Háifoss, Granni & Hjálparfoss - the beautiful Waterfalls in Fossá River in Iceland

Háifoss, Granni & Hjálparfoss - the beautiful Waterfalls in Fossá River in Iceland


Háifoss and Granni waterfalls

In South-Iceland on the edge of the highland, you will find the third highest waterfall in Iceland, not counting the waterfalls found in Mosárjökull glacier recently. This waterfall is called Háifoss waterfall or the Tall Falls.

Háifoss, which is 122 meters high is situated in Fossá river, which is a spring water tributary of the glacial river Þjórsá, Iceland's longest river.

Top photo: Háifoss and Granni waterfalls

Háifoss waterfall


Another beautiful waterfall, Granni (Neighbour), is almost next to Háifoss, and this pair of waterfalls make for one of the most beautiful sights I have seen in Iceland. Standing above these two waterfalls is like looking at a painting or a panoramic photo. It is absolutely breathtaking.

The glacial river Þjórsá runs through Þjórsárdalur valley and its tributary, Fossá, has created a deep gorge where these two waterfalls cascade down making this part totally different from the flat planes where Þjórsá river runs south of Fossá river.

Granni waterfall

Granni waterfall

I used to suffer from fear of heights, which is not the best phobia for a travel-blogger ;). So during my first visit to Háifoss, I had to sit down while enjoying this beautiful sight. As you can see in my photo below then I am holding on to the ground for dear life.

I went to see a hypnotist which fortunately cured this phobia. It took some 7 visits though, but was so worth it as now I can stand on the edge and look down :) It made all the difference and by now I have written 280 travel-blogs about Iceland.

Be careful here though as the fall down is high.

Regína by Granni waterfall

Holding on to a rock, scared stiff ;)

See the difference two years later! Wearing the same clothes ;)

This time I around I visited Háifoss waterfall and Þjórsárdalur valley with a friend of mine; the licensed guide Jórunn who runs her own company with her family My Iceland Guide. You might remember her from my travel-blog on Gjáin in the vicinity of Háifoss:

Gjáin in Þjórsárdalur Valley Upcountry Iceland - One of Iceland's Pearls of Nature

We love travelling together as we have the same passion for our country. You can see her photo in my travel-blog on Gjáin if you want a guided tour of this area, or of any area in Iceland for that matter.

Regína by Háifoss waterfall

Standing on the edge, not at all uneasy :)

Icelandic folklore is related to Háifoss waterfall. It goes like this:

"An ogress lived in Háifoss (which used to be called Fossárfoss before it got its name in 1912 - RHR). She lived on trout, which she caught in the waterfall. Once a teenage boy travelling with other travellers threw a rock into the river.

That night the ogress went to the tent, where the travellers were sleeping, and tried to pull the teenage boy by his legs out of the tent. But his mates pulled him in the other direction by the upper part of his body. After a lot of tussles, the ogress let the boy go and went away, but the boy was bedridden for a whole month from this maltreatment".

(Translated into English from Þjóðsögur Jóns Árnasonar - the Collection of Folklore of Jón Árnason - RHR).

Fossárdalur valley - view from Háifoss

Fossárdalur valley - the view from Háifoss

Fossárdalur valley, where the waterfalls are located, is the innermost valley of Þjórsárdalur valley. The landscape in Iceland can be so varied and that is why it is such a great experience travelling in this country, something I never tire of doing.

It is possible to hike down to the falls and when we visited Háifoss for the first time there was a group of people hiking in the valley. And a group of people on horses was visiting the falls. In the summer of 2019, I finally ventured into the gorge to see Háifoss from below, when I joined the excellent tour of the Secret Circle of Iceland - the Golden Circle with a very pleasant twist.

Háifoss waterfall

Háifoss waterfall and a rainbow

I am not much of a hiker so I had decided on staying on top and taking photos of my fellow travellers on this tour from above. But Háifoss was so beautiful on this sunny day that I decided on following them and finally saw this beautiful waterfall from below.

Isn't it just breathtaking?

Háifoss waterfall a hike into the canyonYou can see how tiny my fellow traveller and Kjartan, our guide, are compared to Háifoss. They can be seen as tiny dots just above my name

The hike is 3.7 km and will take around an hour to complete. Good hiking shoes are necessary here as the path is rocky. And it is a good thing to hire a guide.

