Hraunfossar; A 2x1 Waterfall Special in Iceland


blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    Iceland boasts more than 10,000 waterfalls, so you’ll have your pick of spectacular water displays to choose from while visiting the island. But there are a few falls that are simply not to be missed, and one of these is Hraunfossar, a sort of 2-for-1 waterfall special along with its sister waterfall, Barnafoss.

    So, if you have an interest in waterfalls in idyllic settings or you’re planning your upcoming Iceland trip itinerary, this is the article for you. We tell you everything you need to know about this magnificent and much-loved waterfall.

    What Makes Hraunfossar Waterfall So Special?

    Well, the first thing that sets Hraunfossar apart from the other waterfalls is the fact that it’s actually a myriad of smaller waterfalls rather than just one big waterfall. Unlike most other waterfalls here on the island, Hraunfossar is also not a river that is tumbling over a cliff.

    Hraunfossar consists of melting glacier water trickling in streams through the Hallmundarhraun Lava Field till it runs off the rock ledges into the Hvita River. This is also why Hraunfossar’s drop is not very dramatic – the ledge is a mere 12 meters tall, but its unique look and intriguing origins are what make this waterfall so special.


    How Hraunfossar in Iceland was Formed

    Hraunfossar was formed after a volcanic eruption near Langjökull Glacier (the second-largest ice cap in Iceland). After this eruption, there was a lava field and the melting glacier water had to go somewhere.

    Where is Hraunfossar Waterfall?

    Hruanfossar can be found near Husafell and Reykholt in west Iceland. This is about 122 kilometers, or just over an hour and a half in travel time, from the capital city of Reykjavík. It’s also located conveniently close to Route 1, making it a popular spot on a Ring Road road trip.

    How to Get to Hraunfossar Waterfall

    Most visit Hraunfossar in one of two ways:

    Taking a Tour

    There are many tour operators and private guides who will be able to take you on a tour to Hraunfossar, whether it’s as one of their existing tour packages or upon a private tour request. Most of these will depart from Reykjavík.

    Driving Yourself

    As we already mentioned, the best way to see Hraunfossar is by exploring the island properly on a Ring Road road trip and making Hraunfossar a stop along the way. Driving to Hraunfossar is also very easy when coming from Reykjavík’s side. Just get onto the Ring Road, turn onto Road 50, and then Road 518 which will take you directly to the falls.

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    How Long is the Hike to Hraunfossar?

    By hiking the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfall Loop, you’ll get to see both falls. The trail is easy and the path well-maintained. It’s also not very long (about 800 meters), making this a great little trail for a family, especially if you’ve got smaller kids and the elderly in your party. In total, the hike should take you only 13 minutes, depending on your pace, of course. 

    The Best Time to Visit Hraunfossar Waterfall in Iceland

    Technically, Hraunfossar is open to the public all year round, but it’s especially popular during the fall (September to October) because of the landscape’s varying colors, and during the summer in Iceland (June to September) because of the nice weather and lush greenery.

    Other Things to Do and See Around Hraunfossar

    The following are a few other interesting sights and activities you can look forward to near Hraunfossar:

    hraunfossarwaterfall iceland

    Is Hraunfossar Worth it?

    Who would ever say no to a 2-for-1 deal? Especially when it involves some of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland. Rent a campervan in Iceland and go on a Ring Road road trip. Not only would you have sorted out both your transport and accommodation, but it’s one of the most affordable ways to explore the country. We wish you happy Hraunfossar travels ahead!

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