Thorlakshofn, Iceland – The Perfect Day Trip From Reykjavik

Caves to explore, beautiful black sand beaches and unique lava rocks to check out, all just a short drive from Reykjavik, all the makings for my kind of adventure!

And adventure I got on a recent trip to the small town of Thorlakshofn.

Thorlakshofn, Iceland

Even though Thorlakshofn is just a 30 minute drive from Reykjavik for some reason it has never been on my radar. Until I set a challenge for the Viking that.

Let me explain the challenge.

H and I, we like to take as many weekend adventures as possible. But here is the deal, I tend to research all the places we visit and he gets to come along for the fun. So I challenged my Viking to do some research and find us somewhere I hadn’t been before, preferably close to home as it is winter and I get cold fast and want to be back in my sweat pants asap. Lucky for him his work ended up giving him his answer when he had a work trip to Thorlakshofn.

Technically it was cheating, but I won’t hold it against him as the Viking rose to the challenge, and has found a ton of new places I can’t wait to check out in the coming months. I will admit, when H first mentioned a visit to Thorlakshofn I was not that interested, and when our first stop of the day took us to a Viking ship and beautiful beach views, at least that was how H worded.

Thorlakshofn, IcelandThorlakshofn, Iceland

Not exactly the Viking ship I had in mind, or the beautiful beach (in the Viking’s defense he got the places mixed up) but the little ship was kinda adorable in its own way, and I never say no to a photo opt.

Thorlakshofn, Iceland

Not going to lie, after this grand introduction to Thorlakshofn my hopes were not very high for the rest of the stops H had planned. But I had faith in my Viking, and we were by the sea, so how bad could it be?

By stop two he completely redeemed himself.

Thorlakshofn, IcelandThorlakshofn, IcelandThorlakshofn, Iceland

Take me by the sea and I am a happy girl.

This spot, which we will just call area with lava rocks, was a welcomed surprised. I am usually not one to be interested in unique rock formations, that is my Viking’s area, but I have to say, all the lava rock around here was so interesting to check out. Apparently these lava rocks can be quite the tanning spot in the summer months. I am going to have to head back and investigate this, I wouldn’t mind some extra heat from the rocks!

Thorlakshofn, IcelandThorlakshofn, IcelandThorlakshofn, IcelandThorlakshofn, Iceland

While we were walking along the lava rocks taking in the sea (and the beautiful lighting!) I started thinking how strange it was to be walking on lava rocks by the water and not a beach?! I don’t know why this thought came to mind but it then had me thinking about all the other different things I have seen in Iceland. Like snow on a beach, in my mind beaches are hot sunny places, no snow around. Or hot steam coming up in the middle of a field covered in snow. Iceland is just full of unique contrasts. And that is just an example of the random tangents my mind does. Okay wait one more, I also couldn’t help but think that the lava rock kinda looked like a wrinkly babies butt. Now I am done.

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Automatic timer fail?? I think to think of this picture more as a behind the scenes shot, I think it is one of my favorite pictures from the day, oh and this one too because it makes me look super strong:)

Thorlakshofn, Iceland

When H finally got me to stop playing around we headed off to stop number three, which was the stop I was most looking forward to, the black sand beach!

Thorlakshofn, Iceland

This beach is a popular spot for surfers, I can only imagine the type of dry suit I would need to be out in that water, but if you are into surfing and want to cross surfing in Iceland off your list this is your spot.

As we were walking up to the beach we came upon two ladies who had finished surfing and where in mid change from their bathing suits to warm clothes. Slightly awkward moment that we tried to avoid, but what are you suppose to do when you are almost to where they are standing, turn your back and wait tell they are dressed?? Or just keep going and keep your eyes down??

Anyways, after that awkward encounter it was time for the beach.

An Icelandic kind of beach day #unlockingiceland

A photo posted by Kaelene (@unlockingkiki) on

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I love beach days!

The last stop, this was the one the Viking was waiting for, and the one I was most dreading. It was time to go into the cave…

Thorlakshofn, Iceland

I look excited here I know, but behind that smile I was so nervous. H, he loves finding caves and exploring under ground. Me, I prefer to keep my adventuress above ground. But I also suffer from a serious case of FOMO so into the cave I went.

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Yes, that was the enterance I went down, I still don’t know how H convinced me to do it. And that person sliding down, thats not me, but that was exactly how I got in there, I just went for it and sled in. I will admit, it was pretty fun:)

My main concern about going into the cave was that it would be dark and claustrophobic. Thankfully this was not the case and it was no problem exploring around the cave. In fact, they have even shot music videos inside of this cave, how cool is that!?

Thorlakshofn, IcelandThorlakshofn, IcelandThorlakshofn, IcelandI had so much fun the first time I had to give sledding another go!

