Fifty shades of green: Hraunfossar and Bjarnafoss | Encaustichris

Fifty shades of green: Hraunfossar and Bjarnafoss

About an hour and a half drive from Reykjavik (in summer), we find the town of Reykholt (note there are two towns called Reykholt).!).

Reykholt is close to Pingvellir, a national park, where you can hike and find the Öxarárfoss, a beautiful waterfall, which is often completely frozen in winter, and then very photogenic.

On the edge of Pingvellir you will find the Hraunfossar falls, in English this means: Lava falls, in Dutch: Lava falls.

Foss is Icelandic for waterfall: fossar is the plural, Hraun means Lava.

By the way, Hraun is also the name of very delicious chocolate chunks, which you can buy at the Bonus, we always devour them in the holidays, but I digress.


So Hraunfossar: is an area of about a kilometre long, where it looks like the water flows from between the green plants.

In reality, this is not the case: the area is completely covered with Lava, which is porous. The water comes from the glacier and penetrates the lava.

There has been a lot of volcanic activity in this area, which has resulted in many corridors in the lava.

These corridors now enter the water, and this flows into the river in many small and larger waterfalls.

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Hraunfossar can be reached via road number 550, which is accessible in summer and winter, but be sure to have winter tyres, there can be a lot of snow in the area!

There is a large car park near the area, where you can park for free.

Near the entrance to the area is a restaurant, where there are sanitary facilities.

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It's a magical sight to see the water flowing from between all the green ery.

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And that motivated me to play with a filter, which makes the water look even whiter than it already is. (see picture above)

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The river, like the water that comes through the lava, contains meltwater from the Langjökull glacier (opens in a new window), under which there is a volcano.

Glacier water often sees white/grey. A children's story tells that this is because Grýla's breast milk is in the water.

Grýla is Iceland's most famous troll. She has 13 children, who play a role in the Icelandic Christmas story, more on that later.

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It turns out a magical sight: the water that seems to come out of nowhere.

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From the parking lot there is a fairly wide path to different vantage points, from where you can take a good shot of the Hraunfossar.

That is why it is often done, and rightly so, it is a beautiful area!

The first part of the path is wheelchair accessible, when you rise up, the path becomes uneven, and you need to be well on your feet.


When you walk up, you will find the Barnafoss, a waterfall in the Hvitá River.

Barnafoss means “children's waterfall”. In the river you will find a naturally shaped arch, which was used as a bridge in earlier times.

The story goes that children fell off the bridge and then drowned.

Their mother partially destroyed the bridge afterwards.

Nowadays you walk across a wooden pedestrian bridge.

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To give you an even better idea of the area, I made the video below:

Hraunfossar is beautiful in summer and winter!

I've been there in winter too, and while those photos don't have the best lighting, I'll post a few below to give you an idea.

The Hraunfossar may be even more magical in winter!

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Keep in mind that when you visit the area in winter, you do spikes under your shoes!

It can then be mirror-smooth in the area. The Barnafoss is not always easy to reach.


Whether you're in Iceland in summer or winter, the Hraunfossar are a must not be missed as far as I'm concerned.!

It's an easy to reach area, you'll be lost half an hour to an hour, but enjoy the magic!


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