Fjaðarárglúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Guide

Read Hotel Rangá's Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon guide for answers to frequently asked questions about this beautiful geological formation.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a stunning natural landmark in south Iceland. Moss-covered cliffs surround the canyon, which is also home to the Fjaðrá River. This canyon actually gained global attention several years ago when a certain music star featured it in his music video. Keep reading for Hotel Rangá’s Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon guide.

Aerial view of Fjaðarárglúfur Canyon surrounded by mossy cliffs that twist in and out around the canyon bottom.
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a beautiful place to visit in south Iceland.

Where is Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon?

The canyon is located about 2 hours or 154 km (95 miles) from Hotel Rangá. To get there, you will drive east on road 1 and then take a left at Road 206, Holtsvegur. After about 3 km (1.8 miles) you will reach the parking area. Should you need to stop for a snack or gas, the canyon is just 15 minutes from the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

View of Vík village including a small church with a red roof, many houses and a black sand beach with basalt rock formations.
Vík is a small, picturesque Icelandic village about 60 minutes from Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon.

How far is Fjaðrárgljúfur from Vík?

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is about 1 hour or 68 km (42 miles) from Vík.

What does Fjaðrárgljúfur mean in English?

The name Fjaðrárgljúfur consists of two words, ‘fjaðrá’ and ‘gljúfur.’ Fjaðrá means feather; it is also the name of the river running through the canyon. Fittingly, ‘gljúfur’ means canyon.

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How big is Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon?

The canyon is 2 km long (1.2 miles) and over 100 m deep (328 feet). Though it is incredibly majestic, Fjaðrárgljúfur is actually not the biggest canyon in Iceland. That award goes to Jökulsárgljúfur in Vatnajökull National Park at 25 km (15.5 miles) long and 100 m deep (328 feet).

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Guide: What can we expect to see?

You will find an easy walking path along the top of the canyon. Mossy cliffs drop down to the canyon floor where the Fjaðrá river flows peacefully. The canyon winds in and out–narrowing and widening–as do the cliffs themselves. At several points the cliffs extend out over the canyon itself to form narrow observation points. However, only a few of these spots are open for visitors due to safety reasons. At the end of your hike, you will also spot an observation deck overlooking a beautiful waterfall cascading from a cliffside to the river below.

How long does it take to hike Fjaðrárgljúfur?

There is an easy path along the top of Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon which begins at the parking lot. It only takes about an hour to walk the entire path. Visitors are also able to hike down to the canyon floor and walk beside the river itself. If you wish to try this, it is good to wear waterproof shoes because you might need to wade through the river in some places.

What is the history of Fjaðrárgljúfur?

The canyon was formed over many years due to erosion from a massive glacial river. What’s more, it is thought that the canyon was formed at the end of the last ice age.

Aerial shot of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon covered in snow during the wintertime.
If the road is passable, you can visit Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon during the winter months.

Can you visit Fjaðrárgljúfur during the winter?

Heavy snowfall can make the road to the canyon inaccessible. However, visitors can see the canyon during the winter months if the weather is good and the road is clear.

Was Fjaðrárgljúfur featured in any television shows?

Yes, the canyon was actually used to film scenes for Game of Thrones. You can see these scenes in seasons seven and eight of the popular show.

Which music star featured the canyon in his music video?

That would be Justin Bieber in his “I’ll Show You” music video. In fact, the video opens with Bieber walking out onto one of the mossy cliffs that extend out over the canyon. If you watch the whole video, you’ll spot some of south Iceland’s most beautiful locations including Seljalandsfoss, Dyrhólaey, Skógafoss, the Sólheimasandur plane wreck, Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach.

Rooms & Suites

At Hotel Rangá we offer 5 room categories, from our unique continental suites to cozy mountain view standard rooms. Learn more.

Is Fjaðrárgljúfur open to tourists?

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon gained a lot of notoriety after being featured in Justin Bieber’s music video and Game of Thrones. This led to a huge influx of visitors which sadly damaged some of the canyon’s vegetation. As a result, the canyon was closed to visitors for some time so that nature could recover. We are happy to report that the canyon is now open for visitors! Please respect the landscape by keeping to the path and not venturing into any closed off areas.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Guide: Is it worth visiting?

We certainly think Fjaðrárgljúfur is an excellent place to visit! The canyon’s stunning beauty and unique geology makes it well worth your time. Contact the Hotel Rangá reception today if you have any more questions about visiting Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.

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