Updated: Jan 25
Iceland is particularly famous for its waterfalls; their sizes, locations and sheer volumes astound visitors to the country. You’ve probably read all about Gullfoss waterfall, which is located on the Golden Circle. And maybe you’ve heard of Seljalandsfoss too, a waterfall that you can walk behind! There’s no doubt that there are several awe-inspiring falls in Iceland.
But what about Dynjandi waterfall, which some Icelanders insist is the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland? Not many tourists make it there because Dynjandi is located in the Westfjords. It is, however, one of the most incredible parts of the country, and it’s now more accessible than ever!
Dynjandi waterfall Basic Information
How tall is the waterfall?
Dynjandi waterfall is 100 meters (330 feet) tall and 30 meters (98 feet) wide, making it the largest waterfall in the Westfjords. Its name translates to 'thunderous'; you'll understand why once you get close to it and hear it roar. The fall has a unique appearance, it resembles flowing hair that widens out to 60 meters (197 feet) at the bottom.
Most of Iceland’s waterfalls obtain part of their water from a melting glacier, but Dynjandi doesn't. The fall’s water derives from Lake Stóra-Eyjavatn via the Dynjandisá river, making Dynjandi unique.
Dynjandi is certainly deserving of its nickname, “The Jewel of the Westfjords”, and it’s undoubtedly the area’s most notable feature. Now that you want to see it for yourself, let's see how to get there!
How far is the waterfall from Reykjavík?
Dynjandi is located in Arnarfjörður, one of the many fjords that make up the Westfjords. The waterfall is about a 5-hour drive from the capital, a distance of around 360 km (224 miles). You essentially need to go straight up along the West Coast, following Route #1 first.
Just past the village of Bifröst, turn left onto Route 60 and into the Westfjords. Route 60 will then take you almost all the way until you come to a left turn signposted for Dynjandi. A short drive up this access road will bring you to the car park, where the hike to Dynjandi begins.
There are WC facilities in the parking area but you had better bring plenty of water and snacks because the nearest supermarket is quite far away.
Keep in mind that many roads in the Westfjords are gravel roads, so it’s best to have a 4WD camper. Additionally, most of these roads, including the one to Dynjandi, are difficult or even impossible to access in winter. With the amount of snow that the north of Iceland regularly experiences, it’s a constant struggle to keep roads clear. The best time for your Westfjords road trip is some time between May and September.
The Hike to Dynjandi Waterfall
If you’re looking to do some hiking in Iceland, the path to Dynjandi is a fairly mellow route. It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the car park to the waterfall, up a relatively steep hill. There are steps in place to assist you and the sight at the end is well worth the effort. Luckily, the Dynjandi waterfall hike is suitable for people of all ages.
Additionally, there are seven other waterfalls on the way to Dynjandi that you can admire. These are: Hæstahjallafoss, Strompgljúfrafoss, Göngumannafoss, Hrísvaðsfoss, Kvíslarfoss, Hundafoss and Bæjarfoss, some of which have viewing platforms next to them.
This area is also home to some historical remains: the ruins of a turf farm called Bæjarhóll (Farm Mound). On the right-hand side, as you approach Dynjandi, you’ll see what is left of some buildings abandoned since the 50s.
Take extra care on the path if it has recently rained and wear decent footwear. A good rule for traveling in Iceland is always to bring warm, waterproof clothing with you. Iceland’s weather is unpredictable, and even during the summer, you can’t rely too heavily on the forecasts.
Restaurants near Dynjandi
There isn’t much civilization to speak of near Dynjandi, so you’ll have to drive a fair bit to find food. If you go north, you’ll pass mostly tiny villages and farms until you reach Ísafjörður. Let’s take a look at a few nearby places to eat:
There’s a village called Flateyri on a left turn before reaching the capital, with several restaurants and accommodation options. This is about a 45-minute drive from the waterfall, a journey of 50 km (31 miles).
If you go south and take a right onto Route 63, you’ll come to Bíldudalur. This village contains restaurants, a camping ground and a unique museum: the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum. Here you can learn about the tales of sea monsters that Icelanders have made famous. Bíldudalur is around an hour from Dynjandi, a distance of 60 km (37 miles).
If you want more options, head to Ísafjörður, a 50-minute drive to the north, 59 km (36 miles) away. With around 2,700 people, Ísafjörður is the most-populated settlement of the Westfjords. It has a university, a hospital and a large harbor to cater to the cruise ships that dock there.
From Ísafjörður you can take regional flights to other areas of Iceland, as well as ferries to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The reserve is a protected area of Iceland with zero inhabitants and it sits above the country’s northernmost glacier, Drangajökull.
When you travel through the Westfjords, make sure to stock up on gas whenever the opportunity arises. Sometimes gas stations can be far apart, with no civilization for kilometers around; most of them are unmanned and don’t accept cash, so bring your credit or debit card with you. If you want to check gas prices in Iceland, click here.
Joining a Tour to Dynjandi
As long as you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle and are visiting during the summer, the Westfjords will be navigable. But if you don’t feel comfortable tackling the gravel roads, you could always join a Dynjandi waterfall tour, although they mostly leave from Ísafjörður, the capital of the Westfjords.
Ísafjörður is located further north than Dynjandi, so you'll have to go past the fall to get to the town. There are, however, two ways to reach Ísafjörður: one is via Route 60, past the waterfall site; the other is via Route 61, on the Westfjords’ east side.
The inhabitants of the Westfjords have striven to make their land more accessible, thus creating the Ring Road II. This route is completed by circumnavigating Routes 60 and 61 and exploring along the way. It’s the northwest’s answer to the Ring Road, the single highway that allows you to drive around most of Iceland.
It is important to highlight that the Ring Road doesn’t cover the Westfjords, hence the Ring Road II. As time goes on, improvements to the route are being made and tunnels are being built to circumvent some fjords.
If you’re heading up to the Westfjords, committing at least four or five days is a good idea. Due to the length of the drive there and the number of sites to explore, a weekend isn’t nearly enough.
Dynjandi Waterfall: Final Considerations
You’ve just learned all about what, many believe, is Iceland’s most incredible waterfall. And considering the competition Dynjandi is up against, that’s saying a lot. If you want to go off the beaten path, away from the crowds of tourists, take your camper to the Westfjords.
Remember to treat Iceland’s nature with respect, staying on marked roads and pathways, and taking your litter with you. Dare to explore Iceland’s rarely traveled wonder, the Westfjords, and be sure to book a campervan with 4x4 drive capabilities. These vehicles will make the gravel roads of this area a much smoother journey!
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