The shape of the Fjadrargljufur Canyon Iceland is as strange and tortuous as its name.
An easy path allows you to walk along its 2km all the way to a waterfall. It is a favorite for photographers because of all of its angles.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit with tips, map, hike and photos
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Why visit the Fjadrargljufur Canyon in Iceland ?
Located is South Iceland, Fjadrargljufur (or Fjadra Canyon) is a 100 m deep and about 2 kilometres long serpentine canyon with the Fjaðrá river flowing through it.
Its Icelandic spelling is Fjaðrárgljúfur.
It is a favorite for photographers because of the magnificent work of erosion by the river.
It is a favorite for most tourists in Iceland, but for me, it did not make it to my top 10 landscapes in Iceland.
Fjadrargljufur geology - how was it formed
- It is believed the canyon formed at the end of the last Ice Age, about 9000 years ago.
- The bedrock is mostly patagonite from cold periods of the Ice Age and it thought to be 2 million years old.
- When the glacier retreated a lake formed in the valley behind a hard resistant rock. The runoff from the lake flowed to where Fjadragljufu is today and erosion did the work.
- It is part of the Katla Geopark
About the Name Fjadragljufur + Pronunciation
Gljufur means canyon and Fjadra means feather river. Therefore, it is the Feather River Canyon.
If you want to talk to locals without them laughing, check out how the name is pronounced: [ˈfjaːðraurˌkljuːvʏr̥] - click here.
More photos after the planning tips.
PLANNING TIPS & Map - Fjadrargljufur Iceland
Where is the Canyon of Fjadrargljufur? Map and Location
- Located a short drive from Road 1 on the South Coast, East of Vik
- Vik to Fjadrargljufur = 1h
- Reykjavik to Fjadrargljufur = 3h15 drive
- Driving West on the Ring road, it is 6 km from the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
- Below is a map to help you get oriented and locate the canyon:
How to get to Fjadrargljufur
- You need to rent your own car to reach the canyon (check out my guide about car rental in Iceland)
- Turn North on Route 206 for approximately 2.3 km (gravel road). It is clearly indicated.
- Pass the intersection, continue straight on; there is a parking area on the right before the bridge.
This location is included (with GPS coordinates, map of region and planning info) in my travel guide eBook that helps you easily plan your Iceland road trip:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
Visiting the Feather canyon
- Accès gratuit
- First views after only 5min of walking
- Prévoir au moins 1h mais si vous allez jusqu'à la cascade je recommande 1h30 pour include le temps photos.
- Clear paths take you along the edge of the canyon.
- The longer path leads you to a waterfall. It is a 1h return walk
- When the water is low you can also walk through the bed of the canyon, but be very cautious
- Amenities: toilets at the carpark
- To avoid the crowds, visit Early morning or late afternoon
Is Fjadrargljufur closed? or open?
The Environmental agency may decide to close the Fjadrargljufur trail for several months at a time (it happened in 2019). It is because the vegetation is suffering due to the weather and increase in tourism.
Please, be very respectful if there is a sign not to enter the area.
Accommodations near Fjadrargljufur
- You can stay in Vik only 1h away (see the best rated accommodations in Vik) or choose something closer to Nature such as
- The Hunkubakkar Guesthouse with its cute cottages - Check out photos and availabilities
- The adventure Hotel Geirland also with individual cottages - Check out photos and availabilities
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
- Option 1 - Local experts - Iceland has a lot of specificities and the offerings of local companies are adapted - you can compare cars and prices of quality local brands on this expert Icelandic website
- Option 2 - International Brands - compare offers on RentalCars.com
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Canyon of Fjadrargljufur and Fjadra River
Here are some pictures from the beginning of the path going along the edge. It is a stunning place and my pictures don't do it justice. Sorry.
Here is the view when look back towards the sea. You can see the lava field in the distance:
Below is the view when looking towards the canyon. Its highest depths is 100m.
And below you can see one of the "feathers" inside the canyon.
Sometimes they get really close to each others, making the canyon quite narrow.
Fjadrargljufur Hike to Mögárfoss waterfall
The Fjadragljufur Hike
The trail takes you all the way along the canyon sometimes called the 'feather river canyon'.
It is as long as the canyon itself - 2km.
It is an easy walk with the canyon on one side and grass on the other.
And at the end of the hike, you can go down a to an observation platform.
From there you can see a waterfall inside the "feathers". It is Mogarfoss.
This is where the Möga river meets the Fjadra river.
I love how the waterfall swings several time, looking like a feather as well.
And you can also enjoy a view towards the entrance where you came from, at the same platform:
The last waterfall Fjadrarfoss is not accessible.
Other things to know
The Bieber canyon
Tourism has also increased to the canyon because it was featured in one of the Justin Bieber videos.
Game of Thrones
Many Game of Thrones scenes have been shot in Iceland.
And the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is a perfect scenery for it. You can spot it during a scene where dragons are flying in the canyon (in Winter with the snow).
Fjadrargljufur in Winter
It is rarely accessible during Winter because the road will be blocked by snow.
However if you see the road open, this is a beautiful sight.
Want to see other highlights nearby?
- The famous Jokulsarlon lagoon and its iceberg - read article
- Diamond beach with icebergs on black sand - read article
- Fjallsarlon Glacial Lagoon, lesser know but as impressive - read article
- The Svartifoss waterfall and its basalt columns - read article
- The impressive waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss (read article) and Skogafoss (read article)
- Or read my complete article about South Iceland
Planning a trip to Iceland?
Check out my travel guide to help you plan:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
And keep track of your own trip!
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