Dynjandi waterfall is the biggest waterfall in the Westfjords and truly deserves to be called the jewel of the Westfjords. It is in my opinion the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland, at least the most majestic waterfall I have seen in my country.
Dynjandi, or Fjallfoss as it is often called, cascades some 99 meters - looking exactly like a beautiful bridal veil - on top it is 30 meters wide and widens up to 60 meters at the bottom.
There are 6 other waterfalls below Dynjandi, which one passes on the way up to the biggest waterfall. It is quite a scenic route with an elevation of some 200 meters up to the biggest waterfall.
The names of the other waterfalls are, from above: Hæstahjallafoss, Strompgljúfrafoss (Strompur), Göngumannafoss, Hrísvaðsfoss-Kvíslarfoss (opposite each other), Hundafoss and Bæjarfoss (Sjóarfoss). You can see that they all end in
-foss, which is the Icelandic term for a waterfall.
To reach Dynjandi there is a bit of a hike, no more than 15 minutes or so though, and on the way up you can stop by all the smaller waterfalls. A rocky path, made by volunteers back in 1996, leads up to the waterfalls and it is a bit of a climb getting all the way up to Dynjandi.
Nothing major though, but if you have bad knees for example, then it can be taxing. Last time I visited Dynjandi a man with bad knees had to stop when he was halfway up and couldn't make it all the way to Dynjandi.
He didn't start on this hike in vain though as there are so many lovely waterfalls on the way, all of them marked and new observation platforms have been put up by many of them, where one can sit and rest and enjoy this wonderful scenery.
The Icelandic term dynjandi means thunderous or resounding and you will understand why when you hear the thunderous sounds from it in my video below.
There are many beautiful angles of Dynjandi and it is best to take photos of it with people in them so that you can see how huge this beautiful waterfall actually is.
It is said that a supernatural being lives in every waterfall. I can agree with this, at least there is amazing energy by the waterfall and I had a hard time tearing myself away from it.
Here below is a video which my husband shot at Dynjandi.
Dynjandi is preserved as a natural protected monument (since 1981). We are asked to stay on the paths as to preserve the nature and prevent this beautiful place from being downtrodden.
It is possible with great caution to walk behind Göngumannafoss waterfall. I have walked up to it and taken some photos, but never walked behind it, as from what I have seen there is very little space behind it.
Below you will see Dynjandi and Strompgljúfrafoss waterfalls, which make a beautiful pair. Notice the tiny people in front of Dynjandi.
Dynjandi waterfall is located by Dynjandisvogur bay and Arnarfjörður fjord. Arnarfjörður fjord is 30 km long and 5-10 km wide and one of the biggest fjords in the Westfjords.
Many bird species stay in this fjord in summer time, and all in all 35 species have been registered in Arnarfjörður fjord.
Can you guess what you are seeing in my photos? You will see these vivid colours when you stand right next to Dynjandi, and I could see a glimpse of the same bright red colour in one spot in Dynjandi waterfall itself.
I have never seen such vivid red colours in nature before, ever so pretty. The red colour stems from ancient layers of soil (rauðalög) rich in iron, stuck between lava beds.
I had wanted to see Dynjandi ever since I was a little girl, but then the roads were in a lot worse condition than they are today, so my family always skipped going to the Westfjords, even though my maternal grandmother was born and raised there.
So I waited for years to be able to see this beautiful waterfall and when I was finally able to visit Dynjandi it was all I had ever expected - it was so worth such a long wait - it is for sure the jewel of the Westfjords. And no matter how often I visit Dynjandi I always get blown away by its majestic beauty.
Archaeological remains by Dynjandi
A turf farm by Dynjandi was located by the so called Bæjarhóll - the Farm Mound and you can visit its remains. There are actually 38 different historical remains in this area and the first mention of a farm here is from the Middle Ages.
A path leads to the remains of the farm and outhouses. Below you will see the ruins of one of the outhouses.
You will find these remains on your right hand side as you hike up to Dynjandi. In one spot there is a lukewarm pool, called Volgra or Dynjandislaug pool. It takes some doing though finding that pool and we are to stay within the paths - but seeing that I am very interested in old remains then I searched for the pool as well.
Volgra, which is laden, is protected - and of course there is no bathing in it.
In 1887 the water temperature was measured at 26,5 degrees C and in 1996 the water temperature was down to 23,5 degrees C. It might have been warmer in the olden times and was probably used for washing and bathing. Now it is filled with vegetation.
What a beautiful spot for a farm - although I remember hearing that the farmer's wife couldn't stand constantly listening to the thunderous sound of Dynjandi. The turf farm was inhabited until 1951.
By the parking lot you will find several information signs and a map pointing to the ruins. But the waterfalls themselves are such an attraction that I gather that only history buffs like me will go search for the ruins ;)
To reach Dynjandi from the south-side one has to drive on Dynjandisheiði heath. This road was surveyed in 1959 and my father-in-law was one of the Road Administration workers surveying these roads back then in the Westfjords.
This gravel road (number 60), which passes over Dynjandisheiði heath, leads from Barðaströnd in the south part of the Westfjords to Dynjandi waterfall. Its highest part is ca 500 meters.
The waterfalls in Dynjandi come from lake Stóra-Eyjavatn, which is 350 meters above sea-level, from which Dynjandisá river runs. Dynjandisá river is a direct runoff river and often such rivers have seasonal floods. The floods in Dynjandisá take place in spring time and in winter, and then the volume of the river can increase up to tenfold - just imagine what Dynjandi waterfall looks like during these seasonal floods!
When driving north on the russet gravel road on Dynjandisheiði heath we are actually driving on top of the waterfall, so to speak.
There are some pretty waterfalls above Dynjandi and the view from there of Arnarfjörður fjord and Dynjandisvogur bay is breathtaking. You can stop here and have a look at the waterfalls and enjoy the view.
In my photo below you can see one of the waterfalls in Dynjandisá river above Dynjandi waterfall.
To reach Dynjandi from the north side of the Westfjords you will have to cross Hrafnseyrarheiði heath. So you can see that this magnificent waterfall is not easily reached, kind of tucked away between 2 heaths, which close due to heavy snow in winter time.
Dynjandisheiði heath was opened for traffic on the 29th of March in 2017, but in 2015 it opened as late as in May, after being closed for 5 months! In my photo below you will see the steep, winding gravel road on Hrafnseyrarheiði heath. Just imagine what it must look like in winter time all covered in deep snow!
It is of course difficult for the inhabitants of the Westfjords when the main road between north and south closes for such a long time. There have been talks for a long time now of building a tunnel, Dýrafjarðargöng, from Arnarfjörður to the next fjord Dýrafjörður and Þingeyri village.
It has been especially difficult for the companies, which operate both on the north and the south part of the Westfjords. One fish processing had to drive around the Westfjords for 520 km (one way!) instead of the 115 km over the heaths to reach its destination on the other side of the Westfjords!
When you descend on Dynjandisheiði heath (or ascend for that matter if you come from the northern part of the Westfjords) you will see another lovely waterfall, Gyrðisfoss waterfall in Svíná river.
To reach the Westfjords it is best to rent a car in Reykjavík. Also have a look at the 8 Day Self Drive Tour | Westfjords & Snæfellsnes Peninsula and a 14 day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & The Westfjords.
I have written several other blogs on the Westfjords of Iceland, f.ex. A Visit to the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum in Bíldudalur, Hot Pools in the Westfjords and the Natural Wonders of the Westfjords of Iceland - Látrabjarg Bird Cliff & Rauðasandur Beach.