The monumentally wide Ásbyrgi Canyon is one of the most beautiful and interesting places in eastern Iceland. Due to the fact that it doesn't lie on the main Ring Road, it's not as well visited, which means you'll often be all alone here.

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A wide valley with a 100-metre cliff

Ásbyrgi Canyon measures more than 1km at its widest point, so at 3.5km long it looks more like a vast plain than a canyon at first glance. A large part of the canyon is covered by birch forest, which is very rare in Iceland.

The valley was formed in a matter of days by massive floods from the sudden melting of the Vatnajökull glacier caused by volcanic eruptions around 10 000 years ago.

At the very edge of the valley you will come to a 100-metre high almost perpendicular cliff with a small lake. The end of the canyon is horseshoe-shaped, giving rise to an alternative legend for the creation of Ásbyrgi. According to this legend, the whole valley is just the imprint of the horseshoe of the eight-legged horse of the god Odin.

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How to get there?

The edge of Ásbyrgi lies just off tarmac road 85 in the northernmost parts of Iceland, about 155 km from the city of Akureyri. However, it is possible to drive virtually all the way into the interior of the canyon on the dusty but well-maintained road 861.

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