The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall - the Jewel of the Westfjords of Iceland
Deep in the remote Westfjords of Iceland, you will find the breathtakingly beautiful Dynjandi waterfall.
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, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, at least the most majestic waterfall I have seen in my country.
Dynjandi, or Fjallfoss as it is often called, cascades some 99-100 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 according to the map by the parking lot:
The map by Dynjandi parking lot
You can see that all these waterfalls 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. The 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 of 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 that my husband shot at Dynjandi.
Dynjandi is preserved as a natural protected monument (since 1981). We are asked to stay on the paths to preserve 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 and Strompgljúfrafoss waterfall - this is one of my favourite photos
Dynjandi waterfall is located by Dynjandisvogur bay and Arnarfjörður fjord. Arnarfjörður fjord is 30 km long and 5-10 km wide and the second biggest fjord in the Westfjords.
Many bird species stay in this fjord in the summertime, and all in all 35 species have been registered in Arnarfjörður fjord.
Arnarfjörður is actually Iceland's most notorious sea monster fjord! In Bíldudalur village close by you can learn all about these sea monsters at the Sea Monster Museum. I have written another travel-blog just about Arnarfjörður fjord and what to see and do in this long fjord.
Bright red layers of iron-rich soil by Dynjandi waterfall
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 also saw such red iron rocks close to Drangajökull glacier, Iceland's northernmost glacier: a Beautiful Hike to Drangajökull glacier in the Westfjords of Iceland.
Layers of soil rich in iron behind Dynjandi waterfall
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
Ruins of a turf farm
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. Above 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.
The protected Dynjandislaug pool
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.
An information sign by the parking lot
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 at 500 meters.
Dynjandisá river above Dynjandi waterfall
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 springtime 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.
Dynjandisá river above Dynjandi waterfall
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.
Dynjandisá river above Dynjandi waterfall, this might be Kálfeyrarfoss 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 closes due to heavy snow in the wintertime.
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 the wintertime all covered in the 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. A new tunnel, Dýrafjarðargöng, opened in the year 2020 from Arnarfjörður to the next fjord Dýrafjörður and Þingeyri village.
That tunnel is 5.6 km long and they shorten Vestfjarðavegur road by 27.4 km.
It was 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!
Other tunnels have made the Westfjords much easier to visit, like the Vestfjarðagöng tunnels, which were opened back in 1996. They connect Skutulsfjörður, Súgandisfjörður, and Önundarfjörður fjords and are altogether 9.113 m long (Bændablaðið). Then we have Bolungarvíkurgöng tunnel which opened back in 2010.
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 you rent a car in Reykjavík and drive up to the Westfjords in a couple of days. Plan on spending at least 5 days here. Two summers in a row I spent 9 days in the Westfjords and we held a family reunion here in 2010.
Here you can see the location of Dynjandi waterfall on the map. Dynjandi is at a distance of some 363 km from Reykjavík.
There are some guided tours to Dynjandi waterfall and a combined tour by Westfjord Adventures, which I have joined, called the Crown Jewel Jeep Tour | Kjaran's Avenue & Dynjandi, which I highly recommend.
The driver-guide will take you on a ride of the most dangerous road in Iceland!
I have written several other travel-blogs about the Westfjords of Iceland, f.ex.:
Have a lovely time visiting the majestic Dynjandi waterfall and the beautiful Westfjords of Iceland :)
Chasing Waterfalls in Iceland
The Dynamic Plant Lupine
Sænautasel Turf House in the Highland of Iceland
Secret waterfall on the South Coast
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