Just 74 miles from Reykjavik, in the Southern Highlands of Iceland, is the beautiful Thjórsárdalur (Þjórsárdalur) Valley. Located amongst a number of cultural and natural landmarks, including the Stöng farmhouse and Háifoss waterfall, Thjórsárdalur offers some of Iceland’s best sightseeing opportunities.
What is there to see in Thjórsárdalur?
Prepare to be speechless when you experience the panoramic views of Háifoss and nearby waterfall, Granni. Formed by the river Fossá, Háifoss stands 122 meters high and is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world.
The Viking age house of Stöng
The farmhouse at Stöng was destroyed along with at least 20 other farms in 1104 when Mount Hekla erupted. The site was excavated in the late 1930s. A replica of the farmhouse, which was built in 1974, can be seen just a short walk from the original site.
The Búrfells forest
Though Iceland isn't necessarily known for its woodland areas, the Búrfells forest is a botanical delight. Complete with birch trees, wildflowers and various species of moss, this is a great place to experience nature at its finest.
The Búrfell hydroelectric power station
Constructed in the late 1960s, the Búrfell hydroelectric power station harnesses the power of the river Thjórsá to generate electricity. The water is diverted through tunnels, into powerhouse turbines and back into the river approximately 2km downstream.
What activities can I do in Thjorsardalur?
Bathe in the hot springs
The hot springs in Thjorsardalur can be found a short distance from Háifoss. Both hot and cold water flows freely from the springs, making the temperature fairly pleasant (but it can be quite hot at the source). There is a car park located approximately 40-minutes walking distance from the springs. The facilities here are minimal but there are a few division screens available, which offer some privacy for changing.
Hiking in Gjáin
If you want to wander from the beaten path and explore the mystical trails of Thjorsardalur, a visit to the Gjáin valley is a must. Take a moment to admire the breathtaking waterfall which drops into the deep gorge of the valley.
The sheer cliffs in Thjorsaradalur are unlike any other. It is important to remember that these cliffs are extremely dangerous, and that rock climbing here should only be considered by experienced rock climbers under the supervision of trained professionals.
Visit Mount Hekla
Hekla is the most active volcano in Iceland, with a frequent history of eruptions that have resulted in extensive lava flows. You can hike almost all the way to the summit, a trail which takes approximately 3 to 4 hours. The volcano is highly monitored by geologists who monitor for any changes which may indicate an eruption is about to begin.
Whilst there are many beautiful valleys in Iceland, Thjorsardalur is one of the most fascinating and is well worthy of a day trip during your time on the island. If you want to spend a day exploring the Thjorsardalur Valley, making your own stops in your own time, why not hire a car from Reykjavik Rent a Car?