Iceland Ring Road: The Best Parts Are Free (Part 1)
Iceland is such a fascinating place for natural scenery, and the following waterfalls won’t disappoint!
Hraunfossar & Barnafoss
These two waterfalls are within a couple hundred feet of each other, and yet they are uniquely different.
Hruanfossar is a fascinating as it flows down the side of the Hallmundarhraun lava field into the river below. I visited near sunset and was treated to the most beautiful, peaceful, serene sight as the water fell gently into the river below.
Then to the right is Barnafoss. Light teal and white water forcefully crashed against the rocks as it fell through the air. It was loud and so wild compared to the mellow, relaxing Hraunfossar.
The contrasting waterfalls are majestic.
There are several viewing points for both waterfalls and a bridge that crosses the river to the other side.
I visited at the beginning of March, and I have to say it was quite cold and windy there. It was also quite slippery closer to Barnafoss, in fact, I saw one man fall, so, my advice is to be careful and use crampons in the winter months.
Parking is free, as is the entry to see the waterfalls. There are bathrooms which cost 100 isk.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of this when we visited, but the lava tube, Víðgelmir cave was also nearby. This remarkable excursion through 1100 year old lava sounds phenomenal and something I would definitely do if I ever visit Iceland again. It is only accessible with a tour guide, see The Cave’s website for more information.
Dettifoss & Selfoss
These waterfalls are about 20 minutes from the Ring Road. I read that there were two entrances, Google Maps suggested one entrance. However, we decided to follow the road signs.
It was a truly stunning day, evident by the sun shining down a rich blue sky and the pristine landscape covered with a blanket of snow. It brought me back to winters in Canada; memories of playing outside in the sunshine, eating snow (we’ve all done it), snowball fights, sledding, making snow angels, ah! The list goes on.
I had to do it…
We arrived at the car park and behind it was the perfect location for a snow angel, so I made one!
Apparently, my snow angel brought the kid out in others as we saw several on our way back to the car park that weren’t there before. We even saw people sliding down the side of a hill.
Oh, the fun! Oh, the memories!
We walked to Dettifoss first, although it was a little difficult to see the whole waterfall due to the cliffs of snow, it was still incredible.
Selfoss was further upstream and a much smaller waterfall compared to Dettifoss, but it was still lovely to see. The landscape lets you escape into the great outdoors where you can really connect with nature.
The river was so peaceful and mesmerizing to walk beside. We could see white snow for miles, and because there wasn’t a lot of people around (only one other couple), I could take pictures and really absorb the moment.
Parking is free but there didn’t seem to be a lot, so I imagine it could get busy during the summer.
Hengifoss & Litlanesfoss
I got to know about this hidden gem thanks to a fellow traveler. One fascinating thing about Iceland is how diverse and different each attraction is. You won’t see the same thing at two locations which is what makes it such a mysterious adventure.
We saw Litlanesfoss first, even though it wasn’t a powerful waterfall, it was definitely thought-provoking as the rocks consisted of high basalt columns making me wonder how it was formed.
Hengifoss is the third highest waterfall in Iceland and was quite a bit further up the mountain. Unfortunately, the weather conditions prevented me from getting to the base of the waterfall, despite this, I was able to get close enough to see it. Most of it was frozen which was uniquely striking.
In the summer you would see a colorful rock face behind the waterfall from volcanic eruptions when Iceland was formed during the Tertiary period.
Parking is free, and there is an outhouse style bathroom. The parking lot wasn’t huge, so I would imagine it would get busy during the summer. If you were to walk to the base of Hengifoss, it would take between 40 – 60 minutes.
Iceland & It's Beauty
Regardless of what you see in Iceland, it is bound to be incredibly fascinating.