Glymur Waterfall Travel Guide
Glymur is Iceland’s second-tallest waterfall and the tallest that is easily accessible by foot. Located in the fjord of Hvalfjordur, it falls from a height of 650 feet (198 meters).
The beautiful waterfall Glymur is fed by the river Botnsa, which has sources in Iceland’s glaciers and runs from a lake above. Nestled in a narrow canyon, visiting Glymur is a popular hike with locals and visitors alike. Visit this beautiful spot while on a self-drive tour of the island.
The story behind the name of the waterfall comes from an old Icelandic legend about a man who was turned into a whale by an elf woman after betraying her. In a fit of rage, the man-turned-whale sank a boat in the nearby Hvalfjordur fjord, and two sons of an old priest from a town by the shore drowned.
When the old priest learned of this, he decided to lure the whale from the bay and up the river until he crashed into the canyon where Glymur waterfall is located. The crash created a loud boom and caused an earthquake in the region. That's how it got its name, Glymur, which means a "loud, echoing rumble."
How to Hike to Glymur Waterfall
Getting to the car park of Glymur, from which you can hike to the waterfall, takes about forty-five minutes if driving from Reykjavik. You first will head north on Route 1, before turning right on Route 47, before the Hvalfjordur 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.
After some time, you'll see a sign for Glymur, and you turn right onto a gravel road. Follow this road until you reach the parking area. From the car park, the hike takes approximately three and a half hours to do in total.
Crossing the River
The hike to Glymur is largely through nature and will take you through interesting sites, such as the cave of Thvottahellir. After hiking for a while, you'll reach a point where you need to cross the river over a log with the assistance of a rope. The log is only there from spring to autumn, so do not attempt to cross the river in the wintertime.
Climbing to Glymur Waterfall
Once you've crossed the river, the trail continues by ascending the canyon. This part of the hike involves some steep and rocky sections, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes and use caution. As you climb higher, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the river below.
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.
Things to Do Near Glymur Waterfall
Photo above from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Axel Kristinsson. No edits made.
As part of Hvalfjordur 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 centers 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 learned about at the Settlement Centre of Borgarnes, which provides a wonderful insight into Iceland’s history in two exhibitions that recreate the fascinating drama of the sagas and the birth of this island nation.
In Akranes, you can find the War and Peace Museum, which details the fascinating history of the occupation period in Iceland from 1940-1945. This small but intriguing museum has an exhibition that tells the story of how the peaceful countryside was transformed during World War II.
Animal lovers might enjoy a trip to Haafell Goat Farm, which specializes in the preservation of the Icelandic goat. On top of learning about conservation efforts, visitors can meet the Icelandic goat up and personal, and browse various goat-related merchandise.
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 Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the arm which extends off of west Iceland. Some of the country’s most marvelous sites can be found here, such as the basalt cliffs of Londrangar, the mountainside gorge of Raudfeldsgja 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.
Similar Waterfalls to Glymur
When it comes to scale, the only waterfall taller than Glymur in Iceland is Morsarfoss Waterfall, which is found by a melting outlet of Vatnajokull Glacier. It stands at around 240 meters (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.
Places to Stay Near Glymur Waterfall
Photo from Hotel Hamar.
If you are interested in staying near Glymur Waterfall, there are many options for great hotels and accommodation in the Borgarnes area.
The Hraunsnef Country Hotel is an Old Norse-themed hotel with many hidden gems in its immediate vicinity. With a farm on-site where you can meet, feed and admire a range of animals, it is a great way to get a taste of local life in the Icelandic countryside.
Hotel Hamar is another great option, especially if you like golfing. With its beautiful surrounding 18-hole golf course, Hotel Hamar is located just a few minutes away from the Borgarnes center.
B59 Hotel is an open house 21st-century hotel designed with comfort in mind. It sports a great restaurant as well as a relaxing spa area.
Download Iceland’s biggest travel marketplace to your phone to manage your entire trip in one place
Scan this QR code with your phone camera and press the link that appears to add Iceland’s biggest travel marketplace into your pocket. Enter your phone number or email address to receive an SMS or email with the download link.