Paradísarhellir or Paradise Cave is one of Iceland’s best-known caves, not least because it features in a popular historical novel, Anna of Stóra Borg, by Jón Trausti.
Most people should be able to make the climb up to the cave, but care must be taken. A rope fixed to the rock makes the climb easier; the first part of the climb is the most difficult. The rock face teems with fulmars which nest on ledges and in fissures in the rock. The cave entrance is relatively narrow, but easy to enter by bending down slightly. Inside is a spacious cave about 5.5 metres long and 3 metres wide. Mosses grow inside the cave, and visitors have carved their initials in the rock walls over the years.
The cave commands a splendid view over the lowlands and to the offshore Westman Islands.
In the early 1900s novelist Jón Trausti stayed on the nearby farm of Þorvaldseyri while writing his book Anna of Stóra Borg, which was based on local tales from the 16th century. Hjalti, the lover of Anna at Stóra Borg (and later her husband) is said to have hidden out in Paradísarhellir cave from Anna’s father, who disapproved so violently of their relationship that he tried to have him killed.
Paradísarhellir (Paradise Cave) is about 1 hour and 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik. Drive on Ring Road nr. 1 towards Seljalandsfoss waterfall, instead of turning to the waterfall keep on driving on Ring Road nr. 1 for about 6 minutes and then turn left. The cave is a short distance west of the Fit farm at the western part of Eyjafjöll, and east of Heimaland. The cave is easy to reach: take the turning to the north towards a sheep corral just east of Heimaland, park at the corral, and walk to the cave. Follow the marked path, which is smooth and easy.
Read more about Driving in Iceland.