#river

 

Officially, settlement began in Iceland in AD 874 when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfur Arnarson came to settle permanently on the island. Throughout the next century other Norwegians, as well as Celts, followed in his footsteps. District assemblies were formed and very early on the settler realized they would need a general assembly to establish laws and settle disputes.  In 930 the Icelandic Parliament, Alþingi, was founded at Þingvellir – and remained there until 1798. Alþingi now resides in Reykjavík. In 1930 Þingvellir National Park was organized, marking Alþingi's 1000th anniversary. Later on, it was expanded to protect the area's nature and environment and in 2004 Þingvellir became a World Heritage Site.

A reason why Þingvellir is such a sacred place for Icelanders

Þingvellir is extremely precious to all Icelanders. It is the single most important place in the history of Iceland. Across the centuries, the area is at the center of every story and every major decision. It was at the center of everybody's fate. The Alþingi assembly wasn't just Iceland's supreme legislative authority, but also the judicial authority until 1271. It was there you would learn whether you would lose a finger, hand or an arm; it was there you were told whether you would hang, burn or drown – usually for misdemeanors or relatively small crimes. But, mind you, according to the Sagas everybody was very well dressed in colorful apparel made of silk and such when attending Alþingi.

ÞIngvellir is an importnat historical place and has also appeard in popular culture

Þingvellir is a site that has more than historical importance but also cultural and geological. It lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The rift is clearly visible in the cracks traversing the region. The largest rift, Almannagjá, is a veritable canyon. As a result, earthquakes are quite common in the area. The Þingvallavatn Lake is Iceland's largest natural lake and enhances the combined beauty of Þingvellir. The landscape at Þingvellir is also stunning with colorful lava and beautiful mountains in the background.  It is a place many visitors like to see and view.  Like many places in Iceland, part of Þingvellir, Almannagjá, appears in Game of Thrones as the road to the Eyrie leading to the Bloody Gate.

Access to Þingvellir and Almannagjá

From Reykjavík, you drive to Mosfellsbær village on the Ring Road Nr. 1. When passed Mosfellsbær you turn east on Þingvallavegur Nr. 36 all the way to one of two to three parking lots.  Access to Þingvellir, Almannagjá, Öxarárfoss, Drekkingarhylur and some of the magnificent landscape is quite simple but requires a bit of a walk. 

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Below is the location of Þingvellir National Park on the map of Iceland

Þingvellir in autumn 2017

Svartifoss (The Black Falls) in the Skaftafell National Park, is surrounded by black, hexagonal basalt columns. It falls 20 m into a beautiful ravine that is accessible along a trail starting at the Visitor's Centre. You can follow the trail to the bottom of the ravine, thus enjoying the fall and the walls up close.In the 20th century, the walls surrounding Svartifoss were an inspiration to various Icelandic architects. The impression from their extraordinary formations is quite apparent in Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, as well as, in the ceiling of the Icelandic National Theatre. Svartifoss is also where the world-renowned sculptor Richard Serra drew his inspiration from for his sculpture Milestones, located in the Viðey Island, offshore from Reykjavik.

The base of the ravine is quite remarkable. Apart from the small lake created by Svartifoss, it is strewn with sharp rocks that have broken away from the hexagonal columns, as new column sections break faster than the water wears down the edges.

The hike from the Visitor's Centre, or the Skaftafell camping site, only takes 30 minutes. But once by the fall, visitors tend to linger for quite some time, simply to admire nature's unique sense of beauty and harmony.

Below is the location of Svarifoss on the map of Iceland

Svartifoss (The Black Falls) in the Skaftafell National Park, is surrounded by black, hexagonal basalt columns

 

In South East Iceland, right by the Ring Road, you will find the unique Skaftafell National Park. The park and the surrounding area is nothing less than a natural wonder.  Skaftafell is a stunning place created throughout history by ferocious natural forces. If there is any one place in Iceland where you can see what is an island made of ice and fire means, it is the Skaftafell National Park.  Today Skaftafell is part of the Vatnajökull National Park.  For anyone traveling the Ring Road, it is a serious consideration to staying in Skaftafell for two to three days and taka advantage of the many spectacular hiking trails available.  It is also a paradise for families traveling with energetic kids on a family vacation. 

