Hatta Hike in Vik, Iceland

The Hatta Hike in Vik í Mýrdal is a bit of a hidden gem in such a busy and touristic location. It has all the ingredients you would look for in a hike in Iceland. Stunning volcanic landscapes, glaciers, cliffs, endless views of black sand beaches, and, in summer, the contrast with the green moss and grass. from up there you also have a great view of Reynisfjall and the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, Dyrhólaey, and all the other major features in the area.

View of the Reynisdrangar sea stacks from the hiking trail to hatta above vik in iceland

View of the Reynisdrangar sea stacks from the trail to Hatta.

It is a fact that the south coast is one of Iceland’s most scenic areas, so it should be little surprise that this is an amazing trail. I’m actually surprised how little this trail is known actually, considering it is also a very enjoyable hike.

Probably the best hike in Vik, together with the hike to Reynisfjall. It’s right above town and even the trailhead is by the Vik church! Hundreds pass by it every day, though only a few get up to the top of Hatta to enjoy the endless views of the south coast.

So if you are looking for a quiet half-day on the trail away from the busy Twon of Vik (I never thought I’d define Vik as busy but here it is), get up to Hatta.

Vik I Myrdal's church in winter with snow

Hatta’s trailhead, right behind the Church

Table of Contents

Overview of the Hatta Hike in Vik & Map

Hatta is the tallest mountain in Vik, so no surprise the views are 360 degrees fantastic.

The trail is very nicely signposted, all the way to the summit. It is very easy to follow the trailmarks to the top of Hatta. The trail is not challenging, and no scrambling is required, though some sections, and the summit, are moderately exposed.

I hiked this trail at the end of winter, in March to be precise. So depending on snow and ice conditions, it should be possible to hike to Hatta for most of the year. So, if you are planning a winter hiking trip in Iceland, you should at least shortlist the Hike to Hatta in Vik.

Avoid if foggy or rainy and very wet.

Max Altitude  510 m
Distance  7.15 KM
Elevation gain  470 m ↑ / 470 m ↓
Hike time  01:45/ 02:00  Hours
Hike Difficulty  Moderate

Here is also the map of the hike. You can download the GPX file for free from the activity linked below. One note on the activity; the elevation gain is completely off, for some reason. The correct one is 470m as stated in the table above.

How to get to the Hatta Trailhead in Vik and Parking

  • Driving Directions: Only one way to access the trailhead; Vik, on the south coast of Iceland, whether you’re coming from the East or the West. Get to Vik and drive up to the Church. I can recommend Blue Car Rental for cars (5% discount through The Photo Hikes) and CampEasy for Camper Vans.
  • Parking: the closest parking spot is the parking area behind the church. So if you are arriving from the ring road you can park there. Alternatively, Vik is so small that you can just walk right up there from anywhere in the Village. I did so from Vik’s camping too. It takes less than ten additional minutes. Probably the same applies anywhere in Vik.
  • Public Transport: Straeto Bus 51 from Mjódd in Reykjavik goes to Vík í Mýrdal. I’d recommend checking the Straeto trip planner for the details.

Hatta hike trailhead by the Chirck in Vik in winter

The Hatta Hiking Trail in Vik

Starting at the world-famous Vik Church, follow the wide dirt road up the mountain. The trail marks are small, wooden posts with their tip painted red. You can easily sport one every 15-20 meters ahead of you.

Initially flat, you will soon have to hike up a steep trail after crossing a field. No need to scramble up the mountain, but the trail is slippery, and the ground rather crumbly, so there is the potential to slip even in dry conditions.

Reynisdrangar sea stacks from a mountain behind via in winter

Hiking trail in Iceland on a snowy landscape

The trail is clearly visible and goes straight up the mountainside, to turn to the left once up the cliff.

Once you get up this first, steep, part, the middle part of the trail is relatively flat, and only the last part of the climb to the summit will be again steep.

