#borgarfjordur

For many reasons, Reykholt in the west region is a crucial historical and cultural place in Iceland. In medieval times it was the center of power, culture and power struggle among chiefs that fought hard never shy to engage in challenging and deadly battles.  One of the largest persona in all events related to power, accumulation of wealth and leadership was Snorri Sturluson.

Reykholt in the west region is a crucial historical and cultural place in Iceland

Grábrók is a crater formed by a fissure eruption approximately three thousand years ago. The fissure that initially opened during that eruption wasn't very long but left behind Grábrók and her two crater sisters that can be seen when on top. Also, from the top the massive lava about seven square kilometers that surfaced in that eruption is visible.  It is a sight of geological interest comparable to Lakagígar, the Laki craters in the Icelandic Highland accessible from the Southern Region. The view from the top is not only interesting because of the lava. It is an impressive view over the most beautiful part of the Western Region Borgarfjörður and the tiny but beautiful lake Hreðarvatn, that was formed during that eruption.  To the northwest is a view to Baula a cone shaped and colorful mountain.

The walk to the top is quite easy as the crater is only about 170 meters high (560 feet).  There is a good path up to the top with manmade steps.  It is one of the natural sights that are basically on the Ring Road in Iceland and has been popular among Icelanders for decades.

 

Below is the location of Grábrók on the map of Iceland

Grábrók is a crater formed by a fissure eruption approximately three thousand years ago.

If you are keen on caves, Iceland is the place for you. Hallmundarhraun in Borgarjörður is indeed the best area for exploring caves. Half an hours drive from Surtshellir is the majestic Víðgelmir. Víðgelmir is one of the most intriguing caves in Iceland. It is 1585 kilometer long. The highest point inside the cave is 15.8 meter, and its width is 16.5 meters.  Víðgelmir formed in the same eruption as Surtshellir, but it differs from other caves in various aspects. It has stunning ice formations that are constantly changing. Sometimes, the ice even closes the cave.

Deep inside the cave you will find areas with stunningly well-preserved lava stalactites and stalagmites. And, like most large caves in Iceland it used to be inhabited by outlaws. Human and animal bones, as well as jewelry from approximately the year 1000, were discovered inside the cave – but have, of course, been removed for further research.

The cave's pitfall doubles as an entrance. It is 75 meters long, 15 meters long and quite deep. Once down there, the cave starts with a narrow tunnel that leads into the main chamber. From there the cave is quite accessible all the way to the bottom.
 

Víðgelmir is one of the most intriguing caves in Iceland.

In Iceland, it is hard to bring the words tranquility and waterfall into one sentence. Still, amongst the hundreds of waterfalls scattered all over the country, there is one, Hraunfossar (Lava Falls), which may best be described as tranquil. By Route Nr. 518 on your way to Húsafell, the beautiful falls cascade gently from under the moss-covered lava. The turquoise water tumbles down a series of rock steps into the Hvítá River.

An unusual sight and unique waterfall

Hraunfossar Falls is a rare phenomenon, even in the vast flora of natural wonders in Iceland. Located at the edge of the Hallmundarhraun Lava Field, the clear, cold springs of subterranean water seep through the lava and run as tiny waterfalls and rapids into the Hvítá River.  It is a magnificent sight and a joy to watch all year round as the falls and the surrounding takes on a different shape in different seasons.

Hraunfossar is naturally a popular tourist attraction

The Falls are certainly among the most photographed natural wonders in Iceland. An easy trail along the river provides excellent viewpoints of the enchanting falls. It is quite usual for people to stay by the falls throughout the day to capture the lights and shadows playing their magic. Casting different hue over the riverbed, enhancing rainbows near the water, where the sparkling lava and the rich flora are always taking on new shapes, displaying a new photo-moment at every turn.

Hraunfossar is a place of ethereal beauty where time stands still.
 

 

Below is the location of Hraunfossar on the map of Iceland

Hraunfossar Iceland

The Glanni waterfall in the river Norðurá is believed to be home to elves and gnomes. And believe you me, that is of g importance to the Icelanders who have great respect for those invisible beings coexisting with humans in perfect harmony. Glanni is by no means the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland, nor the largest. But, it is the source of the water flow for Norðurá, one of the greatest salmon fishing rivers in Iceland.

The landscape around Glanni is quite diverse due to its location near to an ancient lava field. But, as Borgarfjörður is the most genial area in Iceland, whereas weather is concerned, you will also find fragrant woods and colourful fauna nearby. Hiking from the parking area at the Birföst village, the Glanni area is ideal for a picnic. It is a most tranquil experience. From a bluff by the river's edge, you will get excellent views of Glanni on your way to the waterfall. It is one of those perfect photo spots.

Once at the waterfall you cannot stand by its edge as it is too close to the river's deepest part. But then again, your visit is not about experiencing the edge, but rather about enjoying the beauty.

 

Below is the location of Glanni on the map of Iceland

The Glanni waterfall in the river Norðurá is believed to be home to elves and gnomes.

At the mention of Barnafossar, or the Children's Falls, Icelanders usually turn quiet. For centuries, the beautiful falls have been overshadowed by a tragedy that goes on dwelling on the Icelandic consciousness. The Falls derive their name from a folklore:

The folklore that gave the waterfall its name

Once, there lived a widow at the Hraunás farm. She was quite well of and independent. Come Christmas and, of course, all the grown-ups were expected to attend evensong at the nearby church at Gilsbakki. The mistress of Hraunás gathered her household to obey their Christian duty. All, except the children and amongst them her two young sons.  The children were told to stay indoors and play. But, the weather was still, with clear skies and full moon, the earth scintillating in the beautiful frosty winter night. It was too big a temptation for the two brothers who loved the marvelous nature surrounding their homestead. When the grown-ups returned from Evensong, the brothers had disappeared. A search party followed their footsteps to a natural stone bridge crossing the river a bit upriver from the falls. The brothers were believed to have slipped on the bridge and fallen into the river. Later, their mother had the bridge destroyed and cast a spell on the waterfall, claiming no man would ever cross it – and survive.

Not the usual waterfall

The Barnafoss Falls is in Hvítá in Borgarfjörður, about 100 kilometers from Reykjavík. It is not a conventional waterfall, but rather a series of rapids bursting out of the surrounding lava plains. The falls are but a one more example of the extraordinary and mesmerizing landscape created by ice and fire.

 

Below is the location of Barnafossar on the map of Iceland

At the mention of Barnafossar, or the Childrens Falls, Icelanders usually turn quiet.