Skaftafell is an oasis of warmth beneath the glacier

The Skaftafell park covers the glacier Skaftafellsjökull (an outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull ice cap), the mountain range Kristínartindar and the Morsárdalur valley. The Skaftafell geologic history is marked by eruptions and volcanic activity under the ice cap and glacial floods bringing forth silt and sand to the mighty and dangerous Skeiðarársandur south of the National Park. It is also marked by the calm climate conditions as the great ice cap protects the area against the harsh northern winds. Strangely enough,  although surrounded by the glacier and ice, Skaftafaell has a rather pleasant weather and more sunny days than elsewhere in South Iceland.

Skaftafell hiking trails and reasons to stop

In Skaftafell some great hiking trails are leading from the Visitor's Centre. The most popular trail, a short hike, leads up the hills above to the Svartifoss waterfall.  For those more energetic a few hours more and take the path to Kristínartindar peaks, a fabulous way to get a breathtaking view of Skaftafell and surrounding area. Another exciting trail is the Skaftafellsjökull hike where you have a great view of the glacier tongue.  For those who want to take a day tour a hike to Bæjarstaðarskógur is highly recommended.  So there is no lack of activity and interesting things to do during summer in Skaftafell. It is a place for energetic and healthy outdoor families with intelligent members that like to prepare their vacations and study the places they visit.

The camping ground and visitors center

Skaftafell Visitor Center offers a lot of information about the area, hiking trails, and activities.  The campground is one of the best in Iceland although the soil is quite hard and sometimes difficult for the tent pegs. The time to visit Skaftafell is from the middle of May until the middle of August.  During summer the campground is always packed and a bit like a base camp for activity, a very exciting and excellent place to be during summer. It is also the headquarters for companies that organize exciting hiking tours with guides, like hiking up to the highest mountain in Iceland, Hvannadalshnjúkur. For those who like to stay at one place, Skaftafell is also a neighbor to other interesting natural wonder only a hours drive or less away.  Natural wonders like Jökulsárlón, Fjallsárlón to the east and Fjaðrárgljúfur and Dverghamrar to the West. 

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Below is the location of Skaftafell on the map of Iceland

In South Iceland, you will find the unique Skaftafell National Park

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular natural wonders in Iceland and the second-best known waterfall in our country, next to Gullfoss. It is a beautiful waterfall, and it also has an amazing quality that people love. It is a place where you can experience something amazing and a place where your childhood dream can come through. At the same time, it is a beautiful, mystical, and exciting place. It is much more than a waterfall to stand in front of and look at, and for all those reasons, Seljalandsfoss is probably the most favorite and feel-good tourist destinations in Iceland.
 

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is a beautiful waterfall, and it also has an amazing quality that people love
 

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is a beautiful waterfall, and it also has an amazing quality that people love

 

The origin of Seljalandsfoss waterfall

 

There is an almost endless number of waterfalls in Iceland. High and low, broad and narrow, and all with different volumes of water. It has been estimated that we have more than 1600 waterfalls that are higher than 2 meters. But where do they originate? There are mainly three sources of water for the rivers and streams in Iceland that feed the waterfalls. The glacial rivers, direct runoff streams, and spring-fed rivers. Many tourists and even Icelanders assume that the river Seljalandsá that feeds the waterfall Seljalandsfoss is a glacial river that originates in the glacier Eyjafjallajökull. One reason might be because the glacier is so visible when you are looking at the waterfall from a distance on the main road: the Ring Road nr. 1 when coming from Reykjavík. The river Seljalandsá is, on the other hand, a spring-fed river. Originating under the lava about seven kilometers up on the moors above the waterfall called Hamragarðaheiði. If the river were glacial, the waterfall would lose at least half of its beauty as the glacial river water is packed with ash, rocks, mud, and dirt. As a spring-fed river, it delivers this clean and beautiful water. The only exception is in spring when the melting snow from Hamragarðaheiði fills the river with soil and dirt and partly becomes a direct runoff stream. In contrast, the river Hvítá that feeds Gullfoss is, to a large extent, a glacial river and is seldom very clean and clear.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall during the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in 2010

Seljalandsfoss waterfall during the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in 2010

 

The unique features of Seljalandsfoss

 

