Picture by Xavi

Vesturdalur

Along the magnificent valley of Vesturdalur, in between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss, the highlights you must not miss are the bizarre basalt rocks at Hljóðaklettar. A series of vertical, horizontal and diagonal columns, formed by mysterious volcanic activity, standing over the ground and modeling rosettes, swirls, spirals and honeycombs, in turn give life to enormous and puzzling rock formations of distinctive shape. Taking the circular trail from the parking site and skirting the Jökulsá á Fjöllum you would run into all the most famous ones.

First is Kastali, the Castle, on the opposite bank of the river with its two main impressive outcrops looking as a stronghold, the greatest, and as a turret, the smallest. The next one you find is Tröllið, the Giant, only few steps forward, maybe guarding the Castle.

Picture by Ulrich Latzenhofer

Some hundred meters after Tröllið the path turns away from the river. In a few minutes you reach Kirkjan, the Church. Don’t expect any bell towers or gothic facade. Here you’ll simply find an almost perfectly symmetric arch as an entrance to an amazing cave that will make you ponder on how beautiful mother nature’s works can be, and in which you’ll be able to test your singing skills. Kirkjan, with the unique acoustic qualities of basaltic rocks, is the perfect location.

Besides these rock formations, Hljóðaklettar is plenty of more. Let your imagination run wild here and go beyond. Vesturdalur is not Hljóðaklettar only, though: Rauðhólar and its colourful craters, the two petrified trolls Karl and Kerling and their cave Tröllahellir and the lonely Eyjan shouldn’t be missed as well.

How to get here:
If you’re coming from Ásbyrgi follow the pretty rough road 862 direction South for 16km and you get to Hljóðaklettar.
If you’re coming from Dettifoss the road is n.862 again, still rough, but the direction is North. The distance you need to cover is 24km.

 

Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by Xavi
Mid text picture by Ulrich Latzenhofer

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