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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Bjarnarfoss waterfall at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Updated: Dec 30, 2022


Bjarnarfoss waterfall
Bjarnarfoss waterfall

Bjarnarfoss Falls is an impressive waterfall right by road 54 on the main road when you traverse the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The waterfall is located where the main road forks to the Fróðaárheiði Mountain Pass leading to the village of Ólafsvík in the northern part and to Búðir and Arnarstapi on the south shore of the peninsula. Although visible from the main road, the most enjoyable and interesting part of the waterfall is quite high up the cliffs, and it takes an effort to hike up the steep slope by the stream coming from the waterfall. It is a beautiful trail as the stream and the landscape around it is wonderful.


A fairy woman bathing in the middle of the waterfall

Anfairy woman that stands on top of the columnar basalt and seems to be bathing in the middle of the waterfall
Anfairy woman that stands on top of the columnar basalt and seems to be bathing in the middle of the waterfall

When you reach the bottom of the waterfall up on the hill, you get a better view of the magnificent layers in the cliff. It is a typical hill with many blankets of lava fields up on each other, and some of them display beautiful basalt columns. Watching the waterfall from up here, cascading in front of the magnificent basalt columns that stretch out on both sides, is really what makes this waterfall stand out. Although it offers a beautiful sight from the road, it is stunning when you stand right in front of it, up on the hill. Here, you can also see and almost shake hands with the fairy atop the stacks that seems to be bathing in the middle of the waterfall. This fairytale quality of the waterfall makes it especially interesting for kids. However, be cautious when you walk up the trail; only do it in summer, and avoid hiking up in winter.


Map of West Region in Iceland
Map of West Region in Iceland

A waterfall on Snæfellsnes Peninsula that is easy to find

Bjarnarfoss waterfall
Bjarnarfoss waterfall

The waterfall is quite easy to find. A parking space has been recently built as well as a convenient walking path leading up halfway to the waterfall. However, to go all the way up to the main waterfall, you need to climb a relatively steep hill. One of the upsides to taking this effort is the exceptional variety of vegetation you’d get to observe along the way on both sides. It is more of a matter of taste whether you want to go up the right side or the left, depending on how you want to photograph the waterfall when you approach it. Remember that the slope is steep and you need to take caution. This path to the waterfall is only accessible during summertime and should not be traversed during late fall and winter.


Sometimes the waterfall is blown away in the wind

At times, the waterfall thins out, and from a distance, it is reduced into a small stripe falling off the cliff. When this occurs, strong winds sometimes blow the waterfall into thin air. However, like most waterfalls in Iceland, there is a seasonal difference in the volume of water in the stream. Usually, the stream is at its largest volume in spring.



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