Standing atop a cliff facing a valley, shouting their names, and hearing them echo back is in everyone’s bucket list. Doing this in a mysterious, beautiful, and unique cave is even better. Located deep in the heart of Northern Iceland is Hljóðaklettar, the echoing cave of the island. Situated near Jokulsargljufur, this is a cluster of several columnar rocks which is both absurd and the most logical landscape you will see both at the same time. This rock formation can be found between the popular horseshoe canyon of Ásbyrgi and the beast to the beauty of Goðafoss waterfall, Dettifoss waterfall. You name the shape and we guarantee that it can be found at this magnificent place. From swirl, spiral, and honeycombs to a series of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal columns, Hljóðaklettar rock formations are one of their kind and possess a mysterious beauty which is of no other’s to be called.
Breaking Down the Hljóðaklettar: Kastali, Tröllið, Kirkjan
Hljóðaklettar rock formation is divided into three different kinds of rocks and each of them has been given a name for their look and formation. The first rock that you will come across is Kastali or the Castle. This formation features two huge rocks which give it a fortress-like appearance which is why it is called Kastali. It is located on the opposite bank of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, this outcrop has two rocks, one of which works as the stronghold of the castle and one that is the turret like a small tower in the fortress.
The next formation you will encounter is Tröllið or the giant. This rock formation is only a few steps farther from Kastali. Sometimes it looks like a huge soldier guarding the castle. There are many myths, stories, and beliefs in Iceland that have trolls turning into stones when they are touched by the sunlight.
The final formation Kirkjan, or the church, is located about a hundred meters away from the Giant when the path turns away from the river to another direction. There you will find, to your surprise, an ideally symmetric arch which works as an entrance to the cave that is famous for its fine acoustic qualities.
The Whispering Rocks
As you enter the cave from the mouth or arch of Kirkjan, you will get to witness the reason Hljóðaklettar is famous for some uncommon acoustics. Some even find the echo and reverberations created in this cave to be fear-inspiring in many ways while others simply find them interesting. Combined with the strange echoing phenomenon and an even stranger structure of the basalt rocks that Hljóðaklettar has, it is unique to even Iceland itself. You will find the basalt column lying aimlessly in every direction and still forming a strange harmony. Hljóðaklettar is also the only place in Iceland where honeycomb weathering can be found. If you are thinking that when you shout standing amidst these beautiful formations you will hear a simple echo of your words then you are very much wrong. The impressive reverberations that the rocks and the cave create travel all across the field and come back to you from every direction – something you will not get to experience many times.
Activities in the area
How to get there?
You will have to take road 862 – a paved route that will take you to Dettifoss via road number 1. The further journey on road 862 to Hljóðaklettar from Dettifoss will have to be done on comparatively harsher, gravel road. The distance till Dettifoss can be covered in a 2×2 vehicle but a 4×4 drive is recommended for the further journey.
You can also drive to Hljóðaklettar from road 85 through Húsavík. Take a right turn to road 862 short before you reach Ásbyrgi Canyon.
After reaching the parking lot, you will land at a circular trail which will further take you to the next attractions of the place. Hljóðaklettar rocks formations are also a popular hiking spot so you may find some camping grounds around these parts as well. You can choose to take a hiking trip on the rocks which can last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. Road 862 is sometimes closed in winters due to weather conditions, so make sure that you have checked all the necessary information beforehand.