Ásbyrgi

North, Iceland
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Location

Ásbyrgi is a unique and stunning natural feature, located in northern Iceland. It is a horseshoe-shaped canyon, carved by a big flood an aeon ago by the river Jökulsá. The canyon is approximately 3.5 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide, with towering cliffs that reach heights of up to 100 meters. A notable feature of Ásbyrgi is the strikingly enormous rock formation called Eyja or “Island”. This remarkable pillar of rock rises from the canyon floor, resembling an island amidst the surrounding cliffs and the lush vegetation on the ground floor. Ásbyrgi is culturally significant in Iceland as it was believed to be a hoofprint of Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse in Nordic mythology. The unique geological landscape of Ásbyrgi is truly one of a kind in Iceland, and the location is very popular with tourists and locals alike due to its beauty and its good weather. The cliffs often shelter visitors from the wind, making it a perfect spot for filming.

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  • Climate

    Climate

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  • Lighting conditions

    Lighting conditions

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  • Accessibility, services and permits

    Accessibility, services and permits

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  • Visitors and risk factors

    Visitors and risk factors

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Accessibility

There is a one lane road that leads 3.7 kilometers to the bottom of the canyon. There are a few single lane offshoots on the way. There are several hiking trails within the canyon and many viewpoints to choose from.
Public transportation unavailable
There is no public transportation available in this area
Car recommended
Unchallenging terrain accessible by car
Good phone coverage
Generally good phone coverage without any major interruptions
Not needed
Guide is not needed

Services nearby

Nearest hospital is in Húsavík, 62 kilometres away. Around this area are many Airbnbs and guesthouses. Within 100 kilometres radius, there are convenience stores, a gas station, restaurants and hotels and other services.
Accommodation
< 30 km
Gas station
< 50 km
Hospital or emergency room
More than 50 km away
Parking
< 1 km
Restaurants
< 50 km
Shopping
< 50 km

Permits

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This area needs a two-way permit.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government
Ásbyrgi is a part of Vatnajökull National Park.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government
Ásbyrgi is a nature reserve and protected area.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government

Basecamp and facilities

There are several options for basecamps at Ásbyrgi. At the entrance is a large visitors centre with a large parking lot. A few hundred meters inside the canyon, at the start of it, lies a very large camping area with basic facilities and could be used as basecamp. At the bottom of the canyon is a medium size parking lot with small facilities. Phone coverage is good.

Risk factors

The cliffs are vertical, very high and unstable. Going near the cliffs is not advised. This area is a nature reserve with a park ranger on site that needs to be contacted and consulted on what you bring into Ásbyrgi. Hiking up to Eyja can be strenuous and the cliffs are dangerous.

Visitors

The area lies on the Diamond Circle and is very popular with tourists and locals. Ásbyrgi is one of Iceland’s most popular campsites, due to its shelter from wind and usually good weather. There is a national park ranger on site.

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