Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls

  1. Iceland
  2. West Iceland
  3. Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls
Written by SandrinePublished on 08/01/16

These two waterfalls are located next to each other a few kilometres from Reykholt, in the west of Iceland. Hraunfossar is an incredible succession of nets of water stretching for almost 1km! Barnafoss is further east, upstream on the Hvítá River.

1Discovery of the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls

Access to the site is easy from road 518 (tarred), the car park is well signposted. Coming from the west, it is possible to see the first fruits of Hraunfossar from the road. From the car park, a path leads to the waterfalls. After a few meters, you can see Hraunfossar very quickly and you can only be delighted to discover this place!

The Hraunfossar waterfall is really impressive!

Here, there is no watercourse upstream of the cascade, the water rises directly from the earth. It flows in small nets under the lava field to the north of the river, which has since been covered by vegetation, before falling into the Hvítá and forming turquoise whirlpools. Only the last meters are visible, which gives even more charm to this waterfall. The trail runs along the waterfall for several hundred metres and lookouts have been set up to appreciate the site. It is also possible to go down to the water's edge (no trail) to take pictures from another angle.

Zoom on Hraunfossar's little nets of water
View of Hraunfossar from the bridge

2Hraunfossar and Barnafoss: see waterfalls closer

The path then splits in two. Starting on the left, we arrive to a small bridge that crosses the river. From here, on the left, you can enjoy another view of Hraunfossar, but the most interesting is on the right, where you can see Barnafoss. Here, the Hvítá is narrower and passes through a small canyon dug by the water. From the bridge, we can admire the flood of water, always with this beautiful blue color that pulls this time on the white. When you look closely, you can see a small natural arch beneath which the water rushes in. Barnafoss, which means "The children's waterfall", takes its name from a local story, according to which two children drowned while playing on a natural bridge above the waterfall. Their mother then destroyed the bridge.

Barnafoss's comeback
View of the surroundings above Barnafoss

After the bridge, the trail continues for a few metres across the other bank. A promontory offers new views of the two waterfalls. If you turn right at the fork, the path stays on the right bank and leads to another lookout point just above Barnafoss.

The car park also has a toilet (200 isk).

Our opinion
We like

The incredible waterfalls

Trails and lookouts with several views

The footbridge over Barnafoss

About us

We are Sandrine and Flo, French thirty-somethings. In 2019 we quit everything to live our dream, become nomads and travel around the world. We left with our baby, Lena, who was only 5 months old at the time. After a first trip around the Pacific Ocean by plane and a long 3 months stay in Hawaii, we left to discover Iceland for 3 months on board our 4WD pickup truck and truck camper. Then we continued our adventure in North America.

Today, if we can continue this adventure, it is above all thanks to our blog, Smartrippers! We created it one day in 2016, with the desire to share our good travel tips, without thinking that it would lead us there! We have developed it a lot over the years and have become experts on our 3 favorite destinations: Hawaii, Iceland and the American West. We now guide you to these destinations to help you plan the trip of your dreams!

Follow our adventures!