Further back in the cave is a dark room that was covered in the most beautiful ice formations. I wish we could have really captured this area but to give you an idea.

Thorlakshofn, Iceland

We teamed up with some other photographers to try and light the area up enough for our pictures, it was somewhat successful but fun.

Thorlakshofn, Iceland

And then it was time to crawl out of the ice hole.

Thorlakshofn, Iceland

Ya I couldn’t look up when I was making this climb otherwise I would of freaked myself out.

And this was how I felt when I came outside of that cave.

Successful day adventuring around this winter wonderland ❄️❄️❄️#totalwhiteout #unlockingiceland

A photo posted by Kaelene (@unlockingkiki) on

Weekend adventures, they are just the best. I can’t wait for more adventures and the (hopefully) nicer weather to explore in. Is it summer yet?!

Question of the Day?
Do you prefer weekend adventures close to home or further away?

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  • Macy Volpe

    These photos are beautiful!! I can’t imagine steaming snow or lava rocks instead of sand, what cool experiences you are able to have. I think H did a great job, even though he kind of cheated. The cave is so cool, I don’t know if I could have went down there though. Glad your blog is back!

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Thanks so much Macy! It really is so crazy when I think about the unique things that surround me here in Iceland! I am so happy that those blog issues are done that was no fun!

      • Johanna Pool

        Hi! We are in Iceland and want to find that particular black sand beach near Thorlakshofn tomorrow!! How did you find it? – Johanna

        • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

          Hi! If you are in the town it is just past the golf course:) Have fun!

  • Silvia

    Whoa that cave is crazy! I think I would have been terrified climbing back up – you are braver than I am!

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      I still can’t believe I went down there!

  • Caitlin

    This looks absolutely amazing and your photos are gorgeous! Your blog posts always give me such an severe case of wanderlust!

    xx, Caitlin

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Thanks so much Caitlin! Iceland is so pretty it is the best model :)

  • Helene

    that cave is unreal!! i would be scared, but it’s so cool!!

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      I was so scared, but knew I couldn’t miss out seeing the inside and I am glad I did!

  • Mar

    That cave looks like a lot of fun! What a beautiful place.

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      It was so gorgeous!

  • Beth | PacesAndPlaces

    I get pretty freaked out and claustrophobic about caves too. And just like you, if my husband is going to do something, I end up doing it too, even if I don’t want to. I’m always glad I did it, but usually pretty freaked out ahead of time. :) For this weekend, we’re visiting Montreal, Canada doing mostly city-type stuff.

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      I was super worried I would get claustrophobic in the cave but thankfully it was okay and I am glad I didn’t skip it. It seems to be the things that you are so nervous about that end up being the best!

  • Sky @ Blonde Freedom

    The beach with the black lava rocks looks absolutely gorgeous!! I love, love, love your photos from there! Caves always make me a little nervous, but that one you went to looks pretty cool! I think it’s so neat that you and the Viking get out for weekend adventures!

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Thanks so much! It was such a gorgeous place, weekend adventures are so fun!

  • Mrs Suvi

    Wow, what an absolutely amazing adventure! I would love to see the black lava beach. I would go in the cave even though it does look scary. :D

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      It was such a fun adventure! Even better since I didn’t expect much from it!

  • Holly Hollyson

    That cave would be the best!! It looks like you had so much fun sliding into it, it must have been a bit scary but I would totally have had to give it a go!

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      It was so fun sliding down! When we first got there I was like no way I am not going in, I am so glad I did!

  • Lillian @ The Smalls Abroad

    We went in that same cave as well! It was May so less snow but the natural ice sculptures were beautiful – too bad pictures don’t do it justice. Would be cool to go the whole length of the cave in the summer time. Weekend trips are awesome! Itching to plan one once we settle our apartment move. Hope to make it to Lyon or Mont St Michel.

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Really! Was it beautiful! It is a shame that pictures don’t do it justice. Hope a weekend adventure happens for you soon!

  • Leah Kate

    Haha this is so cute! Love that you guys take so many adventures around Iceland, that cave is actually pretty cool! (No pun intended). And I snickered a little bit at the thought of people actually tanning in Iceland. Does that really happen??

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Ha surprisingly yes, the sun is really strong here I actually have to be careful or I will get sunburnt, something I didn’t think would happen here ha.

  • Alexandria

    Knowing me I would have broken an ankle going down that slope! I in know way would have been able to climb up back up! It’s so beautiful there. It’s great that you guys are able to have so many adventures!

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      I was so worried about that! And it was so slippery inside the cave! Thankfully we didn’t fall and it was so beautiful!

  • Kim Thiemann

    I loved Raufarhólshellir! I guide friend took me exploring on his free morning off at the end of September last year. We took a picture of the cave layout and then made it to the end of the cave. Such an adventure!

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      It is such a cool spot! I want to go back when the snow is gone to see it again!