Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in Southern Iceland is a remote valley through which the winding river Fjaora flows. The valley was formed by millions of years of erosion and is now one of the most unique locations in Iceland for hiking and sightseeing in the wilderness.
The canyon itself is over 100 meters deep and around 2 km long. Characterized by twisting falls, sheer cliffs and impressive rock formations, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is a genuinely iconic Icelandic landmark that is too often overlooked by visitors to the island. The other-worldly feeling of Fjaðrárgljúfur, as you stand looking out across the mythical scenery with the river flowing through the canyon beneath you, is hard to describe. So, to really understand the awe-inspiring beauty of Fjaðrárgljúfur and Southern Iceland’s Golden Circle you’ll have to visit to see it for yourself.
How Do You Get To Fjaðrárgljúfur, Iceland?
The best way to reach the remote canyon of Fjaðrárgljúfur is to fly into the island’s main airport, Keflavik International Airport. Located around 30 miles from central Reykjavik, it takes around 45 minutes to drive from the international airport to a hotel in town.
Once you’ve settled into your hotel in Reykjavik, there are two main ways to travel onwards to the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. Firstly, you can rent a car and drive yourself. The drive from Reykjavik is around 250 km and takes just over 3 hours. As long as you have a SatNav or Google Maps you’ll have no problems finding your way to the free visitor car park beside the canyon. Just remember, if you’re planning to visit during the winter you may need a 4×4 vehicle, preferably with snow tires, because the road can be quite dangerous in the winter weather.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to drive yourself you can join a group tour that sets off from Reykjavík. There are plenty of tour options to choose from including single-day tours and multi-day tours during which you’ll visit other attractions and beauty spots around the southern coast of the island.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Fjaðrárgljúfur, Iceland?
The Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon looks completely different as the seasons change through the year. In the winter it’s snow-covered and has an ethereal atmosphere whereas, during the warmer summer months, you can see the green grass and moss all around you. It can be a little dangerous though during the winter because the paths are icy and it’s all too easy to slip or fall. However, if you have proper crampons and sturdy hiking boots, you should be fine even in the snowiest conditions.
Winter temperatures in Southern Iceland tend to hover around 0 Degrees Celsius but can feel considerably colder than that when you take into account the wind chill factor. During the summer, temperatures range from as low as 5 Degrees Celsius right up to 20 or 25 Degrees Celsius during the day. This means that unless you really want to see the canyon in the snow it’s much more pleasant and enjoyable to visit Fjaðrárgljúfur in the summer, between June and the end of August.
What Is There To Do At Fjaðrárgljúfur?
Explore The Hiking Trails Of Fjaðrárgljúfur.
The main reason people visit Fjaðrárgljúfur is to hike along the trails that weave through the spectacular canyon and the surrounding areas. When you get to the canyon, you can either choose to walk along the bottom, beside the river, or take the top route which leads you along the cliffs.
There are several main routes and although it may be tempting you should stay on the trails for your own safety. You may also find that some of the trails around the canyon have been roped off because they have become unstable and could collapse into the canyon below if you were to walk on them!
However, as long as you stay on the main trails and stay back from the cliff edges it’s absolutely safe to hike around the canyon. The views are incredible and you’ll really feel as though you’ve been transported into the distant past of Nordic myths and legends.
If you’ve driven to the canyon then you can park your vehicle in the car park for free. There are also free public toilets beside the car park for your convenience. Before you visit the canyon you should plan ahead and make sure to bring a few essential items with you.
For example, ensure you have a good weatherproof jacket and trousers, sturdy hiking boots, plenty of bottled water and a little bit of food and snacks to help keep your energy levels up on the trail. Lastly, if you’re taking your camera or phone with you don’t forget to bring a waterproof bag to keep them in, just in case it rains while you’re out at the canyon.
Join A 3 Day Guided Tour Of The Golden Circle, Fjaðrárgljúfur, Ice Cave And Jokulsarlon.
A great way to see the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon as well as all the main attractions and beauty spots in Iceland’s Golden Circle is to join a 3 day tour that departs from Reykjavik. During the trip, you’ll visit the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon itself as well as the famous Skógafoss waterfalls, the enchanting Ice Cave, Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon and Seljalandsfoss, as well as countless viewpoints along the way.
Your experienced guide will show you all the best photo opportunities, explain the local history and point out the most interesting features of the ever-changing landscape of Southern Iceland. The tour includes 2 nights of accommodation and a lovely breakfast each morning. The luxury minibus has onboard WiFi and you’ll be picked up and dropped off at your hotel in Reykjavik at the start and finish.
You can find out more about the 3 Day Tour of the Golden Circle or reserve your place, here.
Stay At The Eco Urban Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel In Reykjavik.
There are many top quality hotels in Iceland’s capital city but the Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel really stands out as a fantastic option for visitors to the island. With a funky bohemian chic decor, this urban refuge in the heart of downtown Reykjavik is your perfect home-from-home with excellent facilities including a gym and fitness center, an in-house restaurant and free parking.
With 65 plush rooms, ranging from a standard suite to executive superior suites, the rooms are well equipped with 4 poster beds, free WiFi, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a spacious bathroom with a shower and plenty of storage space. The hotel is ideally located, just off the main shopping street in the city, so there are numerous local restaurants, cafes, designer shops and historic attractions right on your doorstep.
It’s easy to make a day trip to visit Fjaðrárgljúfur or anywhere else in the region using the Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel as your base. The hotel has an in-house tour desk where you can get advice and arrange a trip to Fjaðrárgljúfur or anywhere else in Iceland. The hotel’s staff can also assist you with ongoing travel arrangements, book tickets for you at events or reserve you a table at a nearby restaurant.
You can book a room or find out more about the Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel, here.
Sail And Dine In Style At The Kopar Restaurant.
The Kopar restaurant is one of the most incredible establishments in Reykjavik that has astounding views of the old harbor and Esja mountain from its main dining room. The restaurant serves a diverse range of local cuisine that is sourced from both the land and the sea. Some of the menu highlights include the rock crab soup, the catch of the day seafood and the delicious Daim cheesecake with sorbet.
For a really special experience then you can join the Kopar restaurant’s special yacht cruise around the harbor before being treated to a full 3 course meal afterward! The luxury evening experience starts out with a 45-minute sail yacht around the harbor and is followed by a dinner in the restaurant that includes an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. You can learn more about this unique dining experience here.