The Reynisfjall Sea Cliffs Hike – Iceland
The Reynisfjall Sea Cliffs Hike is one of the best hikes you can go on around Vik, Iceland. Not many people hike up there, which means you will likely have the location to yourself.
The Reynisfjall Sea Cliffs hike is a medium-difficulty hike with fantastic views over the Reynisfjara sea stacks, the nearby Black Sand beach, as well as Vik and Dyrhólaey. Yet, this location does not seem to get many visitors compared to other places nearby, despite offering fantastic views over several nearby points of interest.
This hike should be on your list if you are looking for an easily accessible hike along the Ring Road.
The Reynisfjall Sea Cliffs Hike – View toward Dyrhólaey
How to get to Reynisfjall & Outline of the Hike
- Getting there: this one’s easy. Drive to Vik. Once you enter the town, follow directions to the Vínbúðin shop. It’s on the side of the road close to the beach and opposite to the road to the church. If you are looking for car rental options, I can definitely recommend Blue Car Rental for cars and CampEasy for Camper Vans.
- Start of The Hike: I did park the car by the Vínbúðin shop. This served two purposes. It’s pretty close to the trailhead, and you can buy beers to drink after the hike. Or wine. Or spirits, whatever your choice :)
- Photography & Scenery value: spectacular views from the top of the cliffs, especially over the Reynisfjara sea stack, the black sand beach and Dyrhólaey.
- Difficulty: Medium
- Tip: Another hike close to Vik I haven’t been to (yet) looks promising for its scenery and good photographic value. It’s the hike to Hatta, a mountain north of Vik. I have seen a few online photos and videos from the summit and put it on my shortlist, but I did not make it up there. Let me know in the comments if you have been there. I am planning to hike there on one of my next visits.
The Reynisfjall Trail
From wherever you park the car in Vik, start heading toward Reynisfjall. You will see the shape of a winding road going up the side of the cliffs. That’s the first part of the hike.
You can keep following the road to the top of the cliffs. On top, the trail will fork in two. If you take the trail on the left, you can hike the loop clockwise, as I did. If you prefer to hike the loop counterclockwise, you can take the trail on the right.
As you proceed, you will first come across the view of the Reynisfjara sea stack from the top. Their sight is just as impressive as from the two beaches on either side of Reynisfjall.
Approaching the Reynisfjara sea-stacks
The Reynisfjara sea-stacks from above
Next, you’ll come across a hut. As you traverse the top of the cliff, the views over the Reynisfjara beach and Dyrhólaey will open up.
You can keep following the trail to close the loop and go back to the dirt road on the side of the cliff. As I mentioned earlier, keep in mind the trail will split in two, with the one on the left going down on the side opposite Vik.
Photos and Photography tips for the Reynisfjall Sea Cliffs Hike
The hike offers lovely views over Vik and its iconic church. The views get better as you hike up on the side of the cliffs.
The village of Vik viewed from Reynisfjall.
Rainbow over the village of Vik
Finding a foreground to compose your shot and add depth will not be a problem here. The top of the cliffs will offer countless compositional opportunities for your foreground.
Light shining over the village of Vik
You can bring any lenses between 14 to 200mm here; there will be some use for any focal lengths in between.
I wanted to shoot a long exposure of the sea stacks when I was there, but the light conditions were not excellent while I was there. Still, I would recommend bringing an ND filter with you and trying that. Some results I’ve seen online look lovely.
The best and most photogenic views, in my opinion, are those toward Dyrhólaey. Also, there can be conditions for a good light show over the plains and surrounding mountains with the setting sun.
The Reynisfjall Sea Cliffs Hike – View toward Dyrhólaey.
Sunset over the Reynisfjara cliffs and Dyrholaey.
Long exposure version of the previous shot. I personally prefer the normal exposure here.
A light show just before sunset
View towards the ring road from the top of the cliffs
Light shines over the cliffs just before sunset.
Panoramic photo from the top of the Cliffs, overlooking the Reynisfjara black sand beach parking lot.
I was there for sunset, and I feel this is the best time of the day for this location, especially considering the views toward Dyrhólaey. Still, I would recommend checking the sun’s exact position before going. The sun’s position will vary considerably depending on the season due to Iceland’s latitude.
Map of the Reynisfjall Sea Cliffs Hike
A couple of notes on this map. Point A is the aforementioned Vínbúðin shop. Point B is I forgot to stop the GPS tracker after the hike till I arrived at my accommodation for the night.
In between, I took the wrong trail and descended toward Reynisfjara beach. Unfortunately, I did not check my tracker on the trail, and the turn is easy to miss.
If you’d like to use this GPS track and download it, keep that in mind. I guess you’d probably want to be on the right side of the mountain at the end of the hike ;)
Where to Stay
In the Vik Area, there are plenty of options to stay overnight around Vik. Hostels, High-end hotels, apartments, and a campsite are all nearby. I stayed at Hotel Vik and at Vik Cottages on different occasions, and I enjoyed both.
If you want a camping recommendation, Þakgil is only about 40 Km away. It’s one of the best campsites I’ve been to in Iceland and provides access to several hiking trails. It’s on a dirt road, but it’s accessible with a regular 2WD car, and to me, it’s definitely worth the trip.
Car or Camper Van Rentals
I can definitely recommend two companies here:
- Cars: Blue Car Rental, which is the largest Car rental company in Iceland, and for good reasons. Free Cancellation, Unlimited mileage, 24-hour break assistance, SCDW, CDW, TP, and GP insurance are included in the price. Blue Car Rental is also located within walking distance of the Keflavik Airport, so you can be on your way to explore Iceland right away. I’ve always been happy with my rentals there, which is why I’m happy to recommend their services here on my blog.
- Camper Vans: CampEasy. With CampEasy, you can rent 2WD or 4×4 campers alike. With a raised Chassis, larger tires, and extra insurance with reduced liability for river crossing, their 4X4 campers are the best choice for your trip into the Highlands. Their Website also provides extensive information about roads you can take and instructions on river crossings. Perfect choice for a hiking holiday in the highlands!
These are my two favorite companies in each respective rental area, which I why I am happy to recommend both here. If you also like this blog, booking through them is a great way to support it. I’ll get a small commission fee at no additional cost, so you can essentially support the running costs of this blog for free too.
Got a question or your own experience to share? Let us know in the comments below!