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 the Mogarfoss 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 Fjadragljufur is today and erosion did the work.
- It is part of the Katla Geopark
- It is at the edge of the giant Eldhraun lava field
About the Name Fjadragljufur
Gljufur means canyon and Fjadra means feather river. Therefore, it is the Feather River Canyon.
How do you pronounce Fjadragljufur
If you want to talk to locals without them laughing, check out how the name is pronounced: [ˈfjaːðraurˌkljuːvʏr̥] - listen to it 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:
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How to get to Fjadrargljufur
- You need to rent your own car to reach the canyon
- No public transportation
- 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.
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Visiting the Feather canyon
- Accès gratuit
- Clear paths take you along the edge of the canyon.
- When the water is low you can also walk through the bed of the canyon, but be very cautious
- Amenities: toilets at the carpark, nothing later
- To avoid the crowds, visit early morning or late afternoon
Best time to visit
- Because of the Justin Bieber video, the canyon is now very popular
- Visit early morning or late afternoon
- The canyon is oriented North to South - the walk path is on the East side. Best light inside in the morning.
How long to visit Fjadargljufur?
- First views after only 5 min of walking
- The longer path leads you to a waterfall. It is a 1h return walk
- Allow at least 1 hour but if you go all the way to the waterfall I recommend 1h30 to include photo time.
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 FjadrargljufurYou can stay in Vik only 1h away (see the best rated accommodations in Vik)
or choose something closer to Nature such as:
Feather canyon 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.
The return hike takes 1h.
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 - Bieber, Game of Thrones and Winter
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
- The Golden Circle - read article
- The best things to do on the Snaefellsnes peninsula - read article
- The best things to do in North Iceland - read article
- Itinerary suggestions - read article
Planning a trip to Iceland?
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