Anyway, as you cross the middle section, you’ll pass by a few. ago viewpoints overlooking the town of Vik and Reynisfjall. Don’t get too close to the edge of the cliffs as it is an almost vertical way down the side of the mountain.

View of the town of via in south iceland from above

View of Vik frpm the trail on a Hike to Hatta

View of a snowy landscape from a cliff on the hike from Vik to Hatta in south Iceland

One of the several, great panoramic viewpoints along the trail.

You will have the summit in front of you all the time – the tallest mountain right up the trail. To get there, you’ll first have to cross a small hill and after that, the final ascent begins. The last part is quite steep. Again, not “scrambling” steep, but the terrain is crumbly there too, so proceed with caution.

Snow covered mountain near Vik in the south of Iceland

Hatta’s summit, the tallest one in the centre of the image.

cairn and meteorological station on top of hatta, a hike that can be done in VIk

Hatta’s summit

Once you reach the summit, the views will open up in every direction, revealing the magnificent landscape around it.

Vik and its Church, Reynisfjall, Heiðarvatn, Hjörleifshöfði, Mýrdalssandur, Reynisdrangar, Mýrdalsjökull, Dyrhólaey..these are some of the main features you can base at from the top of Hatta.

This is an out-and-back hike, so you’ll need to go back the same way you came from.

view of a coastal panorama in winter from the top of a mountain in south Iceland

View toward Vik and Reynisfjall.

Dyrholaey viewed from the top of Hatta near Vik

snowy landscape that can be admired from the hike to hasta near vi in winter

Small lake near Vik in Iceland, Heiðarvatn


The Hatta Hike Photos and Photography Tips

This would be a great sunset hike, especially in Summer. The best views from the summit are toward the southeast, so you will also have some great golden light earlier in the afternoon. Also sunrise, since the views are open in every possible direction, but I think out of the two sunset would be more scenic since the landscape to the east is more flat.

I would also imagine some of the news from the cliffs to be great during the blue hour – with the lights of Vik warming up the cold landscape of the late evening or early morning, after sunset, or before sunrise. I’ll definitely attempt that on one of my next visits.

Winter landscape in Iceland

Panorama from the top of Hatta view view of Vik, reynsdranfgar and reynisfjall

Reynisdrangar sea stacks viewed from above

View of some rocks n the foreground and sea stacks in the background in the south coast of Iceland near Vik

Reynisdrangar sea stacks under menacing and dark clouds

This is also a good location to get some photos of Vik that have not been done to death yet. No need to get up to the top for that either, you can just hike up to the first viewpoints along the trail.

And, of course, a different perspective of the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, which are very visible throughout the hike.

Lastly, If you have a telephoto lens, bring it. you have views of so many features and such a variety of landscapes that a telephoto lens comes in handy if you want to capture some of the farther-away landscape features. There also are several birds populating the cliffs around Hatta.

View of Dyrholaey from a viewpoint on the hike to Hatta near Vik

the black sands of Mýrdalssandur viewed from afar with some snow on the mountains around it

abstract panoramic image of land covered in snow and soft light diffused by clouds

Lake near via that can be viewed from the top of Hatta, a nearby mountain

Sunny winter landscape of south Iceland

All in all a fantastic hike with fantastic views and great photo opportunities.

Video of the Hike

Here is also a video of my winter hike up to Hatta, from the Church in Vik.

For privacy reasons YouTube needs your permission to be loaded. For more details, please see our Privacy Policy.
I Accept

Where to stay

While this area of south Iceland has plenty of hotels, guest houses Farmhouses – even camping and hostels – you will most likely need to book in advance if you want to spend the night in or near Vik. That is, except for the campsite. Apart from that, spontaneous stays have become essentially impossible in the last couple of years. Everything is booked well in advance.

A note on the campsite: usually it’s open from May only. However, it is still accessible in Winter. I stayed there with my Van and many others. The facilities are of course closed, but there is no other campsite to stay at nearby – and camping on the road or in a random area is generally not allowed.



Additional Resources