Iceland: Hraunfossar and Barnafoss

Hraunfossar (lava waterfalls) and Barnafoss (children’s waterfall – I will tell the story below) in the neighbourhood of Reykholt, are two very different waterfalls, yet both very pretty. I discovered them back in 2002 during a trip with my friend Manuela. Back then, as far as I can remember,  it was still pretty rough over there.

In 2013, I went back with Elly Katie and Helen. I was surprised to find walking paths and several vantage points. You even can cross a bridge to get to the other side of the waterfalls, where you enjoy a really nice view on the neighbouring area. Just park you car in the carpark and explore the area.

Hraunfossar, a wall of little waterfalls

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Hraunfossar
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Hraunfossar – detail

Hraunfossar or lava waterfalls is the first one you encounter. These waterfalls are more than 900 meters wide and very cute. All the little water streams coming out of the Hallmundarhraun lavafield go down in the Hvitá (White river). The lavafield is highly porous, so the water finds a way through.

Barnafoss, a sad story

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Barnafoss

The Children’s waterfall derives its name from a very sad story, some kind of Home Alone avant-la-letrre. There used to a very narrow natural arch over the waterfall which people used to cross it, the story tells (another one than the one you can see there still right now, I guess). One day a wealthy woman in the nearby Hraunsás went with her entire household to the church. Her two boys stayed at home but after a while, they started missing mum and went after the whole lot to the church at Gilsbakki.

But when they crossed the narrow bridge, hand in hand, they made the mistake to look down into the swirling river. They got so dizzy that they fell down and drowned.

Their mother was desparate when she got home and the boys were nowhere to be found. People had seen them going near the river so eventually she had the arch broken down so no one could fall and drown ever after.

(Story based on what I read in A traveller’s guide to Icelandic Folk Tales by Jón R. Hjálmarsson)


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43_Hraunfoss 52_hallowestfjorden 53_jumping 52_ikke Barnafoss

More Icelandic waterfalls? Check my Waterfall walhalla post.

Do you need more inspiration for your trip to Iceland? Check all my posts!

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