Atop black stone cliffs, sheets of rectangular stone leaning on one another like fallen dominos, a quiet serenity fills the air. Looking out from Kálfshamarsvik, it feels as if you’ve reached the end of the world. For as far out as the eye can see, there’s nothing. So far from the business of the cities, the hectic to-dos that daily life demands, the constant go go go of a normal day, it can feel impossible to keep up with the rigorous demands of life. In Kálfshamarsvik, there are no demands. There’s only stillness and peace.
Most of the history surrounding Kálfshamarsvik remains a mystery, from its culture to it’s geology. It’s a peninsula with rocky shoes and black cliffs formed completely of basalt columns dating back millions of years, two million to be more specific. There’s nothing quite like them in the world, making the Kálfshamarsvik cliffs another natural wonder that Iceland bestows. The peninsula itself and the lighthouse that sits atop it, Kálfshamarsnes, are a hot bed for shutterbugs itching to take back the perfect photos of Iceland.
The lighthouse was first constructed in 1933. At the time, Kálfshamarsvik was a fishing village. After the turn of the 19th century, about 100 people moved to Kálfshamarsvik to make a living off fishing and raise families on the wages. The settlement had become populous enough to warrant a beautiful, but architecturally simple and ahead of its time due to its contemporary & industrial aesthetics, lighthouse to ward off ships from crashing on her shores and protect her citizens from rogue sailors.
While all signs pointed to Kálfshamarsvik being a good fishery and fine place to live, after the 1930s the population started to decline. By 1940, the settlement was completely abandoned without a soul remaining to call it home. It’s known that the fish populations declined, by how or why is shrouded in mystery. Now, Kálfshamarsvik is a lesser-known tourist spot. It’s mostly a stop off for a quick photo on the way to bigger and better landmarks and activities in Iceland. However, Kálfshamarsvik deserves its own slot on the itinerate for its remote beauty and photogenic qualities. It’s worth stopping to take the time to explore her black rocky beaches and admire the vast basalt cliffs. Stare off into the distance beside the ocean and take in how incredibly large the world around us. Kálfshamarsvik reminds her visitors to find humility and silence in their own lives.
Kálfshamarsvik is located on the Northern side of Skagi, about 20 kilometres north of Skagastrond. The road to get there is gravel, and once you’re there, it’ll require a bit of walking to get from the lighthouse to the breathtaking cliffs. It’s just under a 4 hour drive from Reykjavík. The trip is well worth the wait to see the incredible basalt cliffs that resemble a reversed quarry, completely unique to any other natural wonder of the world.