The rock formation resembles Cthulhu or a petrified mythical sea elephant, and local folklore adds an extra sprinkle of magic to the natural wonder. Here’s how to visit this off-the-beaten-track beauty on your next trip to Iceland.
Elephant Rock is a captivating basalt formation on Heimaey, the largest island in the Westman Islands archipelago. The striking resemblance to an elephant makes this attraction a fascinating and compelling sight that sparks many questions about its origin.
Hike to the Crater
When it comes to unique rock formations, you might be surprised at how realistic some of them look. For instance, the Elephant Rock in Iceland looks like a giant animal, so much so that some people even believe human hands carved it out.
Its realistic appearance is because it consists of basalt, which gives it a wrinkled look similar to elephant skin. The cliff is believed to have been created during one of the many eruptions of the Eldfell Volcano (Iceland may be the only place you can tour inside a volcano). The last eruption was in 1973, although the rock is likely older than that.
While the Elephant Rock is the Westman Islands’ main attraction, several other attractions are worth visiting. For example, you can hike up to the top of Eldfell Volcano and enjoy beautiful views of the whole island. There’s also the Eldheimar Museum, built around the remains of a house uncovered during the volcanic eruption in 1973.
You can get to the Westman Islands by renting a car, taking a ferry, or flying there. The ferry is called Herjolfur, and it’s recommended that you book your tickets in advance as they can sell out fast during the summer high season.
Take a Boat Tour
This natural attraction will be incredible if you enjoy Icelandic wildlife. The rock formation is located on Heimaey, part of the Westman Islands or Vestmannaeyjar, in Iceland. It is also a popular stop for puffin and whale-watching boat tours that depart from Heimaey throughout the summer.
The Elephant Rock is a unique rock formation that looks like the head of an elephant sticking its trunk out from the water. It comprises basalt, a volcanic rock formed when lava cools. The most common theory for the Elephant Rock’s shape is that it was created during a volcanic eruption that resulted in a crater. However, several approaches have been suggested.
One theory is that it may be a petrified mythical elephant seal, and another idea is that it was created from the explosion of a volcano. In either case, the rock formation is a must-see for visitors to the island.
One of the best ways to see Elephant Rock is to take a boat tour of the Westman Islands. The trip will allow you to see the volcano up close and other breathtaking scenery on the islands. Many of the terms include stops at the Eldheimar Volcano Museum, which will give you an insider’s view into how this spectacular landform was formed.
You can also visit the island’s Stave Church, a replica of the original wooden Viking church on the mainland in Reykjavik. If you’re adventurous, try Sprangan, a local activity where you swing around the cliffs using ropes.
Visit the Eldheimar Volcano Museum
In addition to being a natural attraction, Elephant Rock is also home to a fascinating museum. Its exhibitions and building are built around a house excavated after the eruption of 1973. The museum’s creators have tried to show what life was like during and after the explosion by allowing people to dig around the ruins.
The house, named Gerdisbraut 10, is now home to an exhibition called Eldheimar. It was opened in 2014 and tries to tell the story of the 1973 Eldfell eruption uniquely. Visitors enter the building and immediately take on the role of archaeologists. They can move a joystick connected to a remote camera inside the house.
Much of the exhibit deals with the 1973 eruption and how it changed the islanders’ lives. However, the museum also covers the eruption of Surtsey, which emerged from the ocean south of Heimaey Island in 1963 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While you can visit the Westman Islands by renting a car, the most convenient way to see Elephant Rock is to book one of many tours that include it in their itinerary. It’s recommended to choose a tour that departs from Heimaey, and the best time to do so is during the summer when the daylight hours are longer.
Elephant Rock is one of the many natural wonders in Iceland’s Westman Islands, also called Vestmannaeyjar. The archipelago of 15 islands is a must-visit destination for anyone who comes to the island nation.
The rocky formation has an intriguing shape resembling an elephant’s head. The rock is made of basalt, the same volcanic material that makes up the rest of the island. Its unique form is due to erosion from the ocean.
The strange yet beautiful rock formation enthralls visitors. It is a popular photo-op and a great place to snap some fantastic photos. However, the rock’s beauty isn’t limited to its physical appearance. Many people have spotted that the craggy structure resembles other things, including a whale or a troll.
For those who want to explore the island more, several tours visit Elephant Rock. Whale watching is a popular activity in the area, and it’s possible to see marine mammals such as dolphins or orcas. Puffin tours are also available; many are paired with visiting Elephant Rock.
Those who plan to tour the island should consider renting a campervan. It will make the trip more comfortable and convenient. Booking accommodations near the attractions is also good, so travelers don’t have far to travel each day.