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Today we will only have two destinations and lots of driving. The first destination will likely be one of the highlights of your Iceland trip and it requires a bit of fairly easy hiking. Stuðlagil Canyon is about a 2h drive from The Cliff Hotel, or 1h drive from Egilsstaðir.
If you have extra time in the morning, then you can explore Seyðisfjörður and its highlights like: blue Seydisfjordur Church; Tvisongur Sound Sculpture; Gufufoss Waterfall.
After Stuðlagil Canyon, we make our way to Djúpivogur for a quick stop before we continue our trip to Höfn.
For more detailed information incl. links to google maps locations, more reviews, website links, etc., check out our Iceland Highlights Purple Guide.
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Our Iceland Travel Guide has detailed information about the individual destinations, links to their locations in google maps, reviews and websites (if available).
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Stuðlagil Canyon was carved by the powerful Jökla River through a basalt rock column layer. When the hydroelectric plant Kárahnjúkavirkjun was built in 2009, the river fell 23-27ft (7-8m) to the level that you see today.
In 2017, Iceland’s former budget Airline WOW Air showed Stuðlagil Canyon in a brochure and that catapulted the canyon to stardom, which it well deserves.
Admission and parking are free.
There are two ways to access Stuðlagil Canyon.
From Ring Road 1, you turn onto route 923, which soon turns into a compacted dirt road with steep drop offs to the east in several areas. After 12 miles (19km) you will turn left towards the Grund farm. There are two gates that you need to drive through. Both gates may be closed, but that is no problem. Just go to the gate, open it, drive through and then close the gate after you. Soon you will come to the parking lot for Stuðlagil Canyon.
At the parking lot is the entrance to a metal staircase with lots of steps that leads you down to two viewing platforms. The viewing platforms are unfortunately placed in a way that only gives you a partial view of the basalt columns and the canyon.
This is by far the best way to experience Stuðlagil Canyon. Fortunately, access has recently been made a lot easier. The farmer who owns this land has collected enough funds to build a new parking lot that is much closer to the canyon and cuts you hike in half.
From Ring Road 1, you turn onto route 923, which soon turns into a compacted dirt road with steep drop offs to the east in several areas. After 9 miles (14km) you will turn left towards the Klaustursel farm. There is no need to park at the parking lot unless you want to hike for several hours. Instead, you pass the parking lot, pass the bridge and then follow the dirt road to the new parking lot. At the time of writing, google maps does not have it listed, so please use the coordinates above as an approximate location.
From the parking lot the easy hike to Stuðlagil Canyon is approx. 1.3 miles (2km). After a few minutes you will pass a nice waterfall called Stuðlafoss to your left.
Because the canyon is so spectacular, you will likely see lots of other people on this trail.
Even though the trail to the canyon is easy, we still recommend to wear good shoes are you will be walking over gravel and you need sturdy shoes in case you plan to walk into the canyon to catch some of the most spectacular views Stuðlagil Canyon has to offer.
Once you get to the canyon, you will have wonderful views into the canyon and onto the basalt columns. This whole area is undeveloped and there is no particular viewpoint. Just walk near the drop off of the cliffs to find a spot you like. Just make sure to stay away from the cliffs as the ground may be slippery or unstable close to the drop-off.
There is a narrow, steep, wet, slippery and unsecured short path down into the canyon. Taking it is entirely on your own risk and sturdy shoes are definitely recommended.
Once you get down into the canyon and walk over the basalt columns, you will get the most spectacular views of Stuðlagil Canyon. The basalt columns on either side of the canyon are up to 100ft (30m) tall.
Eggin í Gleðivík is the brainchild of Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson who, in 2009, created 34 giant granite eggs in honor of the 34 bird species that nest in this area. While significantly enlarged, each stone egg has the same shape, pattern, and colors of the egg from the individual bird species that is modeled after. All but one of the eggs are roughly of the same size. The egg of the red-throated diver, which is the official bird of Djúpivogur, however is the largest.
Next to each eggs is a sign that provides giving the bird’s name in Latin and Icelandic.
Admission and parking are free.
It needs to be said that Djúpivogur also makes a good restaurant and fuel stop, even though choice here is very limited. We dined in at the Við Voginn restaurant. English is spoken here, credit cards accepted and there is fee drinking water available on a table in the left hand side of the restaurant.
Djúpivogur is the origination point for a 2h ferry trip to Papey Island, an uninhabited island (since 1966) which is famous for its puffin population. It is said that the island was inhabited by monks for some time and the name Papey comes from “The Papar”, meaning “Irish Christian hermits” in ancient Icelandic. Archeological research found no evidence of ancient monks, but uncovered evidence of Norse settlements.
What you can find today is the oldest wooden church in Iceland (from 1807) and an automated weather station and lighthouse.
We did not take the Papey Island Ferry, but it is said that it departs daily at 1pm from Djúpivogur marina, which is located across the bay from Hótel Framtíð. All the reports we found are many years old and it is questionable if the ferry operation still exists.
On the internet, we found these phone numbers to call: 478 8119 / 862 4399 / 659 1469 and this email address: email@example.com
We only stayed here for one night. The hotel and our room were clean and our room had two single beds, a table and two chairs, and closet, wall mounted TV and a suitcase stand. The bathroom had a shower and again no sulfur smell. The view from the hotel on a large grassy area the bay was nice.
Breakfast was provided in a large dining room and it was similar to what was available in the other hotels we stayed in.
Arrive at KEF airport and drive to your hotel in Skagafjörður; optional stop at Icelandic Seal Center
Grjótagjá Cave; climb up Hverfell; Explore Dimmuborgir; hike up Vindbelgjarfjall; swim at Mývatn Nature Baths
Jökulsárlón, Diamond Beach, Fjallsárlón, Vatnajökull National Park at Skaftafell,
Scenic Green Lava Walk; Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon that was shown in the Justin Bieber “I'll Show You” video
Fly home (alternatively, you can explore the Highlands today and leave on Sunday)