effect. There are many locations around and on top of the cape, such as a panoramic view of the black sands, the entrance to a cave, the cave itself, green hills and very interesting locations on top of it. Hjörleifshöfði is truly a magical place where the desolation is almost complete.

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    Lighting conditions

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  • Accessibility, services and permits

    Accessibility, services and permits

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  • Visitors and risk factors

    Visitors and risk factors

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Route no 1 leads you straight to this location. Driving down to the main carpark takes 5 minutes down a sandy, bumpy road that can be difficult due to the sand. 4x4 is advised. All offroad driving is strictly forbidden.
Public transportation unavailable
There is no public transportation available in this area
Car recommended
Unchallenging terrain accessible by car
Good phone coverage
Generally good phone coverage without any major interruptions
Not needed
Guide is not needed

Services nearby

Close to Vík and Kirkjubæjarklaustur, so hotels, gas stations and convenience stores are in abundance. The southcoast has many guesthouses and lodgings. Nearest hospital is in Selfoss, 144 kilometers away.
< 30 km
Gas station
< 30 km
Hospital or emergency room
More than 50 km away
< 1 km
< 30 km
< 30 km


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You need a three-way permit. The sand and cape are owned by a company
Shooting requires both the permission from the property owner and the local government permit
The location is on the national heritage list.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government
The location is on the Katla UNESCO Global Geopark list.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government

Basecamp and facilities

There are two areas on the west side of the cape that make for good basecamps. With the right permit and permission from the Environmental Agency, you could have a tech base closer to the cave, but otherwise all offroad driving is strictly forbidden. There are no facilities on site, and everything needs to be brought into the area. Phone coverage is good.

Risk factors

The sand can be strenuous to work in and walk through. The cape sides are steep and dangerous. They are palagonite rock, unstable and prone to collapsing. Staying close to the edge is not advised and should be assessed with a trained safety and rescue crew.


Hjörleifshöfði lies on Iceland’s most frequented route, along the south coast, so many tourists go through here. The cape is a popular tourist attraction, where people stop for a long time, hike and take in the scenery. With the right permit, you could easily manage the traffic of hikers and tourist within the area.

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