Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

Þakgil and Remundargil canyons are two hidden gems in South-Iceland. The road to these beautiful canyons will take you through an amazing terrain.

The drive up to Þakgil is some 15 km and it takes 30 minutes to drive up to the canyon without stopping. We made several stops on the way, amongst them one stop to visit Stórhellir cave, which is a relatively large cave by the road.

The cave cannot be seen from the road and we actually parked the car on top of the cave! In this cave, dances were held for the people living in the vicinity. 

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

The sandstone takes on all kinds of forms and shapes here. One of them is in the shape of a face of a troll. I think it looked like Grýla, the mother of the Yule Lads here in Iceland.

It is a troll of some sort and it is called "Tótanef" or the Nose of Tóti, named after a man who lived in Vík. It is located in Lambaskörð in Hólabrekkuheiðar heaths.

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland
There were different caves and formations on the way in Lambaskörð and such beautiful landscape, barren, but so ruggedly beautiful.

The road is a gravel road, but suitable for all cars. This road used to be part of the main road until 1955, when a glacial burst in the river Múlakvísl cut off the bridge on the main road. 

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

You can stop at a viewpoint further up the road with a beautiful view of the river Múlakvísl and the south coast. The river Múlakvísl is a glacial river originating in Höfðabrekkujökull glacier. In the distance, you can see Hjörleifshöfði cape standing alone on the sand plains.

A little further up we reached our destination, Þakgil canyon. 

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland
Now we are very close to Katlaglacier and volcano, which is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Iceland - and due to erupt for some years now!

Þakgil is located between Mýrdalsjökull glacier and the vast sands of Mýrdalssandur in Höfðabrekkuafréttur.  All of a sudden this beautiful canyon opened up, more like a green valley than a canyon though. 

I have always found this name to be a little mysterious "Þakgil" or the Roof Canyon. I have heard that it is called by this name as the weather is pleasant there, a shelter from the constant wind in my country.

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

And it sure looks like an oasis, a beautiful green valley surrounded by strangely formed spiky mountains. The mountains are actually covered in velvety green moss as well, which is typical for such oases as Þakgil.

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

There is a camping site in Þakgil, where one can camp or rent a small pine cottage. A short hike from the camping site will take you up to a lovely little waterfall with a small lagoon. The creek from the waterfall trickles down by the camping site.

Here you can also find a tiny hydroelectric plant - from which Þakgil's camping site gets its electricity.

The common dining area for the camping site is located in a cave with tables and benches, a fireplace and a barbecue. Candle holders are fastened to the walls so the cave can be lit up at night. 

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

The camping site is open from June 1st until 31st of August, so it rarely gets dark at night in June and July, but it starts getting dark late in August, so by then it must be so romantic sitting inside the cave with the candles lit, the fireplace lit and maybe a guitar playing :)

Sometimes groups of people visit Þakgil on a day-trip and have lunch inside the cave. We always stay in a tiny summer cottage close to Vík so we didn't stay for the night in Þakgil.  We had lunch in the cave and explored the two canyons for the major part of the day.

The camping site owners, Helga and Ágúst, created this small haven inside the cave. I think this is a wonderful idea. There has only been a camping site here in Þakgil from 2000 and in 2007 the pine cottages were brought to Þakgil. Here is a link to the news article with a photo of the cottages being brought on the narrow gravel road to Þakgil. It is in Icelandic only, but the picture needs no words.

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-IcelandThe surroundings here are out of this world, so mystical. Its neighbouring canyon, Remundargil canyon, is even more majestic, so do pay it a visit as well. It is only a short distance away from Þakgil canyon.

Remundargil canyon

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

Remundargil canyon is one of the ruggedly beautiful hidden treasures in Iceland and a real gem together with its neighbouring canyon, Þakgil. This canyon looks like something out of the Game of Thrones series!

A beautiful hike takes you to the bottom of the canyon. It is possible to drive a bit into the canyon, but I would recommend that you leave your car in the parking lot and don't go any further by car. It is only a gravel parking lot, nothing fancy, as here we are off the beaten path in Iceland. 

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland
The hike to the waterfall takes an hour back and forth (30 minutes each way) and it is so worth it. The surroundings here are breathtaking, so majestic and so quiet. We met 2 guys in the canyon and felt alone in the world after they left.  So totally one with nature. I did not want to leave.

The canyon is deep with tall cliff faces. It gets narrower as we draw closer to the waterfall, Remundargilsfoss waterfall. The waterfall is tall but not very wide, so it is more of a cute waterfall, not a forceful one.

Sitting by this waterfall filled me with such serenity and I felt ever so close to nature with the canyon enveloping me. We were in luck that the sun was out and there was a beautiful rainbow by the waterfall.

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland
When the dreaded Katla volcano erupted in 1918 part of the massive glacial outburst flood flooded through Remundargil canyon. That must have changed the surroundings a bit, I believe, as these floods are massive and extremely forceful.  

It made me shudder thinking about this forceful flood less than a hundred years ago in this peaceful canyon.

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland
The origin of the name of the canyon, Remundargil, is not certain. The only Remundur known to us Icelanders comes from the "Remundar saga keisarason" or the Saga of Remundur the son of the Emperor, dating back to the 14th century.  The canyon might be named after him.

The hike is easy, but there are some rocks on the way across which we had to climb. That is the only difficult part of the hike, so to speak, and it is so worth it when you reach the end of the canyon and sit by the lovely waterfall, enjoying nature and its forces. Just be careful of the falling rocks.  

I wasn't aware of this when I visited the waterfall, but another guided pointed this out to me later on.

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

Þakgil is located 206 km away from the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavík. To reach this area coming from Reykjavík drive east on ring-road 1 until you reach the village Vík, which is 187 km away from Reykjavík. Turn left on road 214 five km east of Vík and drive for 15 km until you reach Þakgil. The road is a gravel road. 

Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland

To reach this area you can either rent a car in Reykjavík for a day or two or check out these self-drive tours:  

Also, check out the most popular guided tours of the South Coast of Iceland.

Have a lovely time visiting the canyons :)

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