Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls

Written by Sandrine Published on 01/08/2016

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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.

Discovery 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!

Hraunfossar waterfall

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.

Hraunfossar waterfallHraunfossar waterfall

Hraunfossar 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.

BarnafossView of Barnafoss and the river from a little height

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).

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