Sometimes wind and water erosion causes nature to create incredible natural monuments. This is the case with Hvítserkur, the enormous basalt rock stack located in Húnaflói Bay on the coast of northwest Iceland.

At 50 feet (over 15 metres) in height, Hvitserkur protrudes dramatically from the middle of a black sand beach. The intriguing shape of this mammoth basalt rock stack reminds some onlookers of a dragon and others of a rhinoceros or an elephant. According to popular legends in this part of Iceland, Hvitserkur could even be a troll that turned to stone when it was surprised by the sunrise.

While it only makes for a quick stop, visiting Hvítserkur is highly recommended if your route around Iceland takes you to the north of the country. Depending on the tides, you may be able to get up close to the huge rock. However, if the tide is high or you don't want to navigate the steep slope that leads down to it, you can always observe Hvitserkur from the purpose-built viewpoint.

Hvitserkur has also been known to be a good place to spot seals, as the beach is often a favourite spot for the animals on the north coast of Iceland.

How to visit Hvitserkur?

Although it's one of the most interesting tourist attractions in northern Iceland, many people leave it out of their itineraries due to its difficult location. The only way to get there is by car: it's a 25 mile (40 km) drive along the unpaved Route 711 after turning off the Ring Road.