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When visiting Grotta in Iceland timing is everything

In wintertime Grotta makes for a nice Kodak moment but views in summertime can be spectacular. PIC Joibert

In wintertime Grotta makes for a nice Kodak moment but views in summertime can be spectacular. PIC Joibert

There might not be too many things to see or explore on the minuscule rocky islet of Grotta in Seltjarnanes town in Iceland but it does give fine views over parts of Reykjavik and the whole of Faxafloi bay. Just don´t spend too long here.

Grotta, or Grótta in the local language, is the site of a nice lighthouse and sits at the westernmost end of Reykjavik city. However, due to small-place politics the western end of Reykjavik is not Reykjavik at all. It is a special town called Seltjarnarnes. Do not try to look for any distinction or geographic markers between the two because none will be found. It is in all but name the same place.

Grotta is not an island in the normal sense

The westernmost tip of this place is Grotta and standing there the Grotta lighthouse along with two older but nice buildings. We recommend a walk and since Grotta is not an island in the normal sense you can often walk right over on a small sandy bank. We say often because tides will sink that sandy bank regularly making swimming a necessity for crossing. But this is the North Atlantic ocean. Swimming is not going to make your day and might even be the end of you.

The lighthouse is usually not open to visitors but even then you will still enjoy fine views on a clear day and a marvelous opportunity for a panorama of a huge chunk of Faxafloi bay by which Reykjavik city sits.

This place is very easy and cheap to get to. From downtown Reykjavik it is very possible to walk to Grotta by the shoreline. This will take 40 to 50 minutes at a leisurely pace. Easier still is hop on board bus number 11 from downtown and get off at Lindargotu road. From there a five minute walk and you are done.

Be aware the islet is closed off for all traffic in June while birds are nesting but at other times, tide permitting, one should have good access. A tide information table is found here and this you should consult before hurrying over. There have been instances of people getting trapped for a short time on Grotta island. The visit is free of charge.

Right by Grotta you´ll find a very tiny man-made hot pool hammered into a big rock. It is popular among locals to dip their cold feet into it after a walk around these parts.


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