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Bruarfoss Waterfall; One of the Most Breathtaking Waterfalls in Iceland

The Land of Fire and Ice is known for its waterfalls, boasting more than 10,000 of them! This makes choosing which ones to visit first a nearly impossible task if you've never been to the island before. But there definitely are a few must-visit sites to prioritize, and that's why we're giving you the local lowdown. One of these sites is Bruarfoss Waterfall.


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What Makes Bruarfoss Waterfall So Special?


The name Bruarfoss Waterfall means 'Bridge Waterfall'. Unfortunately, the original reason why it was named as such is no longer visible. The natural stone arch, that acted as a bridge, collapsed between the 15th and 16th centuries.


A new bridge was only built in the 20th century and is what we see there today. Although this waterfall is relatively small, clocking in at just 5 meters tall, it's still a breathtaking site in one of the most picturesque settings you'll find here in Iceland.


Where is Bruarfoss in Iceland?


Bruarfoss Waterfall is approximately 95 kilometers east of the capital city of Reykjavík. This is about a 1.5-hour drive, making a visit as a day trip possible. But since the waterfall is so conveniently located along one of our main roads and popular road trip routes, the Golden Circle, we highly recommend that you include Bruarfoss as a stop along a road trip around the island.



bruarfoss waterfall

How to Get to Bruarfoss Waterfall


There are essentially two ways of getting to Bruarfoss Waterfall:


On a Guided Tour


There are plenty of tour operators and guides here on the island that will give you the opportunity to visit the waterfall, either as part of an existing tour package or as part of a private tour. The best place to depart from will be Reykjavík. If you’re planning on visiting Iceland during our busy summer season, we’ll advise you to book well in advance.


By Driving Yourself


This will always be the best way of exploring the island and staying in full control of your time and itinerary. Driving to Bruarfoss Falls from Reykjavík is very easy. Simply get onto the Ring Road and drive east till you reach the Route 35 intersection.


Here you turn right onto Route 35 and then take a left onto Route 37 at the Laugarvatn junction. Continue with Route 37 for about 5 kilometers till you see the signs toward a gravel road on your left. Take the turn – it will take you straight to the Bruarfoss Waterfall parking area.

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The Legend Surrounding Bruarfoss Waterfall


In Iceland, it can often be hard to distinguish historical facts from the mythological and legendary tales retold through centuries. At Bruarfoss we have the same situation regarding the original bridge.


It is said that the original bridge did not collapse by itself, but that it was actually demolished by a follower of Skaholt Episcopal Church. And the apparent reason was quite dreadful. The country was going through a severe drought and by demolishing the bridge they kept peasants from entering their fields with an abundance of food.


The Bruarfoss Waterfall Hike


Seeing this waterfall will take a bit of effort, but it's well worth it. After parking in the parking area, you will need to walk across the Bruara riverbed and then follow the riverbed for roughly 20 minutes till you see a private property sign.


Turn right in the direction of the summerhouse. Simply continue on with the path for roughly a kilometer till you reach the waterfall. The entire Bruarfoss hike should take you roughly 2 hours, depending on your pace.


The Best Time to Visit Bruarfoss Waterfall


The waterfall is technically open all year round, although many prefer to visit during the warmer months of the year (May to September). This is because the trail to the waterfall can become a bit tricky to navigate due to ice and snow in the colder months, and you’ll need to face harsher weather conditions in general.


bruarfoss waterfall hike

Other Things to Do at Bruarfoss & Surroundings

Staring at a spectacular waterfall is not the only thing there is to do and see at Bruarfoss. Here are a few other things to add to your trip itinerary:

Tips for Visiting Bruarfoss Waterfall


If this is your first time to the falls, the following tips will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip:

  • Waterproof hiking boots with good grip are a must. The trail can become pretty muddy and slippery.

  • Always ensure that you bring enough water and snacks. Keep in mind that this is not just so you have enough for your hike and at the falls, but in case anything should happen and you end up waiting for a rescue team.

  • If you’re visiting during our busy summer season, and want to avoid the crowds, plan your trip to Bruarfoss either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

  • Always ensure that you stay on the trail. This is not just for your own safety, but also to respect the surrounding landowners.

bruarfoss iceland

Is Visiting Bruarfoss Waterfall Worth it?


Sadly, Bruarfoss is one of the waterfalls that are probably the most underrated here on the island. Anyone who visits the falls says that they would’ve missed out if they had judged this waterfall merely on its size. Bruarfoss is definitely a breathtaking sight and if you enjoy a good hike in a picturesque landscape, then Bruarfoss is the waterfall for you.


With so many other exciting things to see and do in the area, it only makes sense to rent a campervan in Reykjavík after you’ve arrived here on the island and then go on a Golden Circle road trip, including Bruarfoss as a stop along the way.


The Golden Circle is a golden opportunity to see the waterfall whilst also taking advantage of everything the area has to offer. We hope you have the best time at Bruarfoss!

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