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Glymur Waterfall; the Recently Dethroned Waterfall of Iceland

Updated: 3 days ago

Iceland is called the Land of Fire and Ice. The ice means a lot of water. That’s why the country boasts more than 10,000 waterfalls. And whilst it will take a lifetime to visit all of them (and we’re even constantly discovering new ones), there are a few that are so impressive and so unique that they’ve made their way onto most of our guided tours and popular road trip itineraries. One such waterfall is Glymur Waterfall.


Glymur Waterfall has always been considered a must-visit waterfall because of its official title. Sadly, it has lost this title in recent years, but Glymur is still considered one of the waterfalls that cannot be missed during a trip to the island. We tell you why and what you can expect from your visit to the falls.



Glymur Waterfall


Glymur Waterfall; A Quick Overview


Glymur Waterfall was Iceland’s tallest waterfall till Mosarfoss Waterfall dethroned it in 2011. Today it ranks second, but that doesn’t make its staggering height of 198 meters any less impressive.


What Does Glymur Waterfall Mean?


The name Glymur comes from the Icelandic word ‘glymja’ which translates to “loud rumble”, which is pretty descriptive if you take into account what water falling from such a height sounds like.


The Folklore Surrounding Glymur Waterfall


Ironically, this is not where the name originates from. Iceland is known for its folklore and mythology, and Glymur also boasts its own legend. A local man is said to have betrayed an elf woman and in her rage, she turned him into a whale. The man-now-whale was so angry at what was done to him that he took his anger out on a boat in Hvalfjordur Fjord which ended in the drowning of the local priest’s two sons.


The priest was grief-stricken and decided to act. He lured the whale from the bay, up the river till it crashed into the canyon where Glymur can be found. This crash made a loud sound and even caused an earthquake. Glymur Waterfall’s name refers to this crash and the subsequent earthquake. Want to know what the most eerie part of this local legend is? They have actually found whale bones in the lake at the top of Glymur Waterfall.



Folklore Surrounding Glymur Waterfall


Where is Glymur Waterfall in Iceland?


Glymur Waterfall is located near Hvalfjordur Fjord in a narrow canyon in the Botnsdalur Valley, named after the Botnsa River that feeds Glymur. It is roughly 64 kilometers west of the capital city of Reykjavik which means that it’s possible to make Glymur a day outing during our warmer months with plenty of daylight hours.


But since the waterfall is located so conveniently close to the Ring Road, we highly recommend that you add the waterfall as a stop along a Ring Road road trip around the island.


How Do You Get to Glymur Falls in Iceland?


There are essentially two ways to get to Glymur Waterfall:


Via a Tour


With Glymur being so prestigious, it’s no surprise that it’s made its way onto many a tour itinerary. These tours are done by local tour operators and can come in the shape of day tours or multi-day tours that also include a few other local favorites.


If you want a more private and customized solution, you’ll be able to book a private tour with one of our local guides. Most of these tours depart from Reykjavík. We do, however, encourage you to book well in advance if you’re planning on visiting during our busy summer season as these tours tend to book up pretty fast.



Tour to Glymur waterfall


Via a Self-drive


This is our favorite way of getting around the island. Not only can you truly immerse yourself in the Icelandic landscape, but you are quite literally the driver behind your own Icelandic adventure, always remaining in full control of your time and your itinerary. Getting to Glymur from Reykjavík is very easy and will only take you about 45 minutes.


Just head north on our Route 1 aka the Ring Road and turn right onto Route 47 right before you reach the infamous Hvalfjordur Tunnel. Route 47 is an incredibly scenic route that takes you all along the edge of the fjord offering up breathtaking views. Just don’t get so lost in the beautiful scenery that you miss the sign for Glymur where you need to turn right onto a gravel road that will lead you straight to Glymur Waterfall’s parking lot.


Camper rental Iceland

The Glymur Waterfall Hike


Glymur Waterfall is one of our waterfalls that can only be reached after a hike. The Glymur waterfall trail is about 7 kilometers and will take you roughly 3 to 4 hours, depending on your pace.


The hike is considered moderately challenging, so it’s not something you should take on with smaller kids or the elderly in your party. Whilst the majority of people will take on the loop trail to Glymur, there is also the option of making it an out-and-back hike. Which you choose will depend on your personal preference as well as when you plan on hiking.


The Out-and-Back Hike


This hike will take you up to and back from the waterfall via the east side of the river. You will need to cross the river using a log on this hike, which can only be accessed during the summer months when there is no snow.


The Loop Hike


This hike will also take you up to the waterfall via the east side of the river, but then you will cross the river above Glymur and hike back via the west bank of the river. The reason why most prefer this route is not just because it makes the hike in the beautiful surroundings a bit longer, but also because it gives you another angle to view the falls.



Loop hike Glymur


How Much Time Do You Need for Glymur?


Most won’t spend more than half an hour at the waterfall itself, but you’ll need to take the hike into account as well. That means that you should allocate at least 5-6 hours for your excursion to Glymur.


The Best Time to Visit Glymur in Iceland


As you might’ve noticed from the hike descriptions, the river crossing will only be possible during Iceland’s summer season from June to September. Except for this little fact, the hike also becomes extremely difficult when there is snow on the trail. This means that the winter season in Iceland is out as well as its shoulder month, April, when ice and snow can still be found melting.


Things to Do & See Near Glymur Falls


An invigorating hike and a magnificent waterfall aren’t the only things that are on the menu when visiting the area. These are a few other interesting things one can see and do that you can consider adding to your itinerary:


See Near Glymur Falls

Where to Stay Near Glymur Waterfall


With so much to see and do in the area, it only makes sense to stay for at least a couple of days. There’s a wide variety of accommodation in the region that caters to every personal preference and budget. For a touch of luxury, you can book a stay at B59 Hotel or Hotel Hamar (at the latter you can even work in a round of golf).


If you’re looking for an option that’s a bit more affordable, yet offers similar comforts, you can opt for a stay at Moar Guesthouse or Fossatun Guesthouse. For the ultimate budget-friendly accommodation, you can rent a campervan in Reykjavík which will not only allow you to easily take on a road trip around the island but also allow you to book spots at local campsites at cheap rates whilst still being able to live in comfort.


To optimize your accommodation savings, you can purchase the Camping Card. This will leave you only €179 out of pocket whilst gaining access to various campsites across the country where a family of 2 adults and up to 4 kids can stay for 28 nights. Taking into account that most campsites charge between $10-$20 per person per night, these savings can add up to astronomical amounts.



Stay Near Glymur Waterfall


Glymur Waterfall; Still a Local Treasure Despite its Dethroning


As you can see from this article, Glymur is still an incredibly impressive waterfall and a must-visit place here in Iceland. Not only is the waterfall itself absolutely breathtaking, but it also offers fun hiking options, as well as a myriad of other things to see and do in its surroundings. Rent a campervan in Reykjavík upon arrival and hit that Ring Road, making Glymur Waterfall a memorable stop along the way. And remeber visiting all the best waterfalls in Iceland.

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