Iceland is open for travel: check volcano updates here

Hjörleifshöfði is a cape on Myrdalssandur on the South Coast of Iceland. The cape is full of great history and incredible geological facts. Explore the recently found Hjörleifshöfði Cave – best known as the Yoda Cave – during your visit to the cape. The cave features an uncanny “Yoda” shaped entrance- something that no Star Wars fan should miss!


Hjörleifshöfði, or the cape of Hjörleifur, is an enormous rock, standing at 221 m (725 ft) tall and located at the South West corner of Mýrdalssandur Black Sand Beach. It formed in a volcanic eruption underneath a glacier during an ice age, although which ice age is yet to be discovered.

Hjörleifshöfði and its surroundings were used to film the opening scene in the Star Wars spin-off, Star Wars: Rogue One. Iceland was portrayed as the planet Lah’mu, the location where Jyn Erso and her parents are seen hiding at the beginning of the film.

The moon-like landscape of Mýrdalssandur and the two capes in the background, Hjörleifshöfði and Hafursey, make for the perfect stellar scene and when the fully uniformed black stormtroopers march on the pitch black sand with its array of neon-green grass sticking out, the moment is just spellbinding!

Hjorleifshofdi of South Iceland in summer

The name Hjörleifshöfði comes from one of the most famous settlers in Iceland’s history, Hjörleifur, who was the brother of Ingólfur Arnarsson and you can visit his grave on the top of the cape. There are fantastic and historical trails to be walked all around the cape and the views are truly otherworldly.

Hjörleifshöfði was a settled farm until the year 1936, located right at the top of the cape after being moved in a volcanic eruption a few hundred years before. The farmland was considered great, especially due to the lively wildlife, including birds like puffins and auks, whose eggs are considered a delicacy.


Hjorleifur hrodmarsson Ingolfur

Drawing by Jakob Jóhannsson

The cape is named after the Viking settler Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson, Ingólfur Arnarsson’s foster brother. They sailed together from Norway to Iceland on separate ships but somehow got separated and ended up staying the winter in different capes. Hjörleifur’s slaves killed Hjörleifur and fled with his women and belongings to the Westman Islands, which took their name from these Irish slaves.

Ingólfur, his brother, heard what had happened and sailed to Westman Islands to kill the Irish slaves, therefore avenging his brother “an eye for an eye.” At the top of the Hjörleifshöfði Cave is a landmark named Hjörleifshaugur and that is where Hjörleifur is believed to have been buried.

Where is Hjörleifshöfði located?


The Hjörleifshöfði Cave in Iceland is located on Mýrdalssandur, about 202 km (125.5 mi) from Reykjavík and 15 km (9.3 mi) from Vík.

GPS coordinates of Hjörleifshöfði: 63.4Vík167° N, 18.7667° W

How to Get to Hjörleifshöfði?

Iceland’s Hjörleifshöfði Cave is easily accessible from the Ring Road as the road down to the cape leads straight from it. When driving from Reykjavík you make a left turn down south towards the ocean and drive only a few minutes before reaching the parking lot.  

Hjorleifshofdi area in Iceland


If you’re looking to add Hjörleifshöfði Cave onto your tour of Iceland, whether you’re a fan of Star Wars or not, here are some unmissable things to do and see in the area.


There are a few different ways to go about hiking up to Hjörleifshöfði Cave. The easiest ones are on the West side of the cape. The hike is about seven km (4.3 mi) and shouldn’t take more than two to three hours. The first hiking path is up Bæjarstaður where Hjörleifur, the Viking settler, lived. The second one is up a pass called Klif.

There is a map of the cape, where these locations are clearly marked so you can easily find where to go and your options for walking down. The best way to hike Hjörleifshöfði is to go up one way and down another, doing this will give you the absolute best way. You can both do this clockwise and counterclockwise, but regardless of which way you choose, ensure that you make frequent stops and take in the breathtaking scenery.

Viking historic settlement

The view that awaits you is over Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, Katla Volcano, and the pitch-black volcanic sand beach Mýrdalssandur. At the top of the cape, you will find a remarkable burial mound around the rumored burial site of Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson. Right next to it, a family plot had been raised in the memory of the former inhabitants.

At the top, you can see the ruins of the farm that once was on the cape and a small waterfall can be found in one of the hills. The place is a known spot for elves and hidden people so you should definitely keep an open mind - who knows, you might even meet one!

The Yoda Cave is located between the Gýgjagjá and Rituberg, and you can find it on the map when you arrive. We recommend going up at Bæjarstaðagil and coming down near the cave. Finishing the hike around Hjörleifshöfði with a visit to this magical place makes it a perfect day out!

The Yoda Cave

Yoda Cave entrance in Iceland

Hjörleifshöfði and the area around it has always been known in Iceland as both a beautiful and historical place, but international visitors only began putting the cape on their must-see lists after it appeared as a backdrop for the opening scene of Rogue One, the popular Star Wars spin-off movie. Iceland’s volcanic history means that curious caverns are discovered all over the country - however, the Yoda Cave is something special. 

The cave is grand in volume, with intense echoing inside and a fascinatingly unique form. You can see that the cave’s opening is reminiscent of an iconic shape you’ll recognize as soon as you arrive. After you enter the cave, the view of the opening from the inside out is simply supernatural.

If you don’t recognize it, we’ll let you in on the secret - the opening of the cave looks exactly like an enormous Yoda – the legendary Jedi Master from the Star Wars movies. Despite being small in size, Yoda is wise and powerful, with a connection to the Force that is stronger than most. He has trained Jedis for over 800 years playing many integral roles in the Clone Wars.

This unlikely cave formation might have been enough to put the location on any Star Wars fan's map, but there’s a little more to it! Rogue One utilized the cave’s entrance as a backdrop for the film’s tantalizing first scene. What more could a film-lover want from one place?

Hjorleifshofdi rock in winter time

The Formation

There is some speculation to be made about the cape due to its geology. The material within the cape is called natural tuff, formed when a volcano erupts beneath a glacier. That means the eruption which formed the area occurred during an ice age, but the exact date is still unknown. As a result, the age of the cape has not yet been successfully identified and could range anywhere between 120,000 and 200,000 years old.

The cape was surrounded by the ocean after the last ice age but slowly the beach dried up and when the settlers started arriving in Iceland, the cape stood out quite clearly. When Katla Volcano erupted in the 14th century, the meltwater from its glacier pushed the volcanic sand down to the ocean. This is what you now see at the cape.

Where to stay near Hjörleifshöfði and the Yoda Cave

view from above of Hotel Dyrholaey in Iceland

As Hjörleifshöfði is located so close to Vík, most of the accommodation options are located in Vík. The closest hotel is the Hotel Katla, but there are also plenty of other options that are listed below:


  • Hotel Katla by Keahotels
  • Hotel Kría
  • Hotel Katla Hofdabrekka
  • Icelandair Hotel Vík
  • Hotel Dyrholaey


  • Puffin Hostel Vík
  • Vík HI Hostel


  • Guesthouse Carina
  • Guesthouse Galleri Vík
  • Dream Guesthouse Vík
  • Giljur Guesthouse
  • Guesthouse Hátún 8
  • Like Vík Guesthouse
  • Kósý Vík


Man standing in front of Solheimasandur Plane Wreck