#iceland

This amazing rock formation is said to have formed during Ice Age, when sea level was higher and its waves formed the facade of the rocks. These columnar basalt forms are called Dverghamrar or The Dwarf Cliffs. It is a perfect pitstop when travelling in the southern region of Iceland, situated only 10 km east of the Kirkjubæjarklaustur village. This might be one of the most grand homes of dwarfs and elves in Iceland so naturally the cliffs are treated respectfully, since no one wants to risk disturbing these mystical creatures with a history of cruel revenges.

These columnar basalt forms are called Dverghamrar or The Dwarf Cliffs

Much of the photos from Iceland are naturally stunning pictures of natural wonders during the blooming summer months. Waterfalls surrounded by colorful vegetation, gray and green moss over fields of lava, rhyolite mountains with stunning colors and stunning overview of beautiful fjords and the list can go on. In winter most of the landscape is either covered with snow or quite monotonous and colorless.

Goðafoss during winter

Understandably most of our visitors in Iceland come here to see the natural wonders, waterfalls, hot springs, glacier lagoons, and other fascinating attractions. This requires a lot of traveling around the country, either in your own vehicle, a rent a car, with a tour operator or on a bus. One of the interesting things many visitors forget when organizing a trip to Iceland is to take the time to visit some of the highly attractive towns and villages around the coastline.

There are villages with a fascinating history like Fáskrúðsfjörður and Bíldudalur

Barnafoss or Children’s Fall is an unusual waterfall, in the river Hvítá in Borgarfjörður, western Iceland. As you can see on the photo it is a beautiful spot to visit in the autumn, when the orange turned moss contrasts with the clear blue of the water. Like with many places in Iceland, a folklore is placed by this waterfall. In this case, as the name might hint at, it’s a sad story, involving death of two children.

Barnafoss or Children’s Fall is an unusual waterfall, in the river Hvítá in Borgarfjörður

If you ask an Icelander about the most beautiful place in the country, many would reply Þórsmörk. For many Icelanders, Þórsmörk is their favorite place for camping and visiting during summer and the number one place if they had to set up a list of favorite locations in  Icelandic nature.  It is almost romantic and comparable to our sacred place Þingvellir except in the Highland. It is an oasis surrounded and protected by mighty rivers, mountains, mountain ridges, cliffs, and glaciers.  Although defined as the Highland the altitude is not as high as in most of the Highland which is why Þórsmörk has more vegetation than most places in the Highland. It is an area of magnificent landscape, mighty rivers, endless creeks and peaks, beautiful canyons, impressive hiking trails, continuously moving glacier tongues, excellent camping areas and infinitive ways to have an outdoor adventure. Not to forget proximity to active volcanos that have just recently spared glowing lava down into some of its canyons.

Þórsmörk is hiker's paradise

There are many excellent hiking trails in Þórsmörk. Two of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland end in Þórsmörk. Laugavegur hiking trail from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk and Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail from Skógar and Skógafoss waterfall to Þórsmörk.  Both hiking trails are spectacular and so is most of the places and landscape in Þórsmörk. If your trip to Iceland and travel in Iceland takes you to Þórsmörk, we recommend spending at least two to three days hiking and enjoying nature in this remarkable place.

Access is not easy and requires a good 4X4 vehicle

Although it is quite easy to find the way to Þórsmörk by taking a turn on Road Nr. 1 to the Road Nr. 249 that also leads to Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the road to Þórsmörk is a rough and challenging Highland Road. As Road Nr. 249 continuous from Seljalandsfoss it turns into F249, Mountain Road Nr. 249, within eight kilometers.  From there by the old bridge over the river Markarfljót, it is a rugged road only for a large 4X4 vehicle.  There are some streams, creeks, and rivers you need to cross and most of them can change from “small” too big in a heartbeat due to rain, warmth and all kinds of climate related matters.  Driving to Þórsmörk in a small car is simply and plainly irresponsible and can be very dangerous.  One of the best options is to take a bus if you don't want to go through the expense of hiring a good 4X4 vehicle. 

For many Icelanders, Þórsmörk is their favorite place
Oct 28 2016

Another photograph from our capital city, Reykjavík. Here we have an overview of Hlíðar, one of the cities’ most popular residential neighbourhoods. It is positioned very central, in walking distance to the centre, but still far enough from it to be albe to avoid the busy centre if wanted. With good schools and many playgrounds this neighbourhood is quite family orientated. Plus the fact that it is so close to Laugardalslaug, Reykjavík biggest public swimming pool. In the back we see the infamous Esja, which has been called the mother of Reykjavík.

Here we have an overview of Hlíðar.

