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  • Writer's pictureScandinavian Travel

Hrafnabjargafoss Waterfall: A Hidden Gem in Iceland

Iceland is renowned for its stunning waterfalls, each offering unique beauty and charm. Among these natural wonders is Hrafnabjargafoss, a lesser-known but equally breathtaking waterfall located in the Skjálfandafljót river. This guide will provide all the information you need to plan a visit to this enchanting destination.


Hrafnabjargafoss is situated in the northeastern region of Iceland, within the Skjálfandafljót river, one of Iceland’s longest rivers. Unlike the more famous waterfalls like Goðafoss and Dettifoss, Hrafnabjargafoss remains relatively unknown, making it a perfect spot for those seeking tranquility and unspoiled natural beauty.


Hrafnabjargafoss Waterfall

The Skjálfandafljót River


The Skjálfandafljót river is home to several notable waterfalls, each with distinct characteristics:


  • Goðafoss: Known for its historical significance and stunning horseshoe shape.

  • Aldeyarfoss: Famous for its surrounding hexagonal basalt columns.

  • Ingvararfoss: Features two rapid falls meeting tumultuously.

  • Barnafoss: Shares its name with another waterfall in west Iceland.

  • Ullarfoss: Fed by fresh springs, offering a serene landscape.


The Skjálfandafljót River

The Unique Beauty of Hrafnabjargafoss


Hrafnabjargafoss is a distinctive waterfall, notable for its horseshoe shape and multiple chutes, which create a picturesque scene. The waterfall is approximately five meters tall and is framed by an enchanting landscape of moss-covered lava rocks and black sands.


During the summer, the surrounding area bursts with vibrant greenery, making it a lush and inviting destination. In contrast, winter transforms the landscape into a serene snow-covered wonderland, although reaching the waterfall during this season poses significant challenges due to the snow and ice-covered paths.


Getting to Hrafnabjargafoss


Reaching Hrafnabjargafoss requires some planning, especially considering the seasonal accessibility:


Summer Access


Hrafnabjargafoss is accessible primarily during the summer months. Visitors need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to navigate the highland roads, which are not maintained in winter and often covered in snow.



Driving Directions from Akureyri


  1. Start in Akureyri: Follow the Ring Road (Route 1) eastward.

  2. Turn onto Route 844: Head towards the country’s interior.

  3. Continue on Route 842: This road leads to the highlands.

  4. Switch to F26: This road takes you past Aldeyarfoss, a worthy stop along the way.

  5. Reach Íshólsvatn Lake: From here, a trail leads 500 meters to the left, guiding you to Hrafnabjargafoss.


The drive from Akureyri takes about an hour and a half without stops.


Winter Visits


In winter, visiting Hrafnabjargafoss is only possible through specialized tours. These tours use equipped vehicles and experienced guides to ensure safety.


Hrafnabjargafoss Waterfall in Iceland

Exploring Nearby Attractions


A trip to Hrafnabjargafoss can be part of a broader exploration of northern Iceland, which boasts several other attractions:


Mývatn Area


  • Mývatn Nature Baths: Enjoy the soothing geothermal waters.

  • Dimmuborgir Lava Fortress: Explore fascinating lava formations.

  • Grjótagjá Hot Spring Cave: A unique geothermal cave.


Námaskarð Pass


This area features seething mud-pits and steaming fumaroles, offering a dramatic geothermal landscape.


Jökulsá á Fjöllum River Waterfalls


  • Selfoss: A beautiful and powerful waterfall.

  • Dettifoss: The most powerful waterfall in Europe.

  • Hafragilsfoss: Another impressive fall worth visiting.


Ásbyrgi Canyon


A dramatic, forested horseshoe-shaped canyon located just north of Dettifoss.


Planning Your Visit


When planning your visit to Hrafnabjargafoss, consider the following tips:


  • Travel season: Summer is the best time to visit for accessibility and pleasant weather.

  • Vehicle requirements: A four-wheel-drive vehicle is essential for navigating the highland roads.

  • Nearby stops: Include other waterfalls and attractions in your itinerary for a comprehensive experience.


Frequently Asked Questions


How to get Hrafnabjargafoss waterfall?


To reach Hrafnabjargafoss, drive from Akureyri along the Ring Road (Route 1), turn onto Route 844, continue on Route 842, and finally switch to F26. The drive takes about an hour and a half.


Is Hrafnabjargafoss the biggest waterfall in Iceland?


No, Hrafnabjargafoss is not the biggest waterfall in Iceland. It is approximately five meters tall. The most powerful waterfall in Iceland and Europe is Dettifoss, located in the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river.


Hrafnabjargafoss is a hidden gem in Iceland, offering visitors a unique and serene experience. Its stunning beauty, combined with the allure of the surrounding Skjálfandafljót river waterfalls and northern Iceland attractions, makes it a must-visit destination. When planning your trip, ensure you have the right vehicle, visit in summer for easier access, and take the opportunity to explore the best waterfalls in Iceland.


For those looking to enhance their Iceland adventure, consider renting a camper for the ultimate flexibility and comfort. Visit Camper Rental Iceland to find the perfect camper for your journey and make unforgettable memories exploring Iceland’s natural wonders.

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