Picture © Credits to Nils Knopf
Picture © Credits to Nils Knopf

Grjótagjá: Jon Snow's cave in Iceland

2 minutes to read

Game of Thrones fans will surely remember the memorable "cave scene" (season 3, "Kissed by Fire" episode) when Jon Snow and Ygritte make love, right after one more "You know nothing, Jon Snow" statement. The cave is unbelievably beautiful, so much that it even looks surreal in its beauty. Shortly, it's a perfect setup for a romantic scene happening in a fantasy TV show. Just that it's real (except for the waterfall that was computer-generated). It's called Grjótagjá, and it's situated near Mývatn lake, in Iceland, some six hours ride from Reykjavik. From the outside, it looks just like another rift in the cracky Icelandic ground, but once you find the entrance and your way down, there's a small pool of glimmering blue water waiting for you.

© Credits to istock / Dash_med
© Credits to istock / Dash_med
Lake Mývatn
Lake Mývatn
Mývatn, Islande
Grjótagjá Cave
Grjótagjá Cave
North Island Drive Northwest, Atlanta, Iceland

Legend says that another Jon lived in this cave in the 18th century. An Icelandic outlaw named Jón Markússon used the lava cave as his home, and the hot spring as his bath. At the time, caves did not have good reputation and therefore were a perfect refuge for bandits excluded from the society by the parliament. It was believed that the trolls lived there, so going inside was not considered a good idea.

Later on, the cave and its spring had been used by locals, but a series of eruptions of Mt. Krafla in 70's and 80's made the water too hot for bathing. It's been cooling down since, so right now technically it's possible to take a bath, but it's not allowed. Nevertheless, you can touch the water. To enter the cave, you take one of the two rocky paths going down. After its appearance in the Game of Thrones the cave became so famous, therefore constantly packed with tourists taking selfies, so don't expect to have a romantic moment in there. It's also much smaller than what it appears on the show. 

© Credits to istock / -jwjimaging
© Credits to istock / -jwjimaging

Sadly, Grjótagjá has been vandalised several times, both before and after it became popular as a GoT location. More recently, tourists used it not only to swim but also to clean their shoes, leave their trash, brush their teeth and even to sleep inside. Some graffiti appeared as well. Because of it, the owners (the cave is private property) earlier this year decided to close it for the public, but now it's again possible to visit it. 

Grjótagjá is an obligatory stop along the so-called Diamond Circle. This is the most popular sightseeing route of north Iceland with its 260 kilometres, breathtaking landscapes and plenty of interesting spots to visit. The Diamond circle is considered the northeastern answer to the popular Golden Circle route, close to Reykjavik.


The author

Natacha Costa

Natacha Costa

Hello, I will tell you about the south of France, the Azores, Iceland, among other places, here on itinari. Traveling has taught me more than any school, and I am excited to be sharing this passion of mine with you!

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