Drangey island

  • Drangey
  • Jon Eiriksson earl of Drangey and keeper of the island in the 20th and 21st century
  • Drangey the rock island
  • Kerling the stack by Drangey
  • Drangey is a spectacular place to visit
  • Standing by the 200 meter cliff at Drangey island


When driving in Skagafjörður fjord in the North Region in Iceland can't help but be impressed by a huge rock or an island towering majestically in the middle of the fjord. The rock is visible from the Ring Road as you approach Vamahlíð coming from the mountain pass Vatnsskarð between Húnavatnssýsla and Skagafjörður.  Geologically the island, Drangey, is a remnant of a seven hundred years old volcano and mostly made of volcanic tuff. Of course, to the Icelanders this geological explanation of the island's origins was a somewhat dull, so, they came up with another explanation: Two night-prowling trolls were crossing the fjord with their cow in tow. They were rather slow in their movement and were caught in the early morning sunlight. It is, of course, common knowledge that the Sun turns trolls into stones. Man, woman and cow turned into stones on the spot. The cow turned into Drangey island; the woman became Kerling (Od Hag) which is the stack south of Drangey, and a stack north of the island Drangey became Karl (Man). Unfortunately some centuries ago the man collapsed and disappeared into the ocean as a large earthquake shook Skagafjörður some centuries ago.

A place where the outlaw and famous Icelandic bad boy Grettir Ásmundarson found sanctuary

Drangey is first mentioned in the Icelandic Saga Grettis Saga. The island is the place where Grettir found refuge after being outlawed.  Grettir is considered to be the strongest man ever to bear the title Icelander.  Also, he was as mean tempered, grumpy and ill-spirited as they come. He was also a miserable and unlucky person, so when he experienced a lack of trouble, he could rest assure that misfortune would find him.  From early childhood, he was in trouble and continued to search for and create problems for himself and others throughout his whole life.   After being outlawed he survived in Dragey for three years until he was slain in a dramatic sequence of events.

A steep path to the top

Drangey is a mass of tuff, flat on the top, rising almost 200 meters out of the ocean. The cliffs serve as nesting sites for around million seabirds, among them a Puffin colony. Throughout the centuries the locals have visited the cliffs for egg collection and bird netting. There is only one trail leading to the top. It is quite steep and not for the faint of heart or those who have some fear of height or have acrophobia.  For those who are interested, there are tours to Drangey during the summer from the farm Reykir 30 Kilometers north of the town Sauðárkrókur.  Before you leave for the tour or after the tour, you can relax at Reykir in the geothermal pool Grettislaug

Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Drangey on the map of Iceland