Wikimedia, Creative Commons, photo credit: Andreas Tille
Glymur is Iceland’s second-tallest waterfall, and the tallest that is easily accessible by foot. Located in the fjord of Hvalfjörður, it stands at a height of 198 metres (650 feet).
Glymur is fed by the river Botnsá, which has sources in Iceland’s glaciers and runs from a lake above. Visit this beautiful spot while on a self drive tour of the island.
To get to the carpark of Glymur, from which you can hike to it, takes about forty five minutes if driving from Reykjavík.
You first will head north on Route 1, before turning right on Route 47, before Hvalfjörður tunnel. This road will take you along the edge of the fjord itself, providing stunning views of the coast, mountains, flora and more smaller waterfalls.
From the carpark, the hike takes approximately three and a half hours to do in total. It is largely through nature, without any paved roads, and at some points can be a little challenging; the most used route, for example, involves wading across a river with the help of a rope, passing through a cave, and walking along a narrow mountainside path.
The hike, therefore, should only be taken by those with a reasonable level of fitness, who are sturdy on their feet. Even then, only those with decent hiking shoes and clothes for any weather should attempt the journey, and it is highly recommended that you bring walking poles, water and snacks.
The route is marked by cairns with yellow markers as well as signs, and is easy enough to follow. Be aware that there are some offshoot trails that can lead you away from the waterfall, so take care to be mindful of your surroundings.
Wikimedia, Creative Commons, photo credit: Jabbi
As part of Hvalfjörður in west Iceland, many other sites can be seen in conjunction with Glymur. It is close to the settlements of Akranes and Borgarnes, both of which are commerce centres of the region, perfect to refresh at. Both are also historically significant, having been settled for over a millennium.
The earliest days of Iceland can be learnt about at the Settlement Centre of Borgarnes.
In terms of natural attractions, Glymur is relatively near to two other notable waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Hraunfossar is serene, with many rivulets pouring off of a shelf of lava rocks, while Barnafoss is turbulent, racing down a narrow canyon.
Glymur can also be visited as part of a trip to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the arm which extends off of west Iceland. Some of the country’s most marvellous sites can be found here, such as the basalt cliffs of Lóndrangar, the mountainside gorge of Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge, the peak Kirkjufell, and of course, Snæfellsjökull National Park.
Be aware, however, that this would be a long time out for a day trip, and would not give you as much time at the sites as you may necessarily desire. There are, however, many options for accommodation on the peninsula and in the west.
When it comes to scale, the only waterfall taller than Glymur in Iceland is Morsárfoss, which is found by a melting outlet of Vatnajökull Glacier. It stands at around 240 metres (787 feet) tall, and was only discovered in 2007. It was only noted to be greater than Glymur in 2011.
Iceland has many other waterfalls of note, but the only other with an international title is Dettifoss, which boasts the highest rate of water flow out of any other falls in Europe.