The Hraunfossar waterfalls are some of the most unique in Iceland, the land of waterfalls. Also known as Hraunfoss, it is neither large nor powerful, nor is it very narrow and really high.
It is unusual because thousands of falls flow out of solidified lava.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit to the lava waterfalls: map, access, tips, photos...
Before all my photos + tips, here are my favorites to plan your Summer Iceland trip:
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Why visit the waterfalls of Hraunfossar in Iceland
The Lava waterfalls of Iceland
The Hraunfossar Waterfall is made of a collection of gentle cascades emerging from between the lava rocks covered with moss. It has been protected since 1987.
It is situated at the edge of Hallmundarhraun, a giant lava field with lava tubes. The ‘waterthrough’ (rather than waterfall) flows into the Hvita river.
This is the Summer guide, if you want to visit in Winter, check out my other article.
Easy to access
The other advantage is that it is very easy to get up close and admire it.
This Hraunfossar Waterfalls are definitively not tall but very wide, which is great because thanks to the long path in front of it, there is plenty of space for everyone to stop and admire it. It is 900m wide!
The difficulty being that you cannot take a picture of the whole thing. So, the shot above is showing you part of it. The second one taken on the way to its neighbor waterfall Barnafoss covers a bigger section of the waterfall.
About the name
Hraunfossar literally means Lava Falls: fossar means waterfalls and Hraun means lava.
Planning tips & Map - Hraunfossar Iceland
Where is Hraunfossar located - map
- Part of the Silver Circle
- Between Reykholt and Husafell on road no. 518 (55km North from Borgarnes)
- On maps Barnafoss might be better indicated than the Hraunfossar Waterfalls
- Borgarnes to Hraunfossar = 1h drive
- Reykjavik to Hraunfossar = 2h drive
- It is a great stop for people traveling from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to the Golden circle
- Below is a map to help you get oriented:
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How to get to Hraunfossar
- Driving - this is an easy drive from Borgarnes. No 4WD needed. This is the best way to explore the Silver Circle
- No access by public transportation
- Guided tour: it can be done during a day trip from Reykjavik, especially combined with the Ice Tunnel - if you don't want to drive you can join a tour - see options
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- Time: 20 min to admire it, or 45min if you want to explore around and walk to Barnafoss
- Of course, it will also take longer if you are into photography
- Hraunfossar access: easy flat path, very close to the parking lot. You get very good views all along the path.
- Amenities: toilets for a fee and coffee shop / Restaurant
Map of Carpark, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss
- There is a well-maintained walking path to go admire both Hraunfossar on all its length and barnafoss
- Below is a map of the area with the carpark and the various walking trails:
Where to stay near Hraunfossar?
- Very close to the waterfalls is the magnificent Hotel Husafell with beautiful rooms and amazing views - Check out the latest prices and availability
- Or you can check out all accommodations not far from Hraunfossar
The lava waterfalls of Iceland
After trying to get as much of the Hraunfossar waterfalls in one picture and failing miserably, I had fun zooming to take pictures of the water coming out of the lava rocks. On top of that I was lucky to have the autumn colors showing up on the moss and grass above the rocks.
The water-through rather than waterfall is through the Hallmundarhraun lava field. It was formed in recent times by a volcano under the Langjokull glacier.
The lava field has many caves and the most famous is the Vidgelmir lava tube. I recommend a visit!
Extra Walk to Barnafoss waterfall
I recommend you start left from the carpark with Hraunfossar and then head upstream along the Hvita river to see Barnafoss.
It is only a short walk from Hraunfossar, and you will find the more powerful Barnafoss that can be observed from a bridge. It does not have the intriguing shape of volume, but the color of the water can be mesmerizing.
The water is rushing through a narrow canyon. Its color varies from white to blue depending on the light and conditions.
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Barnafoss and Hraunfossar in Winter
And for those wondering what it looks like to see Hraunfossar in Winter..
Access is cleared and walking paths remain easy. But they can always get icy so be careful!
You can read my article about Barnafoss and Hraunfossar in Winter
Want to see more of the best Iceland has to offer?
- 45 Most beautiful landscapes in Iceland in pictures - read article
- The best stops on the Ring Road - read article
- The best locations off the beaten path around Iceland - read article
- 21 Most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland - read article
- Top 5 places to see around Myvatn - read article
- 5 best Lava Fields in Iceland - read article
- The 10 best lava caves in Iceland - read article
- The 5 most beautiful black sand beaches in Iceland - read article
- The Golden Circle - read article
- The Snaefellsnes peninsula - read article
- All my favorite things to do in North Iceland - read article
Planning a trip to Iceland?
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