Iceland is definitely the land of canyons and waterfalls. Most of the time they are together to create a dramatic landscape, but in the case of Asbyrgi, the Shelter of the Gods, it is just the canyon that creates the unique formation. Rising out of the tree covered area are two foreboding cliffs that together create a horseshoe. There is the large cliff that curves around a smaller one.
The story behind this formation is that Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir once planted one of its giant hooves at this spot. For this reason, there are two of these amazing cliffs and a canyon there for anybody is Iceland to explore. And this is a great place to explore.
First off, there is a great camping facility that can be found there, so people can take a couple of days to explore the region completely if they want to. The facility takes in the camper vans, and tents, has showers, and clean bathrooms, sports WiFi, and even has laundry facilities for those who are running out of clean clothes on their long voyage across Iceland.
There are also three great hikes for different skills levels that should please anybody. The easiest one travels on the floor of the canyon and takes anywhere between a half an hour to an hour depending on how long you want to enjoy the duck pond that can be found at the end of the trail. The second longest one takes you on top of the small rocky outcropping in the center of the horseshoe. It will take you to the top of this outcropping and give you some amazing views. It is easier to make it to the top than you would think as well because there is a path that will take you up there without any problem. The longest hike will do the same thing, but it follows the path of the outer cliff and is a lot longer. I did not do this hike, but I was told that it takes anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours to accomplish and it will return you back from where you started.
Asbyrgi is not on everybody’s list of places to visit on a trip to Iceland, but if you find yourself in the area, it is worth the stop. It might even be worth an overnight stay, giving you more than enough time to explore all of the nooks and crannies of this unique geological feature. It is one of those quiet places in Iceland that surprised me that more people did not travel to, but I was really happy that I made the time to get out there. You should make it a part of your itinerary as well.