Basalt column is a captivating formation of rocks.  It is one of many creations of nature that visitors in Iceland are interested in as the structure is often quite beautiful and unique.  Although Staðarbjörg small basalt column cliffs by the Staðarbjargarvík cove in the tiny village of Hofsós are rather accessible, the place has not drawn much attention.  It is probably still a kind of hidden gem as it is a good place with easy access to see the basalt column formation.  The small cliffs are pretty impressive as they rise from the sore in their regular formation.  It is also relatively easy to step onto part of the rocks although caution is required when climbing on rocks and cliffs.  The formation with the magnificent fjord Skagafjörður in the background is a great place to take interesting photos.  Compared to many other basalt column formations in Iceland Staðarbjörg is an impressive sight.

The cliffs are actually a small trading post or hamlet inhabited by elves

A story of a poor farmer whose wool was declined by the local merchant at Hofsós some centuries ago has been preserved and gives a deeper sight into the cliffs.  As he was heading back from the store with his wool in desperation, a stranger approached him. He invited him into the cliffs at Staðarbjörg, and to the farmer’s disbelief, it was actually a small beautiful village full of life and elves.  The stranger told him that he was also a merchant and traded with a ship that arrived each year the first week of summer.  He offered to trade with him and told him that his wool was much better than the merchant at the Hofsós store had suggested.  He also gave him a beautiful scarf as a gift to his wife.  They agreed to do a wool trade each year, and their arrangement would be a secret.  The farmer upheld that agreement but told the story on his deathbed.  Fortunately for us, we can now see how a beautiful small elf village looks.

Finding your way to Hofsós and Staðarbjörg

When you are driving the Ring Road in Iceland in the Northern Region in Skagafjörður, you need to take a turn on Road Nr. 76 Siglufjarðarvegur.  The distance to Hofsós is 42 kilometers.  By the shore below the fantastic swimming pool in Hofsós, there are a few steps down on a staircase.  When you are down by the coast, you have a great view of this beautiful basalt column formation and apparently a small elf village.

Below is the location of Staðarbjörg on the map of Iceland

The cliffs are actually a small trading post or hamlet inhabited by elves

One of the natural wonder we encourage people to visit when in Iceland is the basalt column.  These can be seen in many places although Stuðlagil is our favorite.  We are of the opinion that this is the most beautiful basalt column place on the plane.  Stuðlagil canyon in Iceland is a newly discovered natural wonder and is most likely becoming a popular destination. The story behind the canyon and how the basalt column was revealed is quite fascinating.

Basalt column places that you will enjoy

Iceland is truly a geological wonderland.  For geologists, the island is a significant source for research offering more variety of places to study than most places on the planet.  Some of the geological wonders are also one of our most popular attractions, like basalt column stacks and all kinds of basalt column formations. Although this beautiful structure, originating in basalt lava, is found in many places in the world, Iceland is probably the best place to find many beautiful basalt columns. At least where the distance between them is relatively short.

Basalt column places that you will enjoy

There are very few places on the planet where you can see, experience and visit as many natural wonders as in Iceland.  If you look at the ten natural wonders presented in this article is amazing that you can experience all of them on a small peaceful island up north in the Atlantic Ocean.  In some other places on planet earth, you might find similar places and same natural wonders, but the distance between them makes it impossible to visit unless you spend weeks or even months traveling.

Ten irresistible natural wonders that encourage you to visit Iceland


If you were to build a perfect fortification and place it in a strategically important place, you could probably not match the rock formation Borgarvirki. That is to say, if you were also in medieval times where weapons of choice were a sword and a shield.  Located approximately 180 meters above the sea level with a magnificent view in every direction it has a perfect placement.  Although it looks very much like a man-made fortification when you approach it, it is actually a natural formation. 

More interesting as a natural wonder of basalt columns

Borgarvirki or The Rocky Hill Fortification as it could be translated into English is a rocky hill made of basalt columns.  The rocky hill is 10 to 15 meters high with a hollow in the middle, surrounded by 6-meter walls and has an entrance to the east. It is not big and probably never housed a large group of armed men.  Although much of the time from settlement to medieval times are quite well documented in Iceland in the Sagas, no battle is mentioned at Borgarvirki. So the taught that it was ever a fortification are only speculations. One of the reasons that stories about fortification have developed is the fact that at the entrance is a stonewall built hundreds of years ago. But as a natural wonder, Borgarvirki is interesting to visit and an interesting geological formation.

Easily accessible from the Ring Road in Iceland

Borgarvirki is located only 10 kilometers from the Ring Road or Road 1 in Iceland on a turn to the north on Road 716. It is also only a short walk from the parking lot up to the top of Borgarvirki. There you can both enjoy the magnificent view over Vatnsdalur to the south and Vatnsnes to the north.  You also have a good opportunity to see the magnificent basalt column formation.

Below is the location of Borgarvirki on the map of Iceland

If you were to build a perfect fortification and place it in a strategically important place, you could probably not match the rock formation Borgarvirki.

Basalt column (sometimes referred to as Columnar Jointing) is one of those marvels of nature that makes you stop and wonder.  Most of the time you are stunned by the mere sight.  It usually makes you wonder if mother nature is the author of this formation of hexagonal shaped stacks and pillars. Often the regularity of the structure is nothing less than unbelievable. At Gerðuberg cliffs soon after you start your drive at the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland you find one of the most impressive basalt column sites in the country.  One of the reasons is the size of the place and also the regularity of the stacks. 

Proximity is the key to enjoy and experience

Gerðuberg is hardly noticeable from the road when driving even though the cliff is around 500 meters long and quite near the road.  A half a kilometer cliff of hundreds of basalt column stacks standing like an army of pillars in a side by side row.  It is a perfect place to view basalt columns and see the stunning formation of this incredible natural geological structure. Like the cliff, the columns are also quite regular. They are mostly twelve to fourteen meters high and about one and a half meters in diameter. Some are even leaning forward giving the cliff a spectacular view as you walk by the cliff.  And by the way, it is more exciting and more thrilling to walk one of the paths in front of the cliff than to walk on the top, especially the paths that are almost at the bottom of the pillars. There is actually nothing to see on the top so don’t fall into the trap of rushing to the path that leads to another path on top.

Easily accessible from the road

Gerðuberg is easily accessible from Highway 54 and only about one kilometer to a small parking lot.  There is an old walking path just by the columns if you want to experience this incredible natural wonder up and close. It is also a perfect place to take stunning photos and take a relaxing moment as the view to the south from the cliff to Eldborg and Snæfellsjökull is also spectacular.


Below is the location of Gerðuberg on the map of Iceland

There is actually nothing to see on the top so don’t fall into the trap of rushing to the path that leads to another path on top.