Gjáin is a stunning ravine with lush vegetation in Þjórsárdalur in the South of Iceland, not far from the Hjalparfoss. Gjáin means rift and is a valley with several breath taking waterfalls, although these aren’t vert high. The most famous and most photogenic one is called Gjáinfoss or Gjárfoss but mostly just named Gjáin.
The river Rauðá (Red River) cascades through Gjáin valley where the surroundings is amply vegetated. River Þjórsá ran through Gjáin valley before a dike was built between the mountains Sandafell and Skeljafell to redirect it.
In 2011 we were in Iceland and wanted to visit Gjáin with a 2WD. We took a terrible side road from road 32 (gps 64.153663, -19.672588), but we turned back halfway because of the possible damage to the car. From Selfoss drive up road 30 and then road 32 to the powerplant Sultartangi. Just before the powerplant take the exit left to road 332 (gps 64.153741, -19.672636). There is a small sign for Haifoss and Laxargljufur. After a few hundred meters go left onto road 327 (gps 64.158679, -19.674128).
Drive further up to the parking near Gjain (gps 64.149054, -19.736512) over a dust and bumpy road for 3,7 kilometer, not a very pleasant drive! I am not sure if the dust road is also suitable for 2WD. In 2011 we drove a short while on this road but with a small car impossible, so we went back without seeing Gjain… From the parking it is a short walk before you see Gjain and its waterfalls Gjárfoss.
Later on I discovered that it is maybe better to drive to the farm Stöng (road 32>327) and then drive up from there. Unfortunately we never got there.
There is a walking trail at Stöng farm which leads to Gjáin, full of basalt rocks, caves and small waterfalls. Gjáin was a filming location in Game of Thrones.
Stöng is a reconstructed viking farm. It is a historically accurate reconstruction of the three buildings, including a longhouse, which stood 7 km to the north at Stöng; the farm is believed to have been buried under volcanic ash in 1104 following the eruption of the volcano Hekla.
The reconstruction was built in 1974 as a part of the national celebrations of the 1100th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland in 874.