Hjörleifshöfði or the ‘Cape of Hjörleifur,’ located on the south-western part of Mýrdalssandur outwash plain, close to the Ring Road, about 200 km from Reykjavik, is a palagonite inselberg. According to Landnamabok or the Book of Settlements, it was named after Iceland’s first settler Ingulfor Arnarsson’s brother-in-law, Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson.
Hjörleifur is believed to be buried in the mound atop the 221-metre-high Tuya Mountain, after he was killed by his slaves. A farm with the same name sprung up by 874 AD and continued to be inhabited until the eruption of Katla in 1721, which destroyed the town. Hjörleifshöfði is said to be formed during the last cold period of the ice age when the eruption took place under the glacier and was perhaps an island earlier which became landlocked during the settlement period with a fjord, Kerlingarfjörður. Hjörleifshöfði is popular for hiking and has two paths – Bæjarstaður, where Hjörleifur is said to have lived and the other up a pass known as Klif.
The designated 7-km path goes past rock columns Arnardrangur and Lásdrangur and provides a spectacular view of the region beyond the cliffs, specially if you go higher towards the west, to see the popular glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull. Various places of tourist interest are located close to Hjörleifshöfði, which is close to Vik, including Jökulsarlon, Fjállsárlón, Dyrhólaey, Reynisfjara, Kvernufoss, Skogafoss etc.
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