The Dverghamrar cliffs, also known as the Dwarf Cliffs, are a rock formation in South Iceland.
The cliffs form a canyon consisting of hexagonal basalt columns. The site has an attractive appearance and fascinating mythology that draws in visitors from all over the world. The best way to visit the Dwarf Cliffs is with a self-drive tour of South Iceland. By hiring a car, you can visit the cliffs and see the other attractions of Iceland’s South Coast.
The Dverghamrar Cliffs are smaller than some other cliffs and canyons in Iceland, but the unusual rock formations make it well worth a quick visit while you’re in the area. It’s an eye-catching place with great photo opportunities.
Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Jennifer Boyer. No edits made.
Why Visit the Dverghamrar Cliffs
The Dverghamrar Cliffs are an excellent place for a quick stop while driving around the Ring Road. There’s a free car park, so this is a perfect location to park up and stretch your legs if you need a break from driving.
You’ll see a beautiful horseshoe-shaped canyon made of hexagonal basalt columns when you arrive. There are stunning views of the nearby Foss a Sidu waterfall from the canyon, so make sure you bring a fully charged camera to take some pictures.
Basalt cliffs like these have hexagonal columns formed when hot lava rapidly cooled — usually because of glacial activity. When lava cools quickly, cracks begin to form, giving the rocks a beautiful geometric shape.
There are several other locations in Iceland with interesting basalt columns, such as the Gerduberg cliffs and the Kalfshamarsvik beach. However, there are fascinating myths and legends about the Dverghamrar Cliffs that set them apart.
Are There Dwarfs at the Dverghamrar Cliffs?
According to local myths and legends, dwarfs live within the Dverghamrar Cliffs — that’s why they’re known as the Dwarf Cliffs.
A famous story about the area is that in 1904, a young girl living in a nearby farmhouse was walking near the Dverghamrar columns when she heard a sound coming from the rocks. She thought she could hear somebody singing, so she tried to see where it was coming from.
She listened and looked but couldn’t find who was singing. She kept listening and realized that the song being sung was Fadir a himna haed, a Christian hymn about ‘Our Father in Heaven.’ Many believe that the unidentified singer was one of the dwarfs that live within the rocks.
There are several stories like this about the Dwarf Cliffs, and many locals still believe that dwarfs live and roam within the column formations. Icelandic people often have a deep reverence for legends and folklore. With that in mind, visitors are encouraged to treat the columns respectfully, so they don’t disturb the dwarfs.
If you’re interested in learning more about dwarfs and elves in Iceland, there are many attractions you can visit. The Alfaborg rock in East Iceland is the mythical home of the City of Elves, and the Petursey mountain in South Iceland is said to be home to both good and evil elves.
Where Are the Dverghamrar Cliffs?
Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Oscar Cuadrado Martinez. No edits made.
The Dverghamrar canyon is in South Iceland, just off the Ring Road. It’s about 165 miles (roughly 270 kilometers) from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, and 50 miles (around 83 kilometers) from Vik, the southernmost town of mainland Iceland.
The closest settlement to the cliffs is the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, known to locals as Klaustur. The village is 6 miles (around 10 kilometers) from the Dwarf Cliffs. The cliffs themselves are between the Foss a Sidu waterfall and Fossalar waterfall.
How To Get To the Dverghamrar Canyon
It’s easy to reach the Dverghamrar Cliffs because it’s close to the Ring Road. Drive southeast from Reykjavik along Route 1 and follow the road for 165 miles (about 270 kilometers) until you reach the cliffs.
There’s a small car park off the Ring Road, so you can leave your car here while you walk through the canyon and admire the cliffs.
Are there Other Attractions Near the Dwarf Cliffs?
The Dverghamrar rock formation is just a short distance from many other Ring Road attractions in South Iceland. Combining a stop-off at the canyon with a visit to some of Iceland’s best-known sights is easy.
For example, the Fjadrargljufur canyon is 12.5 miles (around 20 kilometers) from the Dwarf Cliffs. Other sights around the Klaustur area include the Stjornarfoss waterfall, the Systrafoss waterfall, and the Systravatn lake.
The Skaftafell nature reserve, part of the incredible Vatnajokull National Park, is around 35 miles (roughly 57 kilometers) east of the Dverghamrar Cliffs. It’s a fantastic place with cascading waterfalls, basalt columns, glaciers, and lush greenery.
From the nature reserve, it’s also easy to reach the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, home to the beautiful Diamond Beach. Take a boat tour of the lagoon, then walk along the beach’s black sand to see the enormous icebergs washed up on the shore.
Is There Accommodation Near the Dverghamrar Cliffs?
Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Thomas Landgren. No edits made.
With so much to do and see close to the Dverghamrar rock formations, it’s a good idea to find accommodation nearby. This will give you plenty of time to explore the area’s best attractions.
One good option is the Holaskjol Cabin. Its secluded location in the Icelandic countryside means guests can enjoy a peaceful and relaxing time away from crowds and noise. The property is around 45 miles (about 70 kilometers) from the Dverghamrar Cliffs.
If you’d like to be closer to amenities, a stay in Klaustur village could be a good option. Hotel Klaustur has modern conveniences, plus good facilities like a gym and a pool. Or, if you prefer the coziness of a guesthouse, Klausturhof Guesthouse could be a perfect choice. Both are approximately 8 miles (roughly 13 kilometers) from the cliffs.
Visitors who want to visit the Skaftafell nature reserve will be well placed to do so by staying at Hotel Skaftafell. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast, parking, and Wi-Fi for all guests.