Paradise Cave is one of the most well known caves in the country, because of the famous 16th century love story connected to it. It was the hiding place of a man named Hjalti, lover of a well-to-do widow and farmer in Stóraborg, who hid out in the cave for 4 years. Most people can make it up to the cave but it is a bit of a climb and precaution must be taken and the use of ropes are advised. On the way up you can see fulmars nesting in various cracks and crannies. The mouth of the cave is rather narrow, but it is easy to get through. Inside is a spacious room, 5.5 meters long and 3 meters wide. Inscriptions have been chiseled on the walls which are now filled with moss.
From the old sheep sorting pen ´Seljalandsrétt’ there is 700+ m walk to the base of the cliff and then a 10m vertical climb up to the opening of the cave. Chains have been installed to aid in the ascent which is strenuous and not for the faint hearted. The cave is 7m long and 3.8m wide in some places. The walls of the cave are covered with runic and ogham inscriptions and over 20 names can found there, including the name Steinmóð Bárðarson, a 15th century deacon from the Westman Islands. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact date of these inscriptions, but they are believed to be from before 1600.
Celebrating Earth Heritage
How to visit the Katla Geopark
Katla UNESCO Global Geopark is in central South Iceland