At the edge of the central highlands you find this beautiful natural phenomenon and oasis. The river Rauda (Red river) cascades into, and through the valley, Thjorsa river ran through it before but some years ago a dike was built between the mountains Skeljafell and Sandfell to redirect it.

There are a lot of lava formations that are worth taking a look at. The valley is quite flattened over and full of pumice after the repeated eruptions of Mt. Hekla which is nearby.

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The small valley Gjain features small waterfalls, ponds and volcanic formations. Vegghamrar are impressive rock cliffs, popular for rock climbing.

Thjorsardalur Hot Spring Area

Thjorsardalur’s hot spring area is west of the waterfall. There you can bathe in a hot spring where an abundance of hot- and cold water flows freely into the hot spring. Inside the valley is Haifoss, one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland

Thjorsardalur in the Settlement Age

Thjorsardalur valley was the site of a flourishing Settlement Age community that was later abandoned and then disappeared under ash in 1104, when Mount Hekla erupted for the first time in the history of Iceland. The farm of Stong, covered by the ashes of the eruption, was excavated in 1939. It was rebuilt at about 10 km to the south of its former place near Burfellsvirkjun hydroelectric power station as the farm museum Thjodveldisbaerinn Stong. There visitors can see how fireplaces and other house fixtures looked during the Saga Age.

Check out our complete guide to the South Coast.