#waterfall

 

Dettifoss is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. You will find this beast of a fall in North Iceland; in the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, which flows from the magnificent Vatnajökull glacier. The falls are 100 meters wide and have a drop of 45 meters down to advance its flow down the mighty Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. It is indeed powerful in volume, having an average water flow of 400 m3/s during summers.  The origin of the water is south of the waterfall and can be traced to the many outlet glaciers and glacier tongues on the northern side of the large icecap/glacier Vatnajökull.  Dettifoss is on many lists of most spectacular waterfalls in Europe and even in the world.  It is no. 4 on our list of most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. 

Dettifoss and the Canyon is one of the most spectacular sights in Iceland

Standing by the thundering waters cascading into the wide canyon is an experience you are not likely to forget. But, you better take care. The footpath down to the falls on the eastern bank is rough. On the western bank, the slopes are grassy and can thus be slippery in wet weather. But, like the saying goes: "Feel the fear and do it anyway."

Dettifoss is the largest of a series of waterfalls in the Jökulsá river. A little downriver you will find Hafragilsfoss, smaller indeed but just as geologically interesting. A little further upriver there is Selfoss, a nice place to sit down and contemplate after the whirling (and rather wet) experience of Dettifoss.

Dettifoss waterfall

Dettifoss is often listed as one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Europe

Dettifoss is easily accessible from the Ring Road

You will be able to spot Dettifoss a mile away, spraying its waters high up in the atmosphere, thus creating a rainbow bridge across the fall. Dettifoss is easily accessible from both the east side and the west side of the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. When driving on the Ring Road in Iceland coming from the east you can thus either choose road 864 or road 862.  The main parking lot for Dettifoss in on the west side and an asphalt road.  Road 864 is a gravel road and often in a rather bad condition. 

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

Dettifoss is indeed powerful in volume discharge, having an average water flow of 400 m3/s during summers.

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.

 

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.

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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.

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Below is the location of Barnafossar on the map of Iceland

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

 

Dynjandi is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland and the largest waterfall in the Westfjords. It is an importand part of the Westfjord scenic drive and one of the main natural wonders in the region. The waterfall consists of seven waterfalls that each has its name and identity. Dynjandi is more than just a waterfall; it is a feast of waterfalls and one of the most beautiful constructions by mother nature that you will ever see.  The source of the waterfall traces its origin to the upland above the waterfall to lakes, and high volume spring fed rivers. The hiking trail all the way up to the highest, and most impressive part, Dynjandi waterfall, is pure joy and something no one who visits this waterfall should miss. For anyone visiting Dynjandi it is important to stay on the path and not walk outside the marked track. The uppermost waterfall Dynjandi is 100 meters high.  You will recognize it from quite some distance, as it is reminiscent of a bridal veil because it is 30 meters in diameter on top and 60 meters in diameter at the bottom.  If you walk all the way to the top, you can stand quite near the beautiful bridal veil as the waterfall has a convenient flow and is never intimidating.  Another name for this waterfall is The Mountain Fall, but Dynjandi is the original name that has also defined the names of many other places nearby, and no wonder.  It means Thunderous and indeed, the nearer you get, the clearer you will hear its thundering voice.

Dynjandi waterfall in Westfjords

Dynjandi waterfall is on @hiticeland list of most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland

The seven waterfalls of Dynjand

While each of the six waterfalls beneath the main waterfall on top is breathtaking, it is also the cumulative effect of the seven waterfalls that makes Dynjandi so impressive. The sound, the power, the sheer volume of water is unbelievable as you will sense when on the hiking trail.  The hike up to the bridal veil and back should take about an hour and a half to two hours depending on how much you enjoy it.  The names of the waterfalls from the top are; Dynjandi, Hæstahjallafoss, Strompgljúfrafoss, Göngumannfoss, Hríðsvaðsfoss, Hundafoss and Bæjarfoss (sometimes also referred to as Sjónarfoss). Each is a joy to view and enjoyment to photograph. 

Take your time

It is a lovely place deep in the huge fjord Arnarfjörður and a good place to take a break when traveling the Westfjords. You only have to be reasonably fit to walk from the car park to Dynjandi on top. It is a bit uphill through a combination of slopes and stairs. Still, you can stop now and then to rest while you read the signposts.
People have often wondered what gives Dynjandi its extraordinary energy. Well, across the centuries the Icelanders believed there were supernatural beings living in all the seven waterfalls. Some still believe it today as they are very hypnotic. 

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

Dynjandi waterfall in the Westfjords in Iceland

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