The Asbyrgi in Akureyri is one of the most impressive natural landmarks in Iceland. This site has long been popular among the local residents and is becoming a hit with foreign tourists as well.
The canyon is situated to the north of the country. It is a couple of hours away from Akureyri. It is a component of the Jokulsargljufur National Park. You can reach the city of Akureyri by way of the Route 1-Ring Road. You can also fly to the city direct. The canyon is at the east.
What to See
The depression is 1.1 km across and 3.5 km long. If you go there, you will see that the canyon is separated through the center via a unique rock formation. Known as the Eyjan (“the Island”), it is 25 meters high. You can hike to the location. The reward for the hikers are stunning views of the area.
The Asbyrgi in Akureyri is marked by 100 m high cliffs. In the depths of the canyon one can stroll along willow and birch. You will also see some pine, larch and fir trees. There is also a lake nearby where different waterfowl species live.
Aside from the canyon, you can also explore the nearby sites like Myvatn. Not far from the site is the Devil’s Kitchen with its sulfur fields. There is also the Godafoss waterfall.
There are several theories as to how the canyon was formed. But it is most likely the result of glacial flooding of the Jokulsa a Fjollum river. This probably took place 10,000 years ago during the Ice Age. It probably repeated some 3,000 years ago. This will
explain why the river now courses 2 km east.
There is no admission fee or entry fee needed to visit the site. However, there are many travel packages that include it in their itinerary. The costs wil vary depending on the amenities provided for.
According to legend, the canyon was created when Sleipnir, the eight legged horse of Odin, stepped on the land. There are also other legends associated with the site. For example, the area is said to be the home of the huldufolk, the “hidden people”. They supposedly reside in the fissures in the cliffs.
Asbyrgi in Akureyri is a great place to go hiking, but first time visitors are advised to get a guide. Having someone who is familiar with the surroundings will help in the navigation.