A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

Hringsbjarg is 60 metre's tall towering cliff on the east side of the Tjörnes peninsula, with a spectacular view of the vast plains of the Kelduhverfi county, which divide the Tjörnes peninsula and Öxarfjörður fjord.   

During the puffin season in Iceland, this is an excellent location to watch this delightful bird with the colourful beak and orange feet.

An observation platform has been put up and some railings, but I remember standing on this cliff before the railings were put up, thinking about how courageous people were going so far onto the edge of the cliff. Now it is much safer for people to stop here. You will find parking spots and information signs just above the observation platform.

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

I love how varied this area is, the very rugged Jökulsárgljúfur with my favourite spot in Iceland, Ásbyrgi canyon, and a bit further east the raging glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum - the second longest river in Iceland, which creates the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss

This massive glacial river has its source in Vatnajökull glacier, the biggest glacier in Europe, and its delta can be seen by Kelduhverfi county and Öxarfjörður.  One cannot see this far on top of Hringsbjarg cliff, but make sure to check it out when visiting the Jökulsárgljúfur glacial canyon.  

I shot this video of Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacial river a couple of years ago on my way to Askja in the highlands of Iceland.

When you find yourself standing on top of Hringsbjarg cliff you will either have just visited Jökulsárgljúfur and Ásbyrgi and if you are anything like me, then you will still be in awe over the rugged beauty of this area. Or you will be coming from Húsavík and have yet to visit Jökulsárgljúfur - prepare to be amazed, there is a reason why I visit this area every year and it still manages to blow my mind every year :)

It is better to reach the view platform when driving from Húsavík, as it is located almost immediately as you drive up on Hringsbjarg, so I am sure that a lot of people coming from Àsbyrgi, and being in Iceland for the first time, miss this view platform.  The view from here is just amazing, especially on sunny days, so don't miss it. Do bring binoculars as this is an excellent location for bird watchers.

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

The swampy plains are rich in birdlife and from Hringsbjarg you will see lakes and lagoons and rivers. One of the lakes in Kelduhverfi is called Skjálftavatn or Lake Earthquake. It was named appropriately as this 9 km² lake got created in a big earthquake on the 13th of January 1976.  This earthquake is called the Kópasker Earthquake and measured a whopping 6.3 on the Richter Scale.  

From the cliff you will have a view of Melrakkaslétta plain - the Arctic fox plain, a less visited area of Iceland, but so worth the detour. The main attraction on Melrakkaslétta is the Arctic Henge, but there is so much more to see.  I love the peace and quiet of Melrakkaslétta and once spent 3 days there exploring the area.  

On Melrakkaslétta plain you will find one of the northernmost spots on the mainland of Iceland, Hraunhafnartangi, but I have added a special travel-blog on that beautiful spot, where I created my own Arctic Circle and stepped over it :)

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

On the very popular Diamond Circle tour, a stop is made at Hringsbjarg, where there are colonies of puffins during their nesting season in Iceland from April until mid-August. I joined this tour on the 4th of August so we managed to see a lot of puffins. I adore this beautiful bird with the colourful beak and seek it out on my travels in my country.  

The cute puffin is so popular among our foreign visitors that it has almost become the symbol of Iceland :)

The driftwood beach

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

By road 85, just as you descend from Hringsbjarg, or ascend on Hringsbjarg depending on the direction you are coming from, you will see a beach filled with driftwood. It is fun parking here and walking down to the beach. You can see the beach in my photo above with the backdrop of Hringsbjarg cliff. I love driftwood beaches and driftwood in Iceland was a valuable asset for Icelanders through the centuries, seeing that we don't have many forests in my country.

Driftwood was especially valuable for remote areas in Iceland, just imagine getting this present from the sea! The driftwood was used instead of coal and of course for making furniture and construction. The salt in the sea makes the wood very hard and good for that kind of stuff. It is now mainly used for making fences in Iceland.

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

The driftwood in the north of Iceland comes from Siberia and driftwood is much more common here in the north than in other areas of Iceland. I have also seen beaches in the Strandir area in the Westfjords, which are covered in driftwood.  It takes the driftwood ca 4-5 years to reach Iceland and on the way here it has been around the North Pole!

It is quite interesting walking on the beach being surrounded by driftwood, thinking about where it has come from and where it has been. The photos I have added are from my visit to the driftwood beach on a sunny day in August when the temperatures soared to 20 degrees C, which is not common in Iceland.  I was in 7th heaven being in this beautiful area on such a fantastic day.

The view-dial at Imbuþúfa in Kelduhverfi

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

You will find another lovely view-spot on Hringsbjarg, with a beautiful panoramic view of this vast area. This spot is called Imbuþúfa.  Not many people know about this view-spot, which has an even greater view than Hringsbjarg.

On top of the hill, which is 132 meters above sea level, you will find a view-dial, made by my father-in-law JakobHálfdanarson in 1980, and erected in 1981 by the Youth Association Leifur Heppni or Leif the Lucky. It is a copper-plate on a molten tube with the time of three hours (eyktir). The view-dial shows the names of the mountains in the surrounding area.

have a special interest in view-dials seeing that the instigator of the view-dials in Iceland was my husband's great-uncle and namesake, Jón Víðis, and my father-in-law took over the making of the view-dials after his uncle's death. So I seek them out wherever I travel in my country. They are so varied and beautiful, some are old and some are brand-new. And the view from them all, apart from the one in Jónasarlundur in Hörgárdalur, is excellent. 

The view from here is absolutely amazing, especially on a sunny day like when I visited and took the photos.

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

Imbuþúfa is haunted, just so you know. Its strange sounding name derives from a ghost haunting this area, Imba.  The story goes that Imba was travelling in this area during a snowstorm. She didn't know that she had reached the edge of the cliff and fell to her death.

Imba has haunted this area for the longest time and road construction people have felt her presence when their machinery started breaking down. Machinery breaking down is most often blamed on the elves - but seeing that this area is haunted, then Imba got the blame.

From road 85 you will find a gravel road just opposite the Hringsbjarg observation point leading to the top of Imbuþúfa. Follow the sign Kelduhverfi and then the sign hringsjá which is the Icelandic word for a view-dial.

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

Hringsbjarg is right in between Ásbyrgi and Húsavík in North-Iceland. From Húsavík follow road 85 heading north for 35 km. From Ásbyrgi, follow road 85 heading towards Húsavík for 30 km. To reach this area you can rent a car in Reykjavík or Akureyri and explore it by yourself - or join one of the guided tours of this area.

Here you can see the location on Hringsbjarg on the map. GPS: 66°08'17.1"N 16°56'57.0"W

A breathtaking View from Hringsbjarg Cliff on Tjörnes Peninsula in North-Iceland

Have a lovely time in North-Iceland :)

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