I took a short video by Háifoss:

To reach Háifoss waterfall from Reykjavík in the summertime you can rent a car  and drive east on ring-road 1, pass Selfoss town and take a left turn on road 30 until you reach Árnes, where you make a right turn on road 32.

Just before you reach the power plant Sultartangi turn left on a gravel road, which leads to Háifoss waterfall.

Road signs leading to Háifoss and Stöng

The weathered road-signs leading to Háifoss and Stöng

You will find a parking lot on the south side above the waterfalls. The road to the falls is a rough and bumpy road, suitable only for 4x4 vehicles.

Also driving down to Þjórsárdalur valley and the next waterfall, Gjáinand the beautiful oasis there, should not be driven without a 4x4 as the road is very rough.

In the vicinity, the notorious volcano Hekla is situated, which is long "due" to erupt. That volcano caused havoc to the Viking settlement in Þjórsárdalur valley, which I have written about in my travel-blog about the Viking Manor Stöng in the vicinity of Háifoss.

Hjálparfoss waterfallHjálparfoss waterfall

Icelanders swimming in the lagoon in front of Hjálparfoss waterfall

Hjálparfoss - Help's Falls is another beautiful waterfall in the river Fossá in Þjórsárdalur valley.

The waterfall is split in two with a beautiful pond in front and surrounded by extraordinary basalt rock formations, making this spot a beautiful haven. 

Can you see the form of a bear's head in the lava rock right next to the left waterfall?  I think it makes this beautiful waterfall very distinct. I loved visiting this waterfall with my parents when I was little :)

Háifoss, Granni & Hjálparfoss - the beautiful Waterfalls in Fossá River in Iceland

Hjálparfoss waterfall 

This is an ideal picnic area in beautiful surroundings. The name Hjálp - means Help is the name given to this area as travellers crossing the barren Sprengisandur highland could graze their horses here after a long journey.

But there is also a spot called Hjálp below Hjálparfoss waterfall beneath Mt. Skeljafell. There the people of this area used to rest their livestock.

Regína by Hjálparfoss waterfall

By Hjálparfoss on a very windy day - photo taken by Kjartan, the guide of Glacial experience

Hjálparfoss runs in the river Fossá right before it merges with the glacial river Þjórsá. The difference between a fresh-water river like Fossá, and a glacial river, like Þjórsá, is vast. The glacial rivers are greyish white and forceful and I must say that they always scare me a bit.

You can see the difference in my travel-blog about the massive Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacial river in North-Iceland:

Jökulsá á Fjöllum Glacial River in Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon & Dettifoss Waterfall

Hjálparfoss waterfall

Hjálparfoss waterfall

It is easy accessing Hjálparfoss waterfall and the road is paved all the way apart from a short dirt road leading to the waterfall.

Just in this valley, one can find many beautiful waterfalls, the fairytale oasis Gjáin, the longest river in Iceland Þjórsá, the Viking settlement manor Stöng and Þjóðveldisbærinn (the Commonwealth Farm) to name a few of the beautiful sights.

Hjálparfoss not that far away from Reykjavík, some 122 km, so it makes for a good day-trip away from the city in the summertime.

To visit these areas you can either rent a car in Reykjavík  or join the guided tours I mentioned earlier my this travel-blog. These waterfalls might also be included in the Mystery Super Jeep Tour | South Coast or the Highland - just saying ;)

Also, check out my other travel-blogs about interesting areas in this part of Iceland:

Stöng - Ruins of a Real Viking Settlement Manor and the Reconstructed Saga-Age Farm in Iceland

Gjáin in Þjórsárdalur Valley Upcountry Iceland - One of Iceland's Pearls of Nature

Landmannalaugar the Pearl of the Central Highland of Iceland

Have a lovely time at Háifoss, Granni, and Hjálparfoss waterfalls :) These beautiful waterfalls were preserved in 2020.



Link to appstore phone


สแกนรหัส QR นี้ด้วยกล้องในโทรศัพท์ของคุณแล้วกดลิงก์ที่ปรากฏขึ้นเพื่อเพิ่มตลาดการท่องเที่ยวที่ใหญ่ที่สุดของไอซ์แลนด์ไว้ในกระเป๋าของคุณ ป้อนหมายเลขโทรศัพท์หรือที่อยู่อีเมลของคุณเพื่อรับ SMS หรืออีเมลพร้อมลิงก์ดาวน์โหลด