As you get closer to the Central Highlands of Iceland, North of Hekla, between road 26 and road 32 flow several waterfalls. I had the chance to discover 2 of them: the double branched Hjalparfoss waterfall and the purple Thjofafoss. Both are stunning and deserve a stop if you drive by. Below are my tips to visit them.
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Icelandic waterfalls away from the crowds
Around the central highlands you can find many waterfalls that are a lot less touristic that the South Coast ones (check out my list of 21 major waterfalls in Iceland).
In this article I am introducing 2 of them, one accessible in 2WD: Hjalparfoss, and another one requiring a 4WD: Thjofafoss.
Around them you can find other waterfalls which I could not visit: Háifoss and Tangafoss
Note!!! although 5km apart via the river, the drive between them is way longer.
About Hjalparfoss waterfall
Hjálparfoss, whose name means Helping Falls, is one of several waterfalls north of Hekla where the rivers Fossá and Þjórsá join. This easy accessed one is special due to its double branch flowing into a large pool and surrounded by interesting lava shapes.
I found the location very relaxing with some flowers and bushes surrounding the pool. I stopped and admired the strange shapes of the lava on all sides. There is also a big rock facing the falls that some climb to get another perspective.
About Thjofafoss waterfall
Þjófafoss (Thjofafoss), whose name means Thieves fall, is another waterfall on the river Thjorsa. Its shape is not very original as it is a simple curtain but the surroundings makes it interesting. Mt Burfell is just behind and really stand out in the flat landscape. But my favorite particularities was the abondance of purple lava rocks around it. This is something I have not seen in another Icelandic waterfall.
Note that this waterfall might not be flowing all year round.
PLANNING TIPS - Hjalparfoss waterfall Iceland
Getting to Hjalparfoss
- Hjalparfoss about 30 kilometres east of the village Flúðir
- Reykjavik to Hjaparfoss = 1h45 drive
- Off road 32
- The gravel road to the waterfall is well indicated, a 2WD is sufficient
- It is a good stop if you head to the Central highlands from the North (or if you exit the Central Highlands via the North)
- Easy walk down to get close to the waterfall
- No amenities
- Nice and practical spot for a picnic
Hjalparfoss is included in my travel guide that I wrote to help you plan your road trip around Iceland and make the most of your time.
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Waterfall of Hjalparfoss in pictures
The pictures below highlight the easy path to the pool and some close-up of the lava formations. Everybody rushed to get closer but personnaly I prefered the view from the parking area.
PLANNING TIPS - Thjofafoss waterfall Iceland
Getting to Thjofafoss
- On route 26, turn West on a sand road for roughly 4km. The turning point is about 45km North of the crossing with Road 1 and 20km South of the crossing with Road 32. The coordinates are 64.056858, -19.867044.
- There is also a track from Road 32 South of Hjalparfoss
- 4WD mandatory - you can park close to the waterfall
- Nothing around
- Be careful not to walk too close to the edge
Thjofafoss waterfall in pictures
Below are 2 shots of Thjofafoss. The first one features Mount Burfell, a table volcano which is 669m high. And on the second one, you can really notice that the rocks around it are purple.
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
Would you take the detour to see them?
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