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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Gjáin the oasis in Thjorsardalur valley

Updated: Jan 29


At the edge of the Icelandic Highland at the uppermost part of Þjórsárdalur valley, you will find one of the most beautiful small oasis in Iceland. There are actually many places you label as an oasis in Iceland, and Gjáin is most definitely one of the most beautiful. One of the fascinating factors is the size. Gjáin is a tiny valley with small picturesque waterfalls, clear, tranquil ponds, and amazing delicate volcanic structures. It is like a sample of Icelandic nature. For visitors, it is almost surprising as it appears from nowhere and is only visible as you approach the edge of the tiny valley. Even the lava in this area takes on a beautiful form in Gjáin. You will find lava caves and a lot of basalt columns as well as volcanic tuft.


Gjáin is in South Region on the map of Iceland
Gjáin is in South Region on the map of Iceland

A place to visit in summer

Gjáin is a wonderful place to visit in summer
Gjáin is a wonderful place to visit in summer

It is a beautiful place to visit but only from the beginning of June until the beginning of October. Outside that time of year, it is either not accessible and filled with snow or simply not interesting due to dull colors and early spring water. In summer, on the other hand, the small valley is covered with lush green grass and vegetation. It is believed to have been the riverbed of the river Þjórsá in earlier days. Nowadays, it is Rauðá (the Red River) running through the valley, beautifully framed by stunning rock formations, displaying its beautiful waterfall, Gjárfoss.


In popular culture

A place of spring water right at the source
A place of spring water right at the source

In season 4, episode 5 of the Game of Thrones, Arya Stark and her traveling "companion" Sandor Clegane (The Hound) come to a resting place and continue their ongoing dispute. Their resting place was filmed here in Gjáin in Iceland.


Gjain location

Gjáin overview
Gjáin overview

Gjáin's location is a mere 10-15 minutes hike from the Saga Age Farm at Stöng. It is a great addition when traveling the south countryside and visiting the waterfalls Háifoss and Hjálparfoss. It is such a beautiful, dream-like valley you'll expect to see elves and fairies playing along with the riverbanks. You might, as these tiny figures are known to reveal themselves to humans now and then. Whether you'll be able to spot them or not, you will most certainly feel the waterfall spirit as it is very powerful.


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