as it is called in Icelandic, is actually a 13 km long valley carved into
the rhyolite landscape to the southeast from the Landmannalaugar
area. It is relatively
easily accessible late in summer or in autumn when the water level of
River Jokulkvisl has dropped.
are no words strong enough to describe the colourful landscape and the
rhyolite formations, which meet the eye in the valley and no pictures do
it justice. It simply has to
be experienced. River
Jokulkvisl is a collection of many cold spring and melt-water brooks from
the small glacier patches in the Torfa and Reykja Mountains.
It has been diverted with a dyke past the Landmannalaugar area to
prevent floods. This,
however, has created a new problem, because the ground water level has
risen. This river represented
the only real obstacle for the many travellers
through this area in the past until the bridge was built in
According to the legend, a farmer called Thordur from the farm
Klofi, fled to the valley during the period of the plague.
The legend says that the valley was well vegetated and wooded at
that time and surrounded by glaciers.
Nowadays it is devoid of vegetation and no signs of a former glory.
The farmers of the Land County grazed their sheep in the mountains
and never bothered to seek them in the valley when they were rounding up.
This cost them a few sheep every year and they claimed that the
outlaws and evil spirits of the valley had stolen them. This area was thoroughly explored in 1852 and no signs of any
dwellings of outlaws or other beings were discovered. Since then the farmers have included the valley in their
round up program and more sheep were accounted for every year.