Discovering Iceland’s Top 5 Canyons by Car

Discovering Iceland's Top 5 Canyons by Car
Raudfeldsgja Gorge, at Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Welcome to Iceland, a land sculpted by ice and fire, where rugged landscapes meet serene beauty. Embarking on a road trip from Keflavík Airport in your rental car you’ll find freedom to explore at your own pace.

This guide highlights the top five canyons in Iceland. Showcasing why a rental car is your ticket to discovering the beautiful sights and hidden gems of this volcanic island.

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

1. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Known for its dramatic cliffs and ancient history, Fjaðrárgljúfur is a must-visit. This 2-kilometer long canyon, with walls reaching up to 100 meters, offers spectacular hiking and views. Feels like walking through a fantasy novel.

Getting There: A straightforward drive from Keflavík, perfect for those picking up a rental car upon arrival. The well-maintained roads leading to Fjaðrárgljúfur make it an accessible stop on your canyon tour.

Activities: Hiking along the canyon’s rim provides panoramic views while the river below beckons the more adventurous to explore its serene waters.

Benefits of a Rental Car: Flexibility to arrive early to avoid crowds and the freedom to linger for the golden hour photographs.

Fjaðrárgljúfur in south iceland lagoon car rental.
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in south Iceland.

2, Gjáin.

Often described as an oasis, Gjáin is a small valley with waterfalls, ponds, and volcanic structures. It feels like stepping into a different world, surrounded by the vivid colors of nature.

Getting There: While somewhat remote, the journey to Gjáin is part of the adventure. Your rental car allows you to navigate the rugged trails at your own pace.

Activities: Ideal for a leisurely hike or a picnic by one of its many waterfalls. Don’t miss out on exploring the little caves and lava formations.

Benefits of a Rental Car: The ability to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations without relying on scheduled tours.

3. Ásbyrgi Canyon.

Part of the Vatnajökull National Park, this horseshoe-shaped depression is legendary, believed to be a hoof-print of the Norse god Odin’s horse. The lush forest within the canyon contrasts sharply with the steep cliffs.

Getting There: The drive from Keflavík is scenic and allows for multiple stops along the way to appreciate Iceland’s vast landscapes.

Activities: Hiking trails abound, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks, leading to spectacular viewpoints.

Benefits of a Rental Car: Visit at your own pace, perfect for catching the northern lights or midnight sun depending on the season.

4. Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge.

A deep crack in the Snæfellsnes peninsula, Rauðfeldsgjá is a gorge that feels like a portal to another time. The initial climb through a narrow entrance leads to an open area with mossy walls and trickling streams.

Getting There: The drive includes stunning coastal views, easily accessible with a rental car.

Activities: Climb through the gorge to find hidden waterfalls and lush greenery. It’s a bit of a scramble but immensely rewarding.

Benefits of a Rental Car: Allows for spontaneous detours along the coast, enhancing your adventure with unexpected discoveries.

top canyon iceland waterfall
Hjálparfoss Waterfall.

5. Hjálparfoss.

Located in the Þjórsárdalur valley. Hjálparfoss is not only a beautiful double waterfall but also a gateway to the surrounding historical area. Featuring ruins of old farms and lush landscapes.

Getting There: The last stretch of road to Hjálparfoss is a bit rough, a perfect opportunity to make use of your rental car’s capabilities.

Activities: Perfect spot for photography, relaxation, and appreciating Iceland’s historical layers.

Benefits of a Rental Car: Ensures you have the means to explore deeper into Iceland’s less accessible regions.


Exploring canyons in Iceland by rental car offers not just comfort and convenience but also a profound connection with nature at your own pace.

Each canyon provides unique experiences, from hiking and sightseeing to simply soaking in the vast, wild landscapes.

As you drive back to Keflavík Airport, you’ll carry with you memories of the land’s majestic beauty, etched deep in your heart. Remember, the journey is as spectacular as the destination itself!

If you want to see more of Iceland’s natural wonders, please visit Our Blog.