Dyrhólaey, a long preserved promontory stretching from the coast and out into the ocean, is the southernmost part of Iceland. Surrounded by black sand beaches and green meadows, this 120 metre high precipice was created by an eruption thousands of years ago.
Walking to the tip of the promontory offers an amazingly scenic view in all directions. On one side there’s the North Atlantic and on the other is the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. On a clear day you can even spot the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) far away. The promontory is also rich with incredible birdlife and attracts bird watching enthusiasts all year round. Various species of seabirds including puffins and seagulls nest in the cliffs as well as in the large rock pillars, named Dyrhóladrangar, a little further out in the ocean.
On the southernmost part of Dyrhólaey, the ocean has shaped a hole in the rock that looks like a gate or a curved door. From this peculiar formation, Dyrhólaey draws its name, literally meaning Door-hill-island (although it isn’t really an island). If the ocean is calm, small boats can sail through the door.
If, after exploring Dyrhólaey, you’re looking for refreshments or accommodation, the nearest town is Vík í Mýrdal, a small coastal village surrounded by spectacular natural beauty. To name just one option for recreation, a short but bumpy drive leads to Þakgil, or ‘roof canyon’, a large cave that has been renovated into a fine eating spot, providing long dining tables and even a barbecue grill. Just bring the food and dishes and enjoy your meal out in the wilderness.
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