Information about Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in West Iceland.

Hraunfossar ('Lava Falls' in English) in Borgarfjörður district is a series of beautiful waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field. It is located in West Iceland near another waterfall called Barnafoss.

Geography and Surroundings of Hraunfossar

The lava field that Hraunfossar trickles through flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the nearby glacier of Langjökull, the second largest ice-cap in Iceland. The waterfalls pour into the Hvítá river from ledges of less porous rock in the lava.

The Hvítá river is one of the most popular rivers amongst visitors for two reasons. Firstly, it is the most easily accessible rafting river from Reykjavík, with rapids that are manageable even for total novices. Secondly, it is the river that hosts the mighty waterfall Gullfoss, one of the three sites of the popular the Golden Circle route.

Hraunfossar is not actually one waterfall, but hundreds.

Because the area around Hraunfossar used to be the site of constant eruptions, the lava fields are known for their hidden caves. The country's longest cave, Víðgelmir, can be found near the waterfall. This amazing feature is 1,595 metres long (5,200 feet), up to 15.8 metres high (52 feet) and 16.5 metres wide (54 feet).

Its geological history may be fascinating, being just a thousand years old, though its human history stirs just as much intrigue as the lava field was once home to bandits and, according to folklore it is the home of trolls.

Another major site near Hraunfossar is an incredibly short walk away, and though also a waterfall, could not be more different. Barnafoss surges down a narrow, rocky valley with ferocious power, foaming and churning quite spectacularly. According to legend, however, the force of these rapids led to tragedy.

It was said that an old stone bridge once went over the falls, and two boys at a nearby farm, bored at home, attempted to cross it to catch up with their parents at church. However, they felt dizzy due to its height, fell, and drowned.

The legend ends in two different ways, with the least interesting saying the mother in grief simply ordered the bridge destroyed. Other tales say that she cursed the bridge using an Icelandic rune so that any who crossed would meet the same fate as her sons.

In this version, the bridge and curse were later broken by an earthquake.

The story led the waterfall its name; it translates to ‘Children’s Falls’.

Settlements near Hraunfossar

The nearest settlement of significance to Hraunfossar is Reykholt.

This tiny village has a huge history, being home to the legendary writer, chieftain, lawspeaker and poet Snorri Sturluson. Without Snorri, huge amounts of Icelandic, Nordic and even British history would be unknown.

He alone at the time catalogued a history of Norwegian kings and their relations with other monarchs through the work Heimskringla, as well as the Norse mythological beliefs through Prose Edda. It is also believed that Snorri first wrote many of the sagas still read today.

Reykholt has a centre dedicated to Snorri called Snorrastofa, which discusses his fascinating life as much as his works. Working during the times of Iceland’s tumultuous civil war as a chieftain, lawspeaker and spokesman of the Norwegian king, who had ambitions to take the country, it is a story with as much politics, betrayal, blood and sexual impropriety as Game of Thrones.

Hraunfossar is also reasonably close to Borganes, another town with a long history. Here, visitors can see the Settlement Centre with its two exhibitions on Iceland’s past, one is on the first people to reach this island over a thousand years ago, and the other is on Iceland’s most famous saga, Egil’s Saga.

 

Services near Hraunfossar

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Hraunfossar

Barnafoss

 Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Johann Dréo Barnafoss is a rapid waterfall in West Iceland, just a short walk away from ...

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Víðgelmir

Photo from: Into the Lava | Audio Tour of Víðgelmir Lava Cave and Borgarfjörður Viðgelmir is the largest lava tube in Ic...

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Deildartunguhver

  Deildartunguhver is a hot spring located in Reykholtsdalur, a district of west Iceland. Deildartunguhver is the highest flowing hot spring i...

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Surtshellir

  Surtshellir, named after the fire giant of Norse mythology is the longest and most renowned lava cave in Iceland. Surtshellir is locate...

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Kaldidalur

The road of Kaldidalur valley  is a highland road, stretching from Thingvellir to Husafell (in Borgarfjordur district),  between Langjo...

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Snorrastofa

Snorrastofa is a cultural- and research center for medeval studies and the history of Borgarfjordur. The museum is situated in Reykholt, where Snorri...

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Reykholt

Reykholt is a tiny village in west Iceland, which was once home to one of the world’s greatest medieval writers. Packed with history and cultu...

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Árhver and Vellir

Árhver (and nearby Vellir) is a geological feature which consists of six to eight vents on small sand flats, some slightly elevated but most ...

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Krauma Spa

  The Krauma Spa is a geothermal bath and spa resort in West Iceland. It is located near Europe's highest flowing hot spring, Deildartunguhv...

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Þórisjökull

  Thorisjokull is a small glacier volcano in the Icelandic highlands. Thorisjokull is 1350 m high and located by the mountain trail Kaldidalur ...

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Langjökull

  The mighty Langjökull, the ‘Long Glacier’, is the second-largest glacier in Iceland, at 935 square kilometres (361 square mi...

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West Iceland

West Iceland is home to the country’s capital city, Reykjavík, and an array of impressive natural sites. These include Europe's mos...

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Glanni

Glanni is a beautiful waterfall in West Iceland, located close to the Grabrokarhraun lava field and the village Bifrost. Situated nearby, in the mid...

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Eiriksjökull

  The  1675 meter high Eiriksjokull is located in the Borgarfjordur district, just east of Langjokull glacier. Eiriksjokull lies on the fri...

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Grábrók

Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir Grábrók is a volcanic crater east of Lake Hreðavatn in the fjord of Borgarfj...

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Fossatún

Fossatún is a country hotel, renowned for being a centre to learn about Iceland’s troll folklore. Nearby are Troll Waterfal...

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Hallmundarhraun

  Hallmundarhraun is a lava field of the pahoehoe type (i.e. smooth unbroken basaltic lava with a smooth, billowy, undulating, or ropy surface) ...

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Skjaldbreiður

  Skjaldbreidur is a shield volcano in southwest Iceland. It is indeed shaped like a broad shield, whence it derives its name. The volcano cul...

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Glymur

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, photo credit: Andreas Tille Glymur is Iceland’s second-tallest waterfall, and the tallest that is easily accessibl...

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Hvanneyri

Hvanneyri is a small agriculture and church centre in the west of Iceland and can be visited 80 km north of Reykjavik in the municipality of Borgarbyg...

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