#waterfall

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

 

Skógar is a tiny hamlet on the south shore of Iceland right by the Ring Road.  Although best known in Iceland for most of the 20th century for its regional primary and middle school serving the surrounding rural area, today it is mostly recognized for the stunning waterfall Skógafoss. The waterfall is one of the best-known landmarks in Iceland and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. Skógar also was one of the first places in Iceland offering a hotel accommodation for tourists during summer like most district schools, at that time.  It was quite common that the dormitory was used as a hotel during the summer season. Like the building at Skógar, the School buildings and dormitory were beautiful well designed and good buildings. It is still a hotel, but now an all year round as both communication and the educational system has changed in Iceland.

A one of a kind museum and another waterfall

For many reasons the small hamlet Skógar and Skógafoss waterfall has developed into a large-scale tourist attraction in Iceland.  The whole area is stunning with the waterfall, green hills and the glacier in the background. Skógar also has a long history of interest among visitors and tourists offering accommodation long before others in the rural area in Iceland.  The popular hiking trail Fimmvörðuháls, leading between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull glacier and Mýrdalsjökull glacier to Þórsmörk, starts at Skógar.  There is also another waterfall Kvernufoss in the neighborhood becoming increasingly popular. But last but not least is the Skógar cultural and heritage museum where you can see local artifacts related to the living conditions in Iceland for many centuries.  It is one of the most interesting museums in Iceland and opens all year round.

Access to Skógar is as simple as it gets in Iceland

If you are driving on the Ring Road Skógar and Skógafoss is almost impossible to miss.  The waterfall and the hamlet are quite visible from the Road Nr. 1.  It is located between the village of Hvolsvöllur and Vík at the west end of Sólheimasandur.  Anyone visiting Skógar should take the time to visit Kvernufoss waterfall and the museum.  Skógar also has excellent accommodation, a great camping site and wonderful hiking trails up the hill by Skógarfoss waterfall. 

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Below is the location of Skogar on the map of Iceland

Skógar is a tiny hamlet on the south shore of Iceland right by the Ring Road

 

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.

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

Hafragilsfoss waterfall in Jökulsárgljúfur

 

The waterfall Faxi in the river Tungufljót in South region in Iceland is only twelve kilometers from the famous Geysir hot spring area and twenty kilometers from the famous waterfall Gullfoss. The origin of Tungufljót river is in the lake Sandvatn or Sandlake quite visible if you visit Jarlhettur and Hagavatn nearby.  Faxi has been described as a small version of Gullfoss but of course not as powerful. The waterfall is 80 meters wide and seven meters high.  It is a beautiful waterfall placed in a wonderful and peaceful landscape.  It is also possible to walk quite near the waterfall on the lower level and feel the drizzle from the water.  A photo option to capture the waterfall from the upper level is also a good idea.  Although never lacking water the waterfall has also been named Vatnsleysufoss meaning the waterfall with no water or the waterfall with shortage of water.

Faxi waterfall is part of the Golden Circle Drive

Many visitors in Iceland prefer to drive the golden circle road trip. It is a simple all year round day trip from Reykjavík with many interesting stops and impressive historical spots and natural wonders.  The interesting thing about adding Faxi waterfall to that trip is the possibility to be in proximity to the flowing stream of water.  The waterfall is also wide and high enough to be quite impressive.  For people that have rarely seen a waterfall, it is a joy both sight and sound.

Access to Faxi waterfall Faxafoss is easy all year round

If you are driving from Reykjavík the capital you take the road Vesturlandsvegur Road Nr. 1 through the town Mosfellsbær.  On the edge of Mosfellsbær you take the Road Nr. 361 Þingvallavegur.  When you are passed the lake Þingvallavatn you take a turn west on Road Nr. 365 Lyngdalsheiðavegur. When you come to the small village Laugarvatn you continue on Road Nr. 37 Laugarvatnsvegur until you turn on Road Nr. 35 that will take you to the Faxi waterfall.

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 Faxi waterfall on the map of Iceland

Faxi waterfall is part of the Golden Circle Drive

 

The 20-meter high waterfall Aldeyjarfoss in the river Skjálfandafljót is a powerful stream of glacial water forcing its way from the Icelandic Highland between stunning basalt columns cliffs.  Proximity to the waterfall is almost intimidating as its power, and the muddy color is somehow threatening.  The river and the waterfall are carrying tons of soil and dirt from under the glacier Vatnajökull ice cap determined to deliver it to the northern shore where the river meets the open sea.  But this company of a beautiful basalt column cliffs and the mighty stream of dirt and water is a breathtaking combination.  And the nature of it is more like a beast than beauty.

Very photogenic but quite difficult to grab

Some of us consider the waterfall to be a photographic gem. Mainly because of its stunning basalt column surrounding in addition to the so-called Skessukatlar formation that is also characteristic for the cliff around the waterfall. Skessukatlar or “Giantess Kettle” are potholes in the surrounding walls formed by small stones in a whirlpool in the powerful stream. But you rarely see a photo of the waterfall that is stunning.  Not as stunning as standing in front of the beast. It is simply difficult to capture. 

