Helgufoss is a waterfall near the capital of Iceland, located in Mosfellsdalur valley.
Those who rent a car can reach the hike to it in less than half an hour from Reykjavík, and city buses can get you close to the trail. If you book a self-drive package, such as this 10-Day Summer Adventure, you can use your days based in the city to make a trip there.
Helgufoss Waterfall is one of the features of the verdant Mosfellsdalur valley, which sits just north of Mosfellsbær, a town on the capital’s border. This valley is travelled through by many guests as it is part of the Golden Circle route, which connects the spectacular sites of Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir Geothermal Area.
Most visitors, however, only admire the area by car or tour bus, not knowing that it contains many hidden gems, largely tied to its history.
Mosfellsdalur, after all, was home to Iceland’s only Nobel Laureate, Haldor Laxness, who won the prize for literature for his compelling novels. The most famous of these is ‘Independent People’. His house in the valley has become a museum on his life, works and Icelandic culture at his time of writing.
The carpark for this attraction is also the beginning of the Laxness Trail, the hiking route he was said to regularly embark on with his dog. The path, which is easy to traverse for all with a reasonable level of fitness, runs along the Kaldakvísl up to the the waterfall of Helgufoss.
Helgufoss is not one of Iceland’s most powerful, dramatic or tall waterfalls, but it is one of the country’s most picturesque and serene. At twelve metres, it cascades down a mossy cliff into the shallow river below, sheltered on two sides by walls of old lava rock.
The area it looks out upon is one of verdant beauty. Mosfellsdalur has always been a place of rural bliss, so you can expect to see rolling fields with Icelandic horses, sheep, and far-flung barns and churches. Note that the valley is not without its dramatic vistas, however, with jagged surrounding mountains that become particularly striking in winter.
Due to the ease with which it can be accessed, its proximity to Reykjavík and the fact that it remains somewhat of a hidden gem, Helgufoss is considered a fantastic spot of a picnic.