Seljalandsfoss is a striking and majestic 62-meter-high waterfall. It is also unique and probably on the list of 10 most photographed natural wonders in Iceland. And always on the list of 10 most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. Not only is the waterfall captivating, but you can also walk behind it on an easily accessible walking trail. When you walk the path, you are actually walking around the waterfall—a kind of three-dimensional experience. The experience and feeling is a kind of mysterious. Many tourists have told me that they dreamed about this experience in their childhood. It is part of some fairy tale or an adventure story, so most people find the walk to be fascinating, even though it is a bit wet. Thus, a light rain-resistant layer is required on the track, at least the part behind the waterfall. The trail is often slippery, a bit narrow, and also a bit steep. Once there, you will get a bit wet (not soaked) from the drizzle and ever so light breeze from the falls. During winter, the whole surrounding and the trail behind the waterfall is very slippery and requires crampons. Sometimes during winter, over some time, the track behind the waterfall is closed because of the danger from falling iceless. Though the trails are wet and a bit slippery venturing behind Seljalandsfoss is by no means dangerous. You have to be careful with your step, and hiking shoes are preferred.

Seljalandsfoss is a striking and majestic 62-meter-high waterfall. It is also unique and probably on the list of 10 most photographed natural wonders in Iceland

Seljalandsfoss is a striking and majestic 62-meter-high waterfall. It is also unique and probably on the list of 10 most photographed natural wonders in Iceland
 

 

Possibly the most photogenic waterfall on the planet and the best time to photograph

 

Seljalandsfoss waterfall and the whole surrounding area is a great place to take photos. From a distance, you see the river falling from the mountain cluster called Eyjafjöll (Island Mountains). Mountains and cliffs that define the waterfall. It is also interesting to visualize that at the end of Ice Age, about 10 thousand years ago, the waterfall fell straight from the cliffs to the ocean as our mighty volcanos had not yet formed the landform and soils below. As you approach, you can use distinctive features around the waterfall, like vegetation, the river, the slope on each side, and the track that leads around the waterfall to enhance your photo. It is also quite popular to take pictures from behind the waterfall. It is an extraordinary experience of being able to observe and capture the surroundings of nature's backstage. For those who are planning a photo tour visiting the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, you should schedule your visit after 6 PM. This is crucial if you want the sun to shine on the area around Seljalandsfoss. You should also visit the waterfall in the timeframe between the middle of May until the beginning of September. Seljalandsfoss is excellent for photography, especially in the evening with the Midnight Sun shining from the West. 

For those who are planning a photo tour visiting the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, you should schedule your visit after 6 PM
For those who are planning a photo tour visiting the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, you should schedule your visit after 6 PM

 

 If you want to take a photo where the sun shines through the waterfall, you need to visit from 9 PM and 11 PM from June 15th and through July 115th. I know this sounds strange to many visitors, but remember that during summer, Iceland has sunlight for 24 hours.

The track behind Seljalandsfoss

The track behind Seljalandsfoss

 

How to go to Seljalandsfoss waterfall

 

Driving to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall is rather simple. Most people start in Reykjavík and drive the 130 kilometers east on Road nr. 1 – the main road that circles around the island and is often referred to as the Ring Road. When you reach the intersection of Road 249, you are there. There is a parking lot, and you need to pay a parking fee. It is a good idea to park the car and walk from the parking lot to the service center. Although the service center is a bit primitive for an attraction of this magnitude, there are toilets and also a small shop and small coffee stand. Once you have parked the car, you can stay as long as you like. On a good day, you can walk the other neighboring waterfall, Gljúfrabúi. It is only around 10 minutes’ walk (650 meters) and enjoyable.

What happens behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Article and photos by Einar Páll Svavarsson tour and photo guide

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Below is the location of Seljalandsfoss waterfall on the map of Iceland

It is quite popular to take photos behind the waterfall Seljalandsfoss

Gullfoss (The Golden Waterfall) in the river Hvítá is one of the best-known landmarks or national wonders in Iceland. There is no admission or entrance fee to view or walk around the Gullfoss waterfall, and parking at the parking lot is also free. Icelanders, being keen travelers themselves, will insist it is the most beautiful waterfall in the world. That is, of course, debatable but beautiful it is and has made it to many lists of the most beautiful waterfalls on the planet. Although, in essence, a flow of water is a mighty natural wonder made up of many geological ingredients.

Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland

Gullfoss waterfall is often on the list of 10 most interesting waterfalls on the planet

The waterfall, origin, and geology

The river Hvítá that feeds the waterfall has many sources that spread out in the Highland like a large tree with many branches. It is mainly a glacial river but also has its origin is spring-fed streams north of the waterfall. One of the primary sources is in Hvítárvatn lake, a glacier lagoon, by the Langjökull glacier in the Icelandic Highland. From the lake, the river rushes 40 km through the Highland before cascading into a two-step gorge that makes up the base of the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall.  The above step facing south being 11 m high and the other level facing west 22 m high. The gorge below the cascades that the river has carved out throughout thousands of years called Hvítárgljúfur is about 40 to 50 meters deep and around 4 kilometers long. All things that contribute to the spectacular natural wonder we call Gullfoss waterfall.

Gullfoss waterfall in spring

Gullfoss waterfall in springtime

The force and flow of the water

Even though Gullfoss is always a powerful sight with a massive flood of water as the mighty river Hvítá falls down to the gorge, there is a massive difference in the volume deepening on the time of year. The average flow is about 110 cubic meters per. Second. In its most aggressive mode during spring, the river can twentyfold, and the flow becomes around 1800 to 2000 cubic meters. Occasionally the current increases to a point where the lower waterfall disappears as the water fills the gorge. So very much like many other natural wonders in Iceland Gullfoss waterfall is not static but an ever-changing phenomenon.

The volume of the waterfall at Gullfoss can vary 20 fold between seasons

The volume of the waterfall at Gullfoss can vary 20 fold between seasons 

Service at the tourist attraction

Even as early as the late 19th century, Gullfoss became a tourist attraction. Possibly one of the first natural wonders that visitors had to see and experience. Explorers that came to Iceland usually advertised the waterfall as one of the most exciting places to visit in Iceland. So Gullfoss early became one of our main attractions. It wasn’t until the last two decades that the number of visitors explodes. Accordingly, Icelanders and people responsible for the region around the waterfall developed the area for both service and safety. Today the area around Gullfoss is in good condition to accept thousands of visitors every day. There are good food and restroom service. The paths are great for viewing both at the upper and lower level.

Gullfoss in late winter when the volume is at minimum and the blue color is quite visible

Gullfoss in late winter when the volume is at minimum and the blue color is quite visible

Like many places in Iceland Gullfoss has its folklore

Upriver from Gullfoss, you’ll find beautiful and dangerous rapids that only the foolhardy will try to cross. And some have. One of them was a young man who was overseeing his father’s livestock on the river’s west bank. On the opposite side, a young woman had the same duty to her family. By and by, they started communicating by shouting to each other over the water’s cacophony. As fate would have it, they fell in love, and the young man shouted a proposal across the river. The young woman accepted on one condition: that he crosses the river to seal their engagement. That he did, and they lived happily ever after.

Gullfoss waterfall

The lower part and the canyon grabbing the Hvítá river as it travels farther to the shoreline

History: The farmer’s daughter that saved the waterfall

In the early 20th century interest in producing electricity increase as Iceland had many rivers and waterfalls. A farmer who held the Hvítá water rights contracted Gullfoss to an English firm with a plan to build a hydroelectric power station. The farmer’s daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, became so incensed that she threatened to throw herself into the falls if her father didn’t withdraw the contract. She fought this impending disaster alone until a young lawyer – who later became Iceland’s first president – joined her. Together they managed to save the waterfalls. In 1978, the farmer’s daughter was commemorated by a monument by her much beloved Gullfoss.

Hvítárgljúfur that the river craved out over a period of thousands of years

Hvítárgljúfur that the river craved out over a period of thousands of years

Photographing Gullfoss

Most visitors find it sufficient to take a selfie on either the upper or lower level or the lower level of Gullfoss. The two most common viewing points. Many visitors also take photos from the path that stretches from the lower level to the small cliff west of the upper waterfall. This part is usually closed during winter and should not be used when closed signs are up. The variables that define Gullfoss, on the other hand, are many and of great interest to serious photographers. We have mentioned the volume of water that varies between seasons, winter season is also impressive in itself when the waterfall is frozen. Even during summer, the long hours of sunlight define infinite possibilities to photograph this spectacular natural wonder. Not to mention the nights the northern lights come out.

