Hraunfossar is a gorgeous waterfall in the river Hvítá í Borgarfirði (white river) not far from Reykholt in the west of Iceland.
From Reykholt take road 518 to Húsafell for 17 kilometer until you see a parking (gps 64.701682, -20.979368) at the left side of the road. There are signs for Hraunfossar, it one of the most famous waterfalls of Iceland. According to my it IS the most beautiful waterfall of Iceland, although it is a small waterfall…
From the parking it is a short and easy walk to view Hraunfossar. Take your time to walk along the river admiring the colors and the beauty of this special waterfall. Walk a little further upstream until you see another beautiful waterfall in the river: Barnafoss.
The river Hvítá í Borgarfirði has its source in the Lava Field Hallmundarhraun and is white because it is melting water from the glacier Langjökull and transports sediment that has a gray to light milky color.
Hraunfossar means lava waterfall and is definitely one of the most beautiful waterfalls we saw in Iceland. Over a distance of more than 900 meters there seem to flow many streams from the lava field Hallmundarhraun into the river. This lava field has been created by an eruption of a volcano that lies under the Langjökull glacier. As this lava is porous and water permeable and has hard and waterproof surface, the melt- and rainwater flows between the lava until it reaches the river Hvítá were water is coming out of the wall.
With the sun slopes down to the waterfall, you can see the blue/green colors over a width of several hundred meters. A highlight of our visit to Iceland.
Upstream there is is another small waterfall Barnafoss with a descend of 5 meters. The water squeezes itself through a narrow gorge with great power. Barnafoss means children’s fall and there is a saga about the Barnafoss: Two boys from a nearby farm Hraunsás had to stay home while the parents went to church. After a while when the get bored they decided to follow their parents. The way crossing the river was faster but on the bridge over the Barnafoss they fell into the water and drowned. When the parents heard the news, the mother put a spell on the bridge that everyone who crossed the bridge would drown. Unfortunately the bridge was destroyed because of an earthquake.
Another story is that the mother had the arch destroyed in order to ensure no one else faces a similar fate.
For a list with all waterfalls in Iceland or a map with all waterfalls in Iceland, go to the main Iceland section.