Walking through Dritvik cove connects you with Iceland’s past, when this area was a bustling fishing harbor. Dritvik cove is actually part of Djupalonssandur beach, so you can enjoy two beautiful black sand beaches in one visit. 

Dritvik used to be an important fishing center in the years 1650-1950, with fishermen and fisherwomen from all over the country working seasonally. About 400 people lived here. Between the middle of February and late May, Dritvik was a particularly active place.

The fishermen built their huts by stacking stones and covering them with fabric, making it easy to remove after each season.  Today you can still see ruins from these prosperous days.

Dritvik’s First Settler: Half-Man, Half-Troll

According to the the Icelandic saga Bardarsaga Snaefellsas, the first settler in Dritvik was Bardar Snaefellsas, a magical being who was half-human and half-troll.  Several places in the cove refer to him, including the spectacular ship-shaped rock, Bardarskip.  Another place is the rock formation Trollakirkja, The Troll’s Church. Bardur and his family had sailed from Norway to Iceland. Just after they landed, they gave thanks to the pagan gods in a cave at the Trollakirkja rock.

Eventually,  Bardur and his family moved to a cave in up on Snaefellsj0kull glacier.  Bardur is supposed to still live there, watching over and protecting Snaefellsnes Peninsula. You can see his statue at Arnarstapi.

How to get to Dritvik cove?

The cove is only a short distance from the main road in Snaefellsjokull National Park. You can leave your car at the parking lot above Djupalonssandur. From there, it is a 1 km hike west to the cove. This is a very beautiful hike with its views of the sea, beach and lava formations, so don’t forget your camera!