Gullfoss waterfall

Gullfoss waterfall and the walking path towards the viewing panel near the waterfall

Access is easy and part of the popular route Golden Circle

As Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and with Þingvellir and Geysir is part of the popular route Golden Circle. Gullfoss is usually quite crowded during high season in summer, at least during the day. There are two parking lots, and both give a good view of the waterfall.  Our preference for viewing is the lower parking lot. A great place to get good photos and probably the best angle for photography. Walking near this powerful waterfall requires caution, especially during winter when the walking paths are slippery as well as the area near the waterfall. From Reykjavík, you drive to Mosfellsbær village on the Ring Road Nr. 1. When passed Mosfellsbær you turn east on Þingvallavegur Nr. 36 all the way to Lyngdalsheiðavegur Nr. 365 to the tiny village Laugarvatn. From Laugarvatn you take the road Nr. 37, Laugarvatnsvegur to Road Nr. 35 that will get you to Gullfoss waterfall.

Article and photos by Einar Páll Svavarsson tour and photo guide

Interested in waterfalls: Here you can book a guided tour with Hit Iceland to Gullfoss, the Golden Circle and six other waterfalls.

Golden Circle and the seven waterfslls

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Below is the location of Gullfoss waterfall on the map of Iceland

Gullfoss waterfall in summer - part of the Golden Circle Tour

 

At the edge of the Icelandic Highlands at the uppermost part of Þjórsárdalur valley, you will find one of the most beautiful small oasis in Iceland. There are actually many places you label as an oasis in Iceland and Gjáin is most definitely on of the most beautiful. One of the fascinating factors is the size.  Gjáin is a tiny valley with small picturesque waterfalls, clear, tranquil ponds and amazing delicate volcanic structures it is like a sample of the Icelandic nature. For visitors, it is almost surprising as it appears like from nowhere and only visible as you approach the edge of the tiny valley.  Even the lava in this area takes on beautiful form in Gjáin. You will find lava caves and a lot of basalt column as well as volcanic tuft.

A place to visit in summer

It is a beautiful place to visit but only from the beginning of June until the beginning of October.  Outside that time of year, it is either not accessible and filled with snow or simply not interesting due to dull colors and early spring water.  In summer, on the other hand, the small valley is covered with lush green grass and vegetation.  It is believed to have been the riverbed of the river Þjórsá in earlier days. Nowadays, it is Rauðá (the Red River) running through the valley, beautifully framed by stunning rock formations, displaying its beautiful waterfall, Gjárfoss.

In popular culture

In season 4 episode 5 in the Game of Thrones Arya Stark and her traveling "companion" Sandor Clegane (The Hound) come to a resting place and continue their ongoing dispute. Their resting place was filmed here in Gjáin in Iceland.

Gjain location

Gjáin's location is a mere 10-15 minutes hike from the Saga Age Farm at Stöng. It is a great addition when traveling the south countryside and visiting the waterfalls Háifoss and Hjálparfoss.  It is such beautiful, dream-like valley you'll expect to see elves and fairies playing along with the riverbanks. You might, as these tiny figures are known to reveal themselves to humans now and then. Whether you'll be able to spot them or not, you will most certainly feel the waterfall spirit as it is very powerful.

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Below is the location of Gjáin on the map of Iceland

Gjain is a beautiful place to visit but only from the beginning of June until the beginning of October

 

Fjaðrárgljúfur int the south region in Iceland is a 100 m deep and 2 km long spectacular canyon close to Kirkjubæjarklaustur. With steep palagonite walls, the river Fjaðrá snakes its way along the canyon from Geirlandshraun Mountain to the large Skaftá River.  The bedrock is mostly palagonite from the "cold" period of the Ice Age some two million years ago. Ever since the river has pottered about carving this beautiful canyon for everyone to admire.  The water level of the river is rather a low in current times and fed by a spring fed river.

