Gjáin – Iceland - Atlas Obscura
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Iceland

Gjáin

Surrounded by ash fields in Iceland, an impossibly verdant valley looks like something out of a fairytale.  

In a country boasting a natural bounty of beauty, to claim one place as the most stunning is a high compliment to pay. Nestled in the Icelandic Highlands, at the uppermost part of Þjórsárdalur valley, rests an oasis of lush vegetation and flowing waterfalls is an oasis known as Gjáin.

Gjáin is a picturesque valley in Iceland with clear pools, powerful waterfalls, and surreal volcanic structures. Appearing as if out of nowhere, Gjáin seems to pop up like a colorful mirage in an expanse of lava fields. 

For television buffs, Gjáin was featured in an episode from the hit HBO show, Game of Thrones. In episode five of season four, you’ll recognize Gjáin from the scene where Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane come to a resting place before continuing their ongoing dispute.

All in all, Gjáin is a dreamy place where the hustle and bustle of modern life can melt away in reverence of untouched nature and enchanting legends of elves and fairies who are said to call this oasis home. 

Know Before You Go

Gjáin is just a 10-15 minute hike from the Saga Age Farm at Stöng. When visiting attractions in Southern Iceland—such as Háifoss and Hjálparfoss—this oasis makes for a great addition to your road trip. Visiting Gjáin is best done between the months of June and October, during the summer months. During the winter months, Gjáin is covered in snow and inaccessible. You also need 4-wheel drive to reach the valley. If you don't have 4-wheel drive, you can take a two-mile walk over relatively flat terrain to reach the valley.