The Dverghamrar Cliffs

Date 08 May 2022

The Dverghamrar Cliffs

The Dverghamrar Cliffs

The Dverghamrar cliffs or “Dwarf cliffs” are no Grand Canyon, that's for sure, but they are impressive nonetheless. This natural architecture of huge basaltic organs is located in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur region of southern Iceland.

The Dverghamrar site has been protected for many years.

How to get to Dverghamrar

Getting to the Dverghamrar cliffs is very easy since they are located along Road number 1, only 10 kilometers after the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur on the way to Höfn.

Shortly after passing the beautiful Foss waterfall in Síðu, which you can't miss even from the road, keep an eye out for a sign indicating the cliffs on your right towards the ocean.

This takes you to a small car park with some information points to explain the local geology and history, two things that are always connected in Iceland.

The legend of the Dverghamrar cliffs

falaises de Dverghamrar

Photo credit Demerzel21©Dreamstime

Maritime erosion at the end of the last ice age is the reason for these formations. At the time the sea level was much higher than it is today, so these features of the landscape were created when lava and water clashed and formed these unique columns.

Both cliffs are made up of these visually-stunning basaltic organs, hexagonal columns in neat rows, some modest and others multiple meters high. There really is a sense of organ pipes as they change size like a musical scale.

As it is very often the case in Iceland, the name of the place, “Dverghamrar”, has a mythology behind it. According to the book “Íslenskar Þjóðsögur og sagnir, Ólafíá Palsdóttir lived near here on the Foss farm at the beginning of the 20th century.

One summer evening in 1904, when the sheep were out to pasture, Ólafía heard a magnificent song coming from the columns. Got as close as she could until she was sitting on the columns to hear the song which she recognized: “Faðir á himna hæð”. There was no one else around and the only explanation was that cliff dwarves, probably of the High Elf race, had sung the song for her.

Walking around the Dverghamrar cliffs

falaises de Dverghamrar

Photo Credit: Hakan Can Yalcin©Dreamstime

You wouldn't call this a hiking trail, but rather just a walk, a short walk at that... From the car park, it's barely 500 meters of flat path around the cliffs and back to the car park.

The columns are really quite imposing and make for great photos, whether from below in the canyon itself, or from up high standing directly on the columns.

There are plenty of spots where you can climb on columns of different sizes, almost like a staircase. Most visitors spend no more than 30 to 45 minutes on site, usually spent hopping on and off the columns looking to get the perfect shot.

From the canyon when you look back towards Road number 1 you get a clear view of the Foss á Síðu waterfall a few hundred meters from here, so don't miss a chance to see that also.

If you happen to be there in the evening, you should know that the setting sun behind the basalt columns makes for some of the best shots of this place.