A wonder world from above as well as from the river banks

Due to the water level, hikers can safely walk inside the canyon although having to do some wading now and then. It is a highly adventures hike, and the deeper into the canyon you walk, the more exotic it becomes. The deepest part of the canyon is truly a wonder world of water, cliffs, vegetation and adventures forms.  Most visitors prefer to walk along the hiking trail along the edge of the canyon to get the best of both worlds; being able to observe the fantastic rock formations in the canyon itself while enjoying the view mountain view from the top.  To spend a bit of time and do both is the best option and the most rewarding.

A natural wonder discovered by tourists

Although Fjaðrárgljúfur is only a short distance from the Ring Road Nr 1 in Iceland, it has never been particularly popular among Icelanders.  Most of the Icelanders traveling the Ring Road before the tourist explosion began skipped this magnificent natural wonder when driving the Ring Road.  It is one of the places tourists and visitors discovered and showed much more interest in than Icelanders ever did. When traveling the ring road in a rent a car or your vehicle you take a turn on the Ring Road Nr. 1 near Kirkjubæjarklaustur north to Road Nr. 206 and you only need to drive approximately 3 kilometers to reach the parking lot at Fjaðrárgljúfur.

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Below is the location of Fjaðrárgljúfur on the map of Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur, a 100 m deep and 2 km long canyon close to Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

 

This beautiful waterfall Goðafoss is in the glacial river Skjálfandafljót. The river has its origin deep in the Icelandic highland and runs from the highland through the Bárðardalur valley, all the way from Sprengisandur in the Highlands. The fall itself is only 12 meters high and 30 meters wide but the rock formation in and around the waterfall make it one of the greatest natural wonders in Iceland. According to many Goðafoss waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. According to the locals, it is often labeled the "Beauty," versus its neighboring Dettifoss, the "Beast."

The waterfall Goðafoss is part of our religious history

Goðafoss means the waterfall of the gods and tracks its name back to the year 1000.  It was the year the law-speaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði declared Christianity to be the official religion in Iceland. When the parliamentary representatives at the Althing couldn't find a solution to the question whether Iceland should stay heathen or convert to Christianity, Þorgeir was given the task of making that decision. He crawled into his tent, buried himself beneath a stack of hides and three days emerged with his decision. The Icelanders would be Christian. It was, of course, socio-economically sensible.  Þorgeir was a chieftain in the northeast region. Upon returning home after the momentous declaration (which, by the way, didn't meet one objection) he threw all his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall. As Þorgeir had hitherto been a heathen priest, this was a highly symbolic gesture.

Goðafoss is easily accessible

The waterfall Goðafoss is easaly accessible as it is just by the Ring Road Nr. 1 in the northern region. You don't even have to leave your car to admire it though it is worth it. There are great paths on both the east side and the west side of the waterfall, and it is equally as stunning in winter and summer.  It is a time worth spending at least one to two hours to admire and even more if you are a serious photographer.

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Below is the location of Goðafoss waterfall on the map of Iceland

Goðafoss in summer

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.
 

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Below is the location of Hraunfossar on the map of Iceland

Hraunfossar Iceland

 

For the longest time the Glymur waterfall with a cascade of 198 m, was the tallest waterfall in Iceland. Then in 2011 it was surpassed by a new waterfall by Morsárjökull glacier due to an eruption. Glymur is part of the river Botnsá in Hvalfjörður and falls alongside the Hvalfell mountain into a steep canyon. The waterfall is accessible from a parking area by the road. For the best view, it is quite pleasant to hike to the top of the waterfall along marked trails.

You can only observe the waterfall from the east side. The trail begins by passing through a gate and a short walk along a road marked by yellow-painted rocks. A few hundred meters along the road, the trail drops over a small cliff face and descends through a cave down to the river. During summer, a small wooden pole is laid across the river with and adjacent cable for a handhold, where hikers can cross to the eastern side. Here the trail climbs steeply through muddy, rocky and loose gravel areas and at times it skirts steep drop-offs. In 1-2 km, you will reach the area most ideal for viewing the waterfall. You can, of course, hike further upwards to fully enjoy the spectacular view of the Hvalfjörður fjord, its unusual flora and fauna and, of course, the majestic mountains.
 

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Below is the location of Glymur on the map of Iceland

For the longest time the Glymur waterfall with a cascade of 198 m, was the tallest waterfall in Iceland.

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