Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall

Aldeyjarfoss in late winter © Christin Irma Schröder
Aldeyjarfoss in late winter © Christin Irma Schröder

Though only twenty meters in height and a little off the beaten track, Aldeyjarfoss waterfall has symmetrical features and geologically interesting surrounds. Tumbling through a narrow passage into a wide basin, the concertinaed black basalt columns provide a stark contrast against the thrashing white foam, making it one of Iceland’s photographic gems.
Aldeyjarfoss is one of most impressive waterfalls on the Skjálfandafljót River’s route from the Vatnajokull ice cap to Skjálfandi Bay. Others include Ingvararfoss, Hrafnabjargafoss, Barnafoss and the most famous, Goðafoss.

The land here is part of an apalhraun lava field, named Suðurárhraun, which was originally formed by eruptions, some 9500 years ago. In Icelandic, hraun simply means lava. The official English terms for basaltic lava flows are taken from Hawaii – apalhraun is a platy lava flow known as ʻaʻā and helluhraun is a ropier kind of lava known as pāhoehoe.

The award winning Icelandic movie Hrútar was filmed at the last two farms in the valley Bólstaður and Mýri. The movie tells the story of two brothers loving on farms side by side without speaking to each other for 40 years.

How to get there

Nearly 90km from Húsavík, this could take a couple of hours to reach, but it´s well worth the trip. Aldeyjarfoss is located in the valley of Bárðardalur, on the edge of the Icelandic highlands. To reach the waterfall, take the 842 road off the ring road between Goðafoss and Akureyri. This turns into the mountain road, F26, towards the end. Once you reach the gate after the farm named Mýri, you are nearly there.

The waterfall can be reached with a normal car until the last farm Mýri, then by foot walking the last kilometers. The walk is about 40min in good weather conditions. A 4×4 car can drive all the way until the waterfall June til September since there is no winter service on the road.

GPS: 65°21’59.7″N 17°20’12.9″W

Hrafnabjargafoss

The name of this waterfall could be translated as Raven Rock’s Waterfall falls in two cascades with a big rock in between and reminds a bit of Goðafoss. Small streams drop from the island into the river below. Hrafnabjarfarfoss is a secret gem in the stream and only few people know about it. The waterfall is just a bit south of Aldeyjarfoss and can be reached via a footpath.

GPS: 65°20’30.8″N 17°20’27.9″W