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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Hraunfossar waterfalls

Hraunfossar waterfall
Hraunfossar waterfall in Borgarfjörður

In Iceland, it is hard to bring the words tranquility and waterfall into one sentence. Most of our waterfalls are forceful, with large volumes of water from multiple sources. Often combined glacial rivers, direct run-off rivers, and spring-fed rivers. Still, amongst the hundreds of waterfalls scattered all over the country, a few, like Hraunfossar (Lava Falls), may best be described as tranquil.

Hraunfossar waterfalls is part of our Ring Road article drive recommendation

By Route Nr. 518 on your way to Húsafell in the western part of Iceland, the beautiful clean spring water flows gently from under the moss-covered lava. It is a beautiful sight as the flow seems to come from multiple openings in the lava, cascading like a symphony as it tumbles down a series of rock steps into the turquoise water of the Hvítá River. It is a dreamlike experience and a spectacular natural wonder. Waterfalls are also great for photography.

Vesturland region on the map of Iceland
Vesturland region on the map of Iceland

An unusual sight and a unique waterfall

Hraunfossar and Barnafossar waterfalls
Hraunfossar and Barnafossar waterfalls

Hraunfossar Falls is a rare phenomenon, even in Iceland's vast flora of natural wonders. Located at the edge of the Hallmundarhraun Lava Field, the clear, cold springs of subterranean water seep through the lava and run as tiny waterfalls and rapids into the Hvítá River. It is a magnificent sight and a joy to watch all year round as the falls and the surrounding takes on different shape in different seasons. Everything changes, including the vegetation and the temperature during winter, freezing the many small waterfalls. In autumn, the water is surrounded by the many beautiful colors of fading vegetation.

Hraunfossar is naturally a popular tourist attraction

Hraunfossar waterfalls - spring water
Hraunfossar waterfalls - spring water

The Falls are certainly among the most photographed natural wonders in Iceland. An easy trail along the river provides excellent viewpoints of the enchanting falls from many viewpoints. It is not unusual for people to stay by the falls throughout the day to capture the lights and shadows playing their magic and casting different hues over the riverbed, enhancing rainbows near the water, where the sparkling lava and the rich flora are always taking on new shapes, displaying a new photo-moment at every turn. Hraunfossar is a place of ethereal beauty where time stands still. It is a beautiful product of the uncontrollable forces of magma that surfaced long ago and precipitation that has provided water flowing for decades through the lava that the magma delivered to the surface. It is also part of the beautiful river Hvítá.


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