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Unveiling Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls - Iceland's Spectacular Duo

Updated: Apr 18

Have you ever heard of the dynamic duo of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls? No, they're not the latest Icelandic pop sensation, but they sure do make a splash! Nestled in the heart of Iceland, these waterfalls are the kind of natural wonders that make you go 'Whoa!' and then 'WOW!' in quick succession.


On one of our memorable trips to these cascades, we were left speechless by nature's sheer beauty and power. And now, we're excited to share our experience with you!


Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls

Introducing Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls


These two fascinating water features, Hraunfossar, and Barnafoss Waterfalls, are prime examples of the breathtaking waterfalls in Iceland that have become iconic symbols of the country's picturesque landscape.


Hraunfossar, often referred to as the 'Lava Falls,' stands out with its unique emergence from a vast lava field. On the other hand, Barnafoss, or the 'Children's Falls,' is wrapped in a darker, more poignant local legend tied to its rushing waters.


Together, they offer an otherworldly spectacle that has captivated both locals and tourists for centuries. Their mesmerizing views and rich histories epitomize the wild, untamed beauty that Iceland is celebrated for.


The Beauty of Hraunfossar Waterfall


Hraunfossar Waterfall, a part of the majestic duo of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls, is an awe-inspiring display of nature's majesty. It's a collection of countless rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 meters (2,953 feet) out of a lava field.


It doesn't fall and crash into a tumultuous river like your typical waterfall. Instead, it gently meanders down, creating a serene, curtain-like effect that's a sight to behold. The surroundings, lush with moss-covered lava rocks and vibrant vegetation, enhance the ethereal beauty of Hraunfossar in Iceland.


It's an enchanting blend of tranquility and raw power, making Hraunfossar an unforgettable Icelandic natural wonder.


Hraunfossar Waterfall

The Mystique of Barnafoss Waterfall


The allure of Barnafoss Waterfall lies in its unbridled, brooding power. This member of the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls duo is characterized by its thunderous waters, forcing their way through a narrow, rocky gorge.


The waterfall is approximately 9 meters (30 feet) high, and its roaring waters create a stark contrast against the serene Icelandic landscape. Nestled amidst moss-covered lava fields and rugged terrains, Barnafoss in Iceland emanates a mystic aura that leaves a lasting impression on its visitors.


The deafening roar of the water, combined with the raw beauty of the surroundings, makes Barnafoss a must-visit when exploring the natural marvels of Iceland.


Barnafoss Waterfall

What Is the History of Hraunfossar Waterfall?


Hraunfossar Waterfall is steeped in legends and tales that add to its allure. While its cascading beauty is a sight to behold, the stories associated with it make it even more enchanting.


One such legend from the Heidarviga Saga speaks of a sorcerer named Musa-Bolverkur who claimed to have diverted the Hvitá River, giving birth to Hraunfossar. Geologically speaking, Hraunfossar was formed when water seeped through the porous lava fields and flowed as rivulets into the river, creating this unique cascade.


The surrounding area, rich in Icelandic folklore, was once believed to be the dwelling of bandits and, in mythical narratives, the home of the fire giant Surtr. Whether shaped by nature or magic, Hraunfossar has been a cherished National Monument since 1987.


What Is the History of Barnafoss Waterfall?


Barnafoss Waterfall is not merely a natural spectacle but also a haunting echo of Iceland's rich folklore. The waterfall's name, 'Barnafoss,' translates to 'Children's Falls,' and behind this name lies a tragic tale that has left an indelible mark on the local psyche.


On a particularly cold and misty winter's day, two young siblings from a nearby farm, drawn by the waterfall's mesmerizing allure, decided to cross the river using a stone arch bridge. As fate would have it, they slipped and were swept away by the waterfall's fierce currents.


Their heartbroken mother, upon discovering the tragedy, ordered the bridge to be torn down, vowing that no other soul should suffer the same devastating loss. Today, the waterfall's striking blue hue, a testament to its glacial origins, stands as a poignant reminder of the legend, making it an iconic feature in Iceland's vast landscape.


History of Barnafoss Waterfall

Where is Hraunfossar Waterfall?


Hraunfossar Waterfall is a must-see West Iceland attraction located in the Borgarfjörður district, just under 126 kilometers (78 miles) away from Reykjavík, the capital city.


The waterfall is easily accessible via Route 518, a scenic drive that offers panoramic views of Iceland's lush landscapes and rugged terrains. Significantly, the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls share the same geographical area.


They are nestled within close proximity of each other, with just a short, less than a kilometer (0.6 miles) walk separating them. This makes it possible to marvel at the beauty of both waterfalls in one visit, providing a combined spectacle of nature's grandeur that is truly unparalleled.


