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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Blábjörg small cliff in the East Region

Updated: Mar 21, 2022


Blábjörg is quite unique—one of Iceland’s oldest features
Blábjörg is quite unique—one of Iceland’s oldest features

Driving from the northern part of Iceland on the Ring Road in Berufjörður fjord, after passing the Þiljuvellir farm on your right and just before you come to the Fagrihvammur farm, you will notice a small blue cliff by the shore. That is Blábjörg or the Blue Cliff (even though it appears turquoise-blue or green), a cliff by the Ring Road in the Eastern Region. Even though this natural wonder is quite astonishingly beautiful, sometimes it can be hard to notice, so you must keep your eyes open. Although it might look like just another cliff in the endless multitude of geological phenomena on the island, Blábjörg is quite unique—one of Iceland’s oldest features, it was formed in a violent eruption of overheated gases and volcanic ash around nine million years ago, like the surrounding mountains. However, its distinction arises from its geological definition as an ignimbrite, which means that the magma composing it was silicic rhyolite ash. It is unlike the more significant, much younger features made of basalt lava in the middle of Iceland, some as young as a few months old, like the recent lava in Geldingadalir on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Blábjörg, the final product of the prehistoric eruption, is a version of compressed ash. If you look up the hills of the mountain to the east, you can see how the ignimbrite continues upward from the shoreline. Coming from the south, the cliffs are not difficult to miss, as they are barely in view; you must remember that they are located a few hundred meters after you pass the Fagrihvammur farm to your right. The cliffs are impressive, a spectacular sight, and worth the walk down the steps to the beach for a better view.


East Region on map of Iceland
East Region on map of Iceland

Established as a nature reserve

Notice how the blue ignimbrite continues upward from the shoreline
Notice how the blue ignimbrite continues upward from the shoreline

The cliffs and their unique color are particularly eye-catching, even in the midst of the Berufjörður fjord’s gorgeous scenery and the magnificent mountain Búlandstindur in the background. There is also a small pillar in front of the cliffs in the tideline, sometimes in the water and sometimes on the sand beach, that makes this wonderful place even more interesting. Even so, it is not only the color of the cliffs that stands out; they are also of considerable geological importance and contribute to Iceland’s fascinating geological history. In their lifetime, they have seen and withstood all the forces that exist in a volcanic island in the Arctic—ocean forces, glacier tongues, ice cover, tectonic movements, and much more—and here they still are, displaying their millions of years of accumulated beauty. This is the reason Blábjörg was established as a nature reserve in 1999, making it a protected entity. When you are there, you must follow the path and remember that climbing the cliff is not allowed.


An excellent place for photography


There are many viewpoints an avid photographer can discover in this place
There are many viewpoints an avid photographer can discover in this place

Blábjörg is an excellent place for photographers, or anyone interested in photography for that matter. It is a great place to take exceptional photos on any type of tour or visit. It is rarely crowded, and it is not unusual to have the place all to oneself. Interestingly, the area west of Blábjörg, by the beach, is also quite breathtaking, especially the small arch in the sea and all the cliffs around it. If you are not in a hurry, it is a relaxing place, and a walk to the top of the lava cliffs in the west is rewarded with many brilliant photo opportunities against the background of the beautiful Berufjörður fjord and the mountains. There are many viewpoints an avid photographer can discover in this place; they can take advantage of the rich birdlife around the cliffs as well.


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