Iceland – Day 3


The third day passed under the theme “Waterfalls” 🙂

We visited several of them (Aldeyjarfoss, Hrafnabjargafoss, Hafragilsfoss, Dettifoss, and Selfoss) on the way to Þórshöfn where we had our next hotel. Out of all the waterfalls we saw in Iceland, those that we visited during our 3rd day were the most memorable for me and my mom. She said that after seeing those, the other ones that are on the popular route are nothing to compare 🙂

On the way, we also went through the city of Husavik. It is the oldest settlement in Iceland. It is also famous for whale watching tours being called the Whale Capital.

Aldeyjarfoss

It is the 20-meter high waterfall in the river Skjálfandafljót. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland that standing in between stunning hexagonal basalt columns cliffs. It is breathtaking!! Aldeyjarfoss drops from the ancient Báðardalshraun lava field, which flowed from an eruption some 9,000 years ago. A considerable advantage is that it is not that popular so that you will be alone for most of the time with occasional people showing up. The whole place for just you!

It is little off the beaten path – around 43 km to be exact 🙂

It is located at the end of Bárðardalur valley, right at the doorstep of the Highlands. You need to follow road 842 for 40 km that at the end turns into F26. The 3 kilometers to the waterfall are quite easy to drive for any vehicle (if it has not rained), but if you decide to go farther on F26, you need to a 4WD. If you would like to enjoy the drive on the shaky gravel road, I would still recommend 4×4. Way more enjoyable 🙂

Hrafnabjargafoss

Another waterfall on Skjálfandafljót river. It looks much different than Aldeyjarfoss. It is only 5 meters tall but falls from a unique, horseshoe-shaped cliff. Surrounded by moss-covered lava rock, black sands, the water flows through very scenic surroundings.It is a little bit further on the F26 road (~4km away from Aldeyjarfoss), and for that one, you need a 4×4 car. There are big stones on the gravel road that will be hard to go over if your vehicle has low suspension. The road to the fall is stunning, fields covered with flowers and you as the only person there!It is only accessible in the summer, for winter you need to have a super jeep.

Hafragilsfoss

This one, together with Dettifoss and Selfoss, is located in Jokulsargljufur – the largest canyon in Iceland within the protected area of Vatnajökull National Park. The waterfall is 27 meters high, 91 meters wide. You can’t get close to it, but it still looks stunning. The water is grey in most parts with amazing turquoise spots in some places. Breathtaking!

There are two roads you can take to get there. I would recommend going from the east side. It is more accessible; I read that you need to hike and climb a lot to see this one from the other side. If you are coming from Myvatn lake on the Ring Road Nr. 1, you must go over the bridge on the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Take a turn left almost immediately after you pass the bridge north on Road Nr. 864. The parking lot by Hafragilsfoss is about 32 kilometers drive on a gravel road. So prepare for a little bumpy ride. When driving, the west road (862) is paved and far more people take that route. The eastern route (864) is unpaved, but ultimately crowds are less likely!

Dettifoss

A little bit further along the road from Hafragilsfoss waterfall, you can see fantastic Dettifoss. It is reputed as the most powerful waterfall in Europe and most voluminous waterfall in Iceland. It is situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which flows from the largest glacier in Europe – Vatnajökull glacier. On average every second 193 cubic meters of water plunges over the edge! During the summer it can be up to 400 cubic meters/second!! Dettifoss is 45 m high and 100m wide. A truly unforgettable sight!

Dettifoss was featured in the Prometheus movie in the opening scene!!


I would also recommend going from the east side (Road 864) as the mist goes to the west side, making it hard to take pictures with all that water everywhere. You can see it when you observe the greenery around. It is so green next to the waterfall, slowing turning grey the further you are from it.

Selfoss

The height is only 10 meters, but the width is more than Dettifoss. It is only half an hour hike from Dettifoss (1km), and both waterfalls share the same parking lots, both on the east side and the west side.

It is much different than Dettifoss. Dettifoss is all about raw power while Selfoss is about the beauty of multiple smaller waterfalls. My mom and I loved both of them, and it is hard to choose which one is better. They are both unique.

You can see more waterfalls from the east side so I would recommend taking that side again.

 

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