Access to Aldeyjarfoss waterfall

The waterfall Aldeyjarfoss is located at the end of a long valley Bárðardalur in northern Iceland. On the Road Nr. 1 by another famous waterfall in the river Skjálfandafljót, Goðafoss, you turn south on Road Nr. 842 to the south.  The drive to Aldeyjarfoss is 40 kilometers, and at the end, you turn to Road F26, Sprengisandsleið, and just drive about 3 kilometers. The F road is a mountain road accessible only for 4WD vehicles. The 3 kilometers are on the other hand quite easy to drive for any vehicle, but if you decide to go farther on F26 you need to a 4WD.

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

The 20-meter high waterfall Aldeyjarfoss in the river Skjálfandafljót is a powerful stream of glacial water forcing its way from the Icelandic Highland

Travelling specifically around the westfjords of Iceland is a trip on its own. Preferably one should spend at least a week threading each fjords with their powerful mountains and their small and charming towns. This is photo is from Arnarfjörður, the second largest fjord of the westfjords. Situated between Tálkanafjörður and Dýrafjörður is 30 km long and 10 km at its widest. With this in mind, it makes sense that within Arnarfjörður there are a few smaller fjords one of them is Dynjandavogur where the majestic waterfall Dynjandi is along with a camping area.

This is photo is from Arnarfjörður, the second largest fjord of the westfjords.

One thing that Iceland doesn't lack is water.

Five “two for one waterfall” in Iceland

What is special about Ófærufoss is the amount of viewpoints you can see it from, giving you a new perspective of this impressive waterfall each time. At first, when driving towards Ófærufoss you will see it from above, along with a curve of basalt rock formation leading to the waterfall. After driving down to the canyon you can take an hour long hike towards the waterfall. When you have reached it you can walk/climb to see the pool in which the water falls down. That is where this photo is from, but we should mention it can be a bit slippery to take this detour.

When you have reached the waterfall you can walk/climb to see the pool in which the water falls down.

 

Iceland has so many waterfalls that it could be labeled the country of the thousand waterfalls, just as Finland is often labeled the land of thousands of lakes. In some fjords, like the beautiful Mjóifjörður in the East Region water seems to float down the mountains every 50 meters in the 18 kilometers fjord, on both sides.  In the Highland, you can hardly walk a few kilometers without running into some a creek or a river that has a fall at some point.  But it is not only the water, be it glacial or a clear spring water, but also the beauty of how the waterfalls that capture our attention. Most of these waterfalls don't even have a name.

Waterfalls are natural wonders

Most of the time we look at the waterfalls with admiration as the water continually finds it way over a cliff, in a riff or down a slope. The most spectacular ones have a name, and some are so stunning that people consider them a natural wonder. In Iceland, we have many such waterfalls. At least 10 to 15 waterfalls are major tourist attractions in Iceland.

Waterfall at Steingrímsfjarðarheiði in the West Fjords

Some waterfalls are impressive and even beautiful but lack the appropriate location and surrounding. One such waterfall is by the road in the West Fjords at the mountain pass or Morse Steingrímsfjarðarheiði.  To our knowledge, the waterfall doesn't have a name.  It is located in a harsh environment and often the surrounding snow doesn't disappear during summer because of the continuing cold. But the waterfall is quite stunning and deserves attention.  Most of the visitors drive by, but it is entirely worth it to stop and view this delightful waterfall which, by the way, is quite photogenetic. 

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Below is the location of Steingrímsfjarðarheiði on the map of Iceland

One such waterfall is by the road in the West Fjords at the mountain pass or Morse Steingrímsfjarðarheiði.

 

Háifoss, The high waterfall,  is one of the Highest and also one of the most striking waterfalls in Iceland. Placed in a magnificent but relatively narrow gorge leading into the Icelandic Highland from the valley Þjórsárdalur it is one of the major waterfall attractions in Iceland. It is part of the river Fossá or Waterfall River. The height is impressive as it falls the 122 meters down the two million years old cliff. It is a beautiful sight from top to bottom including the geologically rich background in the cliffs.  It is not a lonely waterfall as it lives in the bottom of the gorge with its dear friend and companion for thousands of years, the waterfall Granni or Neighbour.

When discovered it was thought to be the highest waterfall in Europe

The waterfall wasn't actually discovered until the first decade of the 20th century and was at that time believed to be not only the highest waterfall in Iceland but the highest in Europe. It was a natural scientist and geologist Dr. Helgi Pjetursson, the first Icelander to obtain a Ph.D. in geology, who wrote an article about the waterfall in a local paper Ísfold in July 1910 and named the waterfall Háifoss.  Since then the name has stuck.

Access is not complicated but might be an effort

Access to this beautiful natural wonder is quite easy considering the location on the edge of the Highland. If you are traveling from Reykjavík, you take the Ring Road nr. 1 east.  After you pass the town Selfoss, you turn left road nr. 30 after approximately 16 kilometers.  After 17 kilometers on road 30, you turn right and east on Road 32 and enter the great valley Þjórsárdalur; a place that is both rich in natural wonders and history.  Ahead of you is a 45-kilometer drive to the mountain track that leads to Háifoss. Unfortunately, this seven-kilometer track is not a road for small vehicles. Here you need a good 4X4 vehicle.  If you have a small car, you can aways take a walk to enhance your health of fourteen kilometers back and forth and gain a great hiking tour with a spectacular view.            

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

Háifoss waterfall in Iceland

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