A Secret Beauty spot
Þakgil is one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets for campers and hikers
Let me take you on a journey. But first let me say that if you are on a mad-dash, whirlwind tour of Iceland via the ring road, then this is probably not going to be your cup of tea. If however, you have the time and inclination to go on a journey of discovery to an off-the beaten-path gem of scenic beauty, then this may be just the place for you. Þakgil - a hiker’s paradise
15 km off the ring road, just 5 km from Vík, lies a small enclosed canyon, sheltered on all sides by steep, moss-covered vertical mountains. The floor of the canyon is a grassy plain, about the size of an American football field, which serves as a camping site. For the less adventurous, nine recently built, snug pine huts are also available for rent. A gurgling brook passes merrily through the campground and when birds are singing nearby, you can be sure you have just discovered a little piece of heaven.
A short walk up into a nearby ravine reveals the secret of Þakgil´s source of electricity—the smallest hydro-electric plant you have ever laid eyes on. The campground managers, Helga and Águst, will be happy to give you the lowdown on its history, as well as information on several magnificent day hikes to the nearby Mýrdalsjökull Glacier. A dining hall, set in a large natural cave, comes replete with cooking grill and a fireplace for warmth on those cooler summer nights. An alternative to Landmannalaugar
Getting to Þakgil is also part of the adventure itself. You will see all manner of weird and wonderful rock formations, scenic panoramic views that go on forever and even the remains of no less than two movie sets, Beowulf and the American TV show, ‘Game of Thrones’, parts of which were filmed right here. The gravel road is well maintained and your average passenger car can make it all the way to the campsite in about 30 minutes. Þakgil certainly has no trouble competing with the famous Landmannalaugar, which can get quite busy with tourists at the height of the season.
One of the best things about Þakgil is that it has only become a holiday destination rather recently. Before 2000, the majority of Icelanders had never been here, making this one of Iceland’s best kept secrets.
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