Troll Waterfall near Borgarnes Travel Guide
The Trollafossar waterfall, also called the Troll waterfall, is located in West Iceland and is the largest of numerous waterfalls along the Grimsa river. Stretching 230-262 feet (70-80 meters) wide, this waterfall is a popular site that is steeped in Icelandic folklore.
Trollafossar waterfall is an excellent stop while touring West Iceland and can easily be added to the itinerary while on a West Iceland self-drive tour. After visiting Trollafossar, continue on to tour the Snaefellsnes peninsula and even have the adventure of a lifetime with a hike along the Snaefellsjokull glacier.
The Troll waterfall, spelled Tröllafossar in Icelandic, is a great stop on a tour of West Iceland. Though not as tall as some of the more famous waterfalls around Iceland, Trollafossar is unique for its immense width, stunning natural surroundings, and interesting folklore.
Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
Trollafossar waterfall, not to be confused with Trollafoss waterfall on the Golden Circle, which is located in West Iceland. The waterfall is along the Grimsa river and is about 12 miles (20 kilometers) east of Borgarnes Town and about 57 miles (92 kilometers) north of Reykjavik.
Grimsa River is one of the best-known and most beautiful rivers in Iceland, starting in the Reydarvatn lake and eventually flowing out into Borgarfjordur fjord. It is particularly popular with salmon anglers and features numerous waterfalls, including Trollafossar.
From the waterfall, the stunning landscape of Iceland is truly mind-blowing, and the distinctive-shaped Skessuhorn mountain can be seen in the distance. Skessuhorn is another legendary location, named for the troll that used to sit atop the mountain and watch the people below while deciding who she was going to catch.
West Iceland is a fantastic region for travelers looking to immerse themselves in nature. There are abundant options for hiking, fishing, camping, and photography while still benefiting from the amenities of towns like Borgarnes and Akranes.
Folklore of Trollafossar Waterfall
Trollafossar waterfall is named after the trolls of Iceland, an important part of the folklore alongside the hidden people.
Folklore and mythology are an essential part of Icelandic culture, and even today many Icelandic people report believing in elves and other mythological creatures. The elves, or hidden people, are one of the most beloved aspects of Icelandic folklore.
Icelanders highly respect the elves, enough so that even as recently as 2015 an entire road was rerouted after numerous equipment failures made the locals conclude the elves were unhappy with the location of the road.
Trolls aren’t loved or respected at the same level as their elfin counterparts but are still a notable aspect of Icelandic folklore.
It is common to hear stories about trolls in Iceland, and many of the large rock formations in the country have something to do with this folklore. In Icelandic legends, trolls are giant creatures living in caves who can only come out at night.
If trolls are outside when the sun rises, they immediately turn to stone. Therefore, many of the large and oddly-shaped rocks in Iceland are seen as trolls that met this unfortunate end.
Some of the most famous trolls-turned-stone are the Reynisdrangar sea stacks on Iceland’s South Coast. Jutting up from the Atlantic off of the Reynisfjara black sand beach, the Reynisdrangar stacks are supposedly trolls who got caught by the sun as they attempted to drag a boat to the shore.
The stone troll of Trollafossar can be found in the rocks by the riverbank. A careful look near the falls allows travelers to spot the troll’s profile and helps to visualize how these legends came to be.
Down the road from Trollafossar is the well-loved Fossatun campground, featuring traditional campsites, camping pods, cottages, and a country hotel. A stay here is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of West Iceland.
For those who love Icelandic folklore and the stories of trolls, there is no better accommodation than Fossatun. After spotting the stone troll at Trollafossar, visitors can head to the hotel’s Troll Garden or the Rock ‘n Troll Coffee House to learn more about the local mythology.
The owner of the Fossatun campground has written numerous books about trolls in Iceland. His folk stories are popular around the world and are a great introduction to Icelandic folklore for kids and adults alike.
Further accommodation can easily be found in Borgarnes. Borgarnes is a great base for travelers wanting to visit all the top West Iceland attractions.
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula
The Snaefellsnes peninsula, encompassing the Snaefellsjokull National Park and Snaefellsjokull glacier on its western tip, is a perfect example of the beauty of Iceland. Often called “Iceland in Miniature,” the peninsula has everything that makes Iceland so recognizable around the world.
From black sand beaches, towering mountains, breathtaking glaciers, and sweeping fields of wildflowers, the Snaefellsnes peninsula is a must-see when visiting West Iceland.
For travelers seeking unspoiled nature, awe-inspiring views, and no crowds, Iceland’s Westfjords can’t be beaten. This region is one of the least visited areas in the country, primarily due to being very remote and vast.
A quick 14-mile (22-kilometer) drive from Trollafossar is the charming town of Borgarnes. Sitting on the shore of the Borgarfjordur fjord, Borgarnes is a medium-sized town filled with charm, history, and all the amenities one might need.
Considered the gateway to the Snaefellsnes peninsula, many travelers make stops here before continuing their journey around the Westfjords.
Mount Kirkjufell is the most iconic view in West Iceland and possibly the entire country. This steeple-shaped peak, the reason for the name “Church Mountain,” rises sharply above the West Iceland countryside and provides the perfect photo opportunity.
Kirkjufell is located on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) from Trollafossar. Trollafossar is an easy detour to make while on a journey to Kirkjufell.
Forty miles (64 kilometers) from Trollafossar is another waterfall that is sure to amaze. Glymur waterfall is the second tallest in Iceland, cascading down an astonishing 650 feet (198 meters).
A hike of around three and a half hours is required to reach the waterfall, but it is well worth the effort. This magnificent wonder of nature can’t be missed when touring West Iceland.