Yoda Cave is a natural wonder nestled in the heart of black sands and lava fields along Iceland’s South Coast.
There are several opportunities to visit Yoda cave and the surrounding natural wonders, like this Semi-Private Caving Tour on the South Coast or as an added stop on this 3-Day Private Photo Tour. For those who prefer to travel at their own pace, a 3-Day Summer Self-Drive Tour might be a better option.
Yoda Cave is open all year round and offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. During the summer, the cave is an outstanding hiking destination that offers scenic views of the surrounding lava fields and Myrdalssandur black sands.
About Yoda Cave
Yoda Cave is a unique geological formation in Iceland’s South Coast region. Its proximity to popular attractions, from Reynisfjara black sand beach to Katla volcano, makes it an ideal destination for tourists and travelers.
The original name of the Yoda Cave is actually "Gýgjagjá" in Icelandic, though it's also sometimes referred to as the Hjorleifshofdi cave.
Features of Hjorleifshofdi Cave
The cave is nestled on a tall mountain, Hjorleifshofdi, which stands at 725 feet (221 meters). The mountain, which is more of a cape, stands out in the black sandplains of Myrdalssandur because of its lush vegetation.
The cave looks grand on the south side of Mount Hjorleifshofdi that faces the sea. Before reaching the cave, travelers will marvel over the contrasting landscape of black sands and plains of vegetation, from lupines to mosses.
The cave’s entrance is easily identifiable, although it is dwarfed by the large size of the mountain slopes. This entrance is the very reason why the cave has recently gained popularity.
According to Icelanders and tourists, the cave’s mouth resembles the silhouette of the fictional character Yoda from Star Wars, hence the popular name of the cave. While this may not be as apparent from the outside, stepping inside will give a different perspective.
Looking towards the front of the cave, you will see the silhouette of Yoda against the beautiful Icelandic sky.
Whether or not you’re familiar with Yoda Cave’s namesake, the attraction is a beautiful natural site worthy of your visit.
Today, the Hjorleifshofdi cave is a popular tourist destination for families, hikers, and nature lovers.
How Tourists Experience Yoda Cave
There are many reasons why travelers are attracted to the South Coast cave. Two of the most important reasons include its relation to the blockbuster film Star Wars and its closeness to the historic burial site of Hjorleifur Hrodmarsson.
Yoda Cave and Star Wars
Many tourists visiting the Yoda cave are fans of the movie franchise created by George Lucas. Not only does the cave’s entrance resemble the silhouette of the legendary Jedi Master character, but it was also a vital shooting location for the film.
This cave in Hjorleifshofdi mountain was featured in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the film’s opening scene. You might recognize the area as Jyn Erso’s hiding spot on the planet Lah’mu.
Likewise, the surrounding plains of black sands and green grasses made it to the film. The stunning shots of the shiny black stormtroopers roaming around were in the same area.
Hiking to Hjorleifur’s Burial Site
Hjorleifshofdi cape holds an exceptional place in the history of the land of fire and ice. It serves as the burial ground for Hjorleifur Hrodmarsson, one of the first settlers of Iceland.
He arrived with his brother-in-law, Ingolfur, around 874 AD and lived in Iceland for three years before being killed by his slaves. Ingolfur, living in Reykjavík, learned of his brother’s death and sought revenge.
He hunted down and killed these slaves on what is now the Westman Islands.
Hjorleifur’s legacy lives on in Icelandic culture and history until today.
After visiting the Yoda Cave, tourists may want to see the burial site to experience more Icelandic adventure. You’ll need to hike for nearly an hour to reach the burial site.
The hike is moderately challenging because of the terrain and steep sections, and it can be a bit windy near the top. However, the trail is marked, so you know where to go and how to locate the burial site.
When you reach the site, you’ll see the historic site of Hjorleifur’s grave. The breathtaking views on top, including black sand beaches and nearby glaciers, are well worth the hike.
How To Get To Yoda Cave
Yoda cave, which is 124 miles (200 kilometers) from Reykjavik, is pretty easy to visit.
You will need a vehicle and short trekking to get to the Yoda cave. Some road parts can be challenging and bumpy, so a 4x4 vehicle is the best option.
A small parking lot is not too far from the cave for visitors. From the parking space, you will hike briefly across plains of volcanic sands and grasses before reaching the cave.
Despite its growing popularity, the cave isn’t overcrowded since there are a lot of attractions to explore in the area.
For a more seamless cave experience, you may join private and self-drive tours on the South Coast like this Cuztomizable Super Jeep Tour and Private South Coast Day Tour. If the cave isn’t on the itinerary, you may still include it as an added stop.
Other Attractions to Visit on the South Coast
While the Yoda Cave is one of the main attractions in the area, there are many other activities and sites in South Iceland that you can add to your list of things to visit.
Vík i Myrdal
Vík i Myrdal is a small village on the island’s southern coast, only nine miles (15 kilometers) away from the cave. This village is best known for its black sand beaches, some of the most beautiful in the land of fire and ice.
Vík is a popular tourist destination, and visitors come from around the world to experience its unique natural beauty. In recent years, the village has become increasingly popular with filmmakers and photographers, who come to capture its stunning landscapes.
It is also the ideal pit stop for tours on the South Coast because of its excellent amenities, shops, and hotels. Travelers have a great selection of accommodations, from Vik Cottages, Vik Apartments, and Hotel Vik i Myrdal.
West of Vik is a stretch of black sand beach worth a stop, especially for Game of Thrones fans who may recognize the landscape from the television show. Reynisfjara beach is just 15 miles (25 kilometers) from Yoda Cave.
The beach is an ideal photo spot because of its massive basalt columns where the Atlantic waves crash against the black sands.
Plenty of folklore also surrounds this site as the basalt columns are said to be the remnants of trolls.
The Northern Lights of Iceland in Winter
You can see the northern lights of Iceland if you are fortunate enough to schedule your visit during winter. The magnificent aurora borealis can often be seen from the Yoda Cave, making it the perfect place to enjoy this natural phenomenon.