With more than 10,000, it can be tough to shortlist the waterfalls here in Iceland. But there are a handful that are incredibly impressive and are not to be missed. One of these is Haifoss Waterfall.
As one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland, it’s a spectacular sight. Add on the fact that it’s in one of the most beautiful regions in Iceland, and you’ve got a winning combination. Here’s what you can expect from a visit to the falls.
What is Haifoss Waterfall
The name Haifoss translates to ‘High Waterfall’ and it’s easy to understand why. This incredible waterfall clocks in at a staggering 128 meters tall! The waterfall originates from the Fossa River. Haifoss also has a neighboring waterfall that originates from the same river called Granni (the name actually translates to ‘Neighbor’ as well), and a visit to Haifoss usually includes a visit to Granni too.
Where to Find Haifoss in Iceland
Haifoss Waterfall can be found in the Pjorsardalur Valley in West Iceland (basically the Icelandic Highlands). The waterfall is situated just off the main road and popular road trip route, the Golden Circle, making it easily accessible to visitors.
How to Get to Haifoss Waterfall
There are essentially two ways of getting to Haifoss Waterfall one can choose from:
Taking a Tour
Haifoss Waterfall can be visited as a guided tour attraction here on the island. Tour operators can offer the option of it being the sole destination of a tour, or it can be part of a combo tour, and others even offer it as an attraction on a multi-day holiday package. Which you decide upon will solely depend on your preferences and budget, and remember to book well in advance if you’re going to be visiting the island during our busy summer season in Iceland.
Taking a Ride
This will always be our recommended way of exploring the island, since you’ll always be in control of your time and itinerary.
Although Haifoss is just 140 kilometers (about a 2-hour drive) away from Reykjavík city, we suggest that you include Haifoss as a stop along a road trip rather than making it a day outing. Driving from the capital city to the falls is pretty easy. Just keep in mind that you will need a 4x4 vehicle for this journey.
If you are on a Golden Circle road trip, you’ll need to head in the direction of Fludir (about an hour’s drive), you will get onto Route 32 which runs along the Fossa River, goes through Pjorsardalur Valley and past a few smaller towns.
You will then turn left onto Route 332, marked with a sign saying Laxargljufur. From there, it’s just a 7.2-kilometer drive on the unpaved road straight to the Haifoss parking lot.
The Haifoss Waterfall Hike
There’s no need to take a hike in order to see Haifoss. Just a short 5-minute walk from the parking lot will give you an eagle’s eye view of the falls and the surrounding landscape.
But if you want to get as close as possible to the falls on ground level, there is an opportunity to do just that. The trail is about 4 kilometers long, well maintained, and easy to hike, although the end can become a bit challenging. It will take you anywhere between 1-1.5 hours, depending on your pace.
The Legend Behind Haifoss Waterfall
Iceland is filled with legends and folklore, and Haifoss also has its own mythology attached to it. Haifoss is said to be the home of an ogress that often comes to the falls to catch fish. One day, a group of boys pitched their tent at the falls, and during their outdoorsy adventure, one of them through a rock into the falls. The ogress, who perceived the waterfall to be her property, was enraged by the disrespectful act.
As night fell, she crept up to the boy’s tent, reached in, and pulled the guilty party out by his legs. But his friends woke up from the commotion and grabbed a hold of his arms. This ended up in a sort of tug of war between the ogress and his friends. Luckily, the friends won this fight, and the boy lived to see another day, always remembering that he nearly got eaten by an ogress.
The Best Time to Visit Haifoss Waterfall
Although the falls are technically open all year round, we do recommend that you visit during the warmer months of the year, which gives you more daylight hours (especially if you’re planning on doing the longer hike down to the falls). Visiting between June and around mid-September is the official suggestion since you also won’t need to deal with ice and snow on the road during your drive to the falls.
How Much Time to Spend at Haifoss
Generally, people spend roughly 1-1.5 hours at the falls, which includes the hike down to the falls and back. If you are not planning on hiking down, most spend about 30 minutes viewing the falls from the top.
Other Things to Do and See Around Haifoss
Haifoss is not the only exciting thing in the area. These are a few other stops you can add to your itinerary whilst in the area:
Pjodveldisbærinn Stöng (a replica Viking farm)
Landmannalaugar (a favorite amongst hikers)
Where to Stay Near Haifoss Waterfall
With so much to do and see in the area, it only makes sense to stay over for a night or two. And you’ll find plenty of accommodation options to suit your needs as well as your pocket. You can opt for a bit of luxury with Hotel Geysir.
Or you can choose an option that’s a bit more budget-friendly, such as the Blue View Cabins. Or go the most affordable route and book a spot at one of the campgrounds, such as Faxi Tjaldsvædi. If you rent a campervan in Reykjavík upon arrival here on the island, you can go camping in comfort and style!
Haifoss Waterfall; Ticking Off One of the Highest Falls in Iceland
As you can see, Haifoss is not to be missed. Not only is it one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland, but it offers breathtaking views, amazing hikes, and plenty of other exciting things to do and see in the surrounding area. Use our article as a guide to help you create your Golden Circle road trip itinerary.