Iceland is absolutely full of stunning locations. No matter where you are in the country, the volcanic nature of Iceland’s history has left incredible footprints behind it, which are now fascinating reminders of the past. Here at Reykjavik Rent a Car, we love to show you some of our favourite unmissable Iceland locations, and Hvitserkur Sea Stack is no exception. 

Have you spotted images of Hvitserkur Sea Stack or driven past and wondered what on earth it is? Our guide is here to deliver all the information you would need about this quirky geographical feature.

What is the Hvitserkur Sea Stack?

The Hvitserkur rock is one of Iceland’s most iconic natural sights, an incredible rock formation found on Húnaflói Bay in the northwest of the country. The stack is formed of basalt and stands a whopping 15m above the sand. Being so close to the coast, the rock is a prime destination for sea birds nesting in its grooves, so this is an excellent destination for avid wildlife watchers. In fact, the name “Hvítserkur” in Icelandic roughly translates to “white shirt”, a name awarded for the impression made by the white bird droppings covering the rock at times.

With a population that largely believes in mythical creatures like elves and trolls, there is no shortage of folklore surrounding this unique structure. 

 Hvitserkur Sea Stack at sunset.

How was Hvitserkur Sea Stack Formed?

While the native population has chosen to interpret the formation as some sort of frozen mythical creature, the sea stack has actually taken hundreds of years to form. The piece of rock was likely created during a volcanic eruption or volcanic dike, which is magma from the earth’s surface being pumped vertically upwards. When the magma hit the cold sea, it likely cooled to form volcanic basalt rock. These waves are also the suspected culprit of the uncanny holes underneath the rock.

If the Hvitserkur Sea Stack was left to its own devices, the “legs” of the structure would surely be eroded to the point where they could no longer support the main weight of the rock. To avoid this, the local communities started to collect money to fund a rescue repair, and as a result, concrete has been added to the base of the stack of rocks to strengthen the weakening points. For this reason, we and future generations can enjoy the rock for as long as possible!

Hvitserkur Sea Stack legends

Hvitserkur Sea Stack Legends

When you first see the rock at Hvitserkur, it’s likely your eyes make out something a little mythological within the structure. The spikey back and the carved-out holes create a rocky creature’s outline. As a result, native Icelanders have invented stories to explain such an incredible structure.

Also known as the Troll of North-West Iceland, legend has it that this structure is actually a frozen troll. According to the story, the Troll was on its way to the Þingeyraklaustur convent where it hoped to tear down the ringing church bells. While making its way over from his home in the Westfjords, the beast took no notice of the time while the sun was rising and, as is Icelandic folklore, was turned to stone in the light of day.

We really recommend not missing this amazing geographical feature on your trip to Iceland, if only just to add to its budding fame all over social media. Why not rent a car with Reykjavik Rent a Car and ensure you can go wherever your heart desires?