The Thakgil region, or Þakgil in Icelandic, is home to a well-kept secret: the Remundargil Canyon. This gem of the south is carved into the land between the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and the vast sands of Mýrdalssandur, just north of the charming town of Vík í Mýrdal.
In this lush valley of moss-covered ravines, the Remundargil canyon lies open like an invitation to embark on the fantastic hiking trail that runs through it.
The Remundargil canyon in Þakgil
Tucked away from the main roads, at the terminus of road 214, Þakgil is known for its mystical ambiance, a setting that would fit perfectly in a fantasy TV series, and as a departure point for various hikes.
Þakgil is a an oasis of green near the renowned Katla volcano. The landscape features gorges and canyons cloaked in green moss, a stark contrast against the dark volcanic rocks. The scenery is somewhat similar to the more frequented Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.
A paradise for hikers, the Þakgil region offers several trails, with four departing directly from the campsite:
On-site, you'll find a renowned campsite nestled in the heart of the mountains, featuring a sheltered "dining room" tucked inside a natural cave. Open only during the summer (June 1 to September 1), the campsite offers tables, benches, and a barbecue, providing a unique mountain retreat at the end of the world. Prices are as follows:
For a base closer to Thakgil, most visitors stay in Vik where guesthouses and chalets abound. Notable accommodations include Dyrholaey Hotel, Puffin Hotel, Icelandair Hotel, and the famous Black Beach Suites.
For budget-conscious travelers, Puffin Hotel offers excellent value and is conveniently located in the heart of the village.
Þakgil is a little over 200 km from Reykjavík. Follow road number 1 to Vík, then turn onto road 214, 5 km after the city center, toward the magnificent Mýrdalsjökull.
Drive along the 214 for 15 kilometers until you reach Þakgil. While the road is gravel and black sand, offering spectacular views, certain sections can be extremely uneven and make for a bumpy ride.
Officially, the 214 is not an F track as there are no fords to cross, however an SUV or 4x4 is strongly recommended due to the uneven terrain.
Please note that road 214 is often closed in winter and lacks bus service.
The two possible routes to reach Remundargilfoss
Among Thakgil's stunning hikes, the trail to Remundargil stands out, culminating with a view of the picturesque Remundargilfoss waterfall. Two routes lead to the waterfall and through the Remundargil canyon:
The black sides covered with green moss of Remundargil
The journey kicks off from Thakgil campsite, leading down into the ravine, and then ascends on the opposite east side across from Midfellshellir Cave. Following this, we traverse the ridge eastward toward the Remundargil ravine, marked by distinctive purple posts.
Once inside the ravine, continue along its path until you reach the stunning Remundargilsfoss waterfall. While the return path retraces some steps, the exit from the ravine takes you to the Remundargilshofud promontory. Moving forward, the trail guides you through a canyon nestled between the Remundargilshofud and Vatnsrasarhofud promontories.
This spot offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Kötlujökull glacier. The journey back navigates through Láguhvolar, opposite Hvolhöfud, eventually leading back onto the road to Thakgil.
The beautiful Remundargilsfoss waterfall at the bottom of the canyon
For those seeking a shorter trek, you can condense this hike into a delightful round trip of only 3.8 km, achievable in under an hour.
Just before you reach the Thakgil campsite, keep an eye out for a small track veering off to the right (refer to the map above). Exit the 214, continue along this track for approximately 1.6 km, and find a suitable spot to park.
From this point, follow the path indicated by the green route on the map, leading north towards the captivating Remundargil canyon. This canyon is incredibly deep and flanked with towering cliffs. The trail meanders through sections of dark soil and treacherous rocky terrain.
As you delve deeper into the canyon, the path narrows. After an easy 1.5 km stroll, with minimal elevation, you'll be greeted by the Remundargilfoss. Though slender, this waterfall cascades gracefully in a mesmerizing spectacle against the rocky backdrop.
Take care on the slippery rocks as you approach the base of this exceptionally photogenic waterfall. The return journey follows the same route, guiding you back to the small car park.