The canyon Jökulsárgljúfur is one of the most spectacular and stunning natural wonders in Iceland. The canyon is usually underrated as it is in the northeastern region of Iceland, almost as far as possible from the capital Reykjavík.  But also to being a great place to visit it is furthermore the home of many other spectacular attractions, like waterfalls and places you won't see anywhere else in Iceland or on the planet for that matter.  Although the waterfall Dettifoss is the big attraction in Jökulsárgljúfur, there is another beautiful waterfall Hafragilsfoss a short distance north of Dettifoss in Jökulsárgljúfur.  Although not in a walking distance the drive is quite short.

A great place to view Jökulsárgljúfur canyon

The waterfall Hafragilsfoss is one of the spectacular waterfalls in the mighty river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. The river is one of the largest and most powerful rivers in Iceland and an inseparable part of the canyon Jökulsárgljúfur. The falls approximately 30 meters high and about 90 meters wide is surrounded by cliffs.  Proximity to the waterfall is quite steep on the west side and not so convenient on the east side either, so a telephoto lens is recommended if you want to take a closeup photo.  In addition to being a great waterfall the parking lot for Hafragilsfoss and the path to the panel, is also one of the best places to view the canyon Jökulsárgljúfur.  You can see the canyon almost all the way south to Dettifoss and also north where you have a view of part of Hólmatungur.

Access is quite easy

Like most of the Jökulsárgljúfur and the Natural wonders in the canyon, we recommend highly viewing it from the east side. Although the road is a bit more challenging and a gravel road the view to Hafragilsfoss and the parking lot on the east side is much more impressive. So if you are coming from Myvatn lake on the Ring Road Nr. 1 you must go over the bridge on the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum and take a turn left almost immediately after you pass the bridge north on Road Nr. 864 Hólsfjallavegur. The parking lot by Hafragilsfoss is about 32 kilometers drive.

Hafragilsfoss waterfall in Jökulsárgljúfur

It is easy, when covering Iceland in pictures and writing, as we do here at Hit Iceland to get lost in the subject of overwhelming waterfalls, majestic mountains and other natural wonders. But what is also important to mention are the details that bind all these things together. Whether it be tiny rock formations or the vegetation, like in this photograph. These circles are called Nornabaugar directly translated to English as Witch's Rings. They are formed by a mushroom trying to grow in Iceland’s’ sensitive highland regions.

Nornabaugar directly translated to English as Witch's Rings.

This waterfall is sometimes described as a treasure in the Icelandic landscape and the flora of natural wonders. It's nearby sibling Seljalandsfoss waterfall, only in a short walking distance away, is one of Iceland's most renowned attractions. Gljúfrabúi is, on the other hand, gaining more and more attention and most of the visitors viewing Seljalandsfoss also take the time to look at Gljúfrabúi.  Although coming from the same cliff, there are some striking differences between the two waterfalls.

A beautiful name and stunning waterfall

There is something wonderful about the Icelandic name Gljúfrabúi. It means Gorge Dweller.  It conveys the feeling of a peaceful being living in this cave-like place with water falling from the 40-meter cliff. The name is not very old and is believed to originate in a poem by Iceland's most beloved poets Jónas Hallgrímsson who was also a natural scientist.  And this is the reality of the waterfall rimmed in a narrow gorge producing its drizzle and this cold damp like a cold sauna. You need to be prepared to enter this wet world of the Gorge Dweller.  The crack is narrow and the open cave is muggy. It is not an easy entrance but once inside you might think of a cathedral for creatures from another world. Although mostly dark inside and under the waterfall there is a lot of vegetation on the rocks because of the constant moist. In addition to the inside viewing you can also climb the narrow path on the outside and up to the cliff in front of the waterfall and view it from above.  Both places require extreme caution and good hiking shoes.

Access to get there is easy

This waterfall, like Seljalandsfoss, is conveniently located a short distance from the Ring Road, Road Nr. 1, in the southern region in Iceland.  It is only one and a half kilometer from the intersection of Road Nr. 1 and Road Nr. 249 Þórsmerkurvegur, the road leading to Þórsmörk in the Icelandic Highland.

The crack is narrow and the open cave is muggy.

To be on your own placed in a large landscape with no sound other than the waves on the beach and the songs of birds looking for food in the sand or beneath the surface of the sea is an experience of a lifetime. A sanctuary from all the noises you recognize so well from constantly living in a large city with its traffic, disturbances, threats, intimidation and unclean air.   You are surrounded by beauty and stillness at the same time overpowered by the magnitude of the landscape.

You are surrounded by beauty and stillness at the same time overpowered by the magnitude of the landscape.

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