How Do I Get to Barnafoss Waterfall?


Getting to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls from Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, is as easy as pie. The drive takes approximately two hours via Ring Road (Route 1) and Route 50. By heading north on Route 1 from Reykjavík, turn right onto Road 50 at Borgarnes.


Keep cruising on Road 50, then switch to Road 518 towards Húsafell, and voilà! The waterfalls will be waving at you with their well-signposted hands. Be aware that weather conditions can make driving in Iceland challenging, particularly during the winter months, so always check the forecast and road conditions before embarking on your journey.


While you could rent a car in Reykjavík, why not level up with a campervan? Think of it as a hotel room that's had one too many energy drinks – it's mobile, it's cozy, and it's ready to party wherever you park it!


With a campervan, you're not just traveling; you're road-tripping like a rockstar. And for those who'd rather kick back and let someone else navigate, there are always guided tours to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls.

Camper rental Iceland

Is Hraunfossar Waterfall Worth It?


Absolutely, visiting Hraunfossar Waterfall is worth it! It's like stumbling upon a hidden treasure if that treasure were a cascade of shimmering water flowing straight from a storybook.


You see, Hraunfossar isn't your typical waterfall – it's more like the unicorn of waterfalls, standing out in a country that's pretty much the Disneyland of geological wonders. Its crystalline waters that filter through the porous lava fields could put the finest spa to shame, while the panoramic vista surrounding it could make even the most seasoned Instagram influencer weak at the knees.


Is Barnafoss Waterfall Worth It?


Without a shadow of a doubt, Barnafoss Waterfall is worth a visit. Imagine the excitement of a kid in a candy store; that's how you'll feel when you see the majestic blue cascade of Barnafoss.


It's like Hraunfossar's more flamboyant sibling, putting on a dramatic show with its powerful currents. Its unique history adds an air of mystery, making it a veritable page-turner in Iceland's geological storybook. If Hraunfossar is the unicorn of waterfalls, then Barnafoss is like the show-stopping Pegasus, equally mythical and awe-inspiring.


Where is Hraunfossar waterfall?

Which Waterfall in Iceland is Best?


Choosing the best waterfall in Iceland is like picking your favorite star in the sky - each one is unique and beautiful in its own way. Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls stand out as prime examples.


Hraunfossar, with its calm, cascading rivulets, offers a serene spectacle, while Barnafoss captivates with its powerful and dramatic currents. However, the famed Gullfoss, part of the iconic Golden Circle route, is equally awe-inspiring with its majestic two-tiered cascade.


Meanwhile, Skógafoss, with its 60-meter (227 feet) drop and rainbow adornment on sunny days, is a sight to behold. Ultimately, the best waterfall in Iceland depends on personal preference – whether you're drawn to the serenity of Hraunfossar, the drama of Barnafoss, the grandeur of Gullfoss, or the beauty of Skógafoss.


Planning Your Trip to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls


Just like you wouldn't blindly jump on a bike and cycle off into the sunset, planning your trip to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls should involve a bit of strategic thought. After all, it's about the journey, not just the destination, right?


  • Timing is Everything: Seasonal changes can dramatically alter the scenery at Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls. Visiting in summer provides extended daylight hours, while winter offers a chance to see the falls framed by snow and ice.

  • Consider the Weather: As mentioned, Iceland's weather can be unpredictable and harsh at times. Be prepared for changing conditions and dress accordingly. Need help with what to bring? Check out this Iceland packing list.

  • Transportation Options: Whether you opt for a campervan, car rental, or guided tour, make sure to plan your transportation in advance. Remember that some roads may be inaccessible during certain times of the year due to weather conditions.

  • Accommodation: Luckily, there is a range of options for accommodation near Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls, from campsites to guesthouses and hotels. However, it's best to book in advance as these accommodations tend to fill up quickly during peak tourist season.

  • Pack Snacks: While there are restaurants and cafés nearby, it's always a good idea to pack some snacks for the road. This way, you can have a picnic by the waterfalls or enjoy a quick snack while admiring the breathtaking views.


Is Barnafoss worth it?

Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls: The Perfect Finale to Your Icelandic Adventure


Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls are the crowning jewels of Iceland's natural beauty - no ifs, and, or buts about it! If you're aching for a slice of this ethereal experience, renting a campervan in Iceland is your VIP pass.


Picture this: you, a campervan, and the open Icelandic road. It's the stuff of Instagram dreams. So, get out there and let Iceland, in all its waterfall-drenched glory, turn you into a traveling rockstar. We're talking #VanLife, Iceland-style. Buckle up because the road to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss is calling!

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