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Why Visiting the Beautiful Barnafoss Waterfall in Iceland is a Must

Which waterfall in Iceland is best? With over 10,000 waterfalls on the island, it’s nearly impossible to answer that question. But there are a few that are considered must-visit spots on any Iceland trip, and one of these is Barnafoss Waterfall.

Barnafoss is not only a beautiful waterfall but also has an interesting backstory. We will tell you all about it, explain why Barnafoss is so special, and how you can plan your visit to this famous waterfall.

Barnafoss Waterfall

What Makes Barnafoss Waterfall So Special?

The name Barnafoss translates to ‘Children’s Fall’ and relates to the waterfall’s interesting backstory. The waterfall is exceptionally beautiful as it plummets into a pool of bright blue water before traveling further downriver. Barnafoss is kind of our 2-for-1 waterfall special here on the island, since it’s just a short walk upstream from Hraunfossar Waterfall, where water cascades over the cliff edge from the Hallmundarhraun Lava Field.

Where is Barnafoss in Iceland?

Barnafoss Waterfall forms part of the Hvita River in Borgarfjördur in western Iceland. It is roughly 100 kilometers from Reykjavík, which makes a day outing from the capital city possible, but we suggest adding it as a stop along a Ring Road road trip.

How Do I Get to Barnafoss Waterfall?

You can visit Barnafoss Waterfall as part of a guided tour (whether an existing tour or a customized private tour). Or you can drive there yourself, which is usually best if you want to stay in full control of your time and trip itinerary. The drive from Reykjavík will take about just an hour and a half and is very easy. Drive towards Borgarnes on the Ring Road route.

Take the shortcut through the Hvalfjördur Tunnel and turn right onto Road 50 just before reaching Borgarnes. Continue driving for about 25 minutes. Turn onto Road 518 and continue for roughly 15 minutes before you reach the Barnafoss Waterfall parking lot. From there, reaching the waterfall will require a hike, but the trail is only a 2.1-kilometer out-and-back trail, and is considered easy despite being muddy in places.

What is the History of the Barnafoss Waterfall?

The backstory of Barnafoss Waterfall and how it got its name is quite a tragedy. According to legend, a local family, the Hraunsas, had two children who stayed home whilst the rest of the household went to church. The children were given strict instructions to stay inside the house, but they soon got bored and ventured outdoors. When the family returned and found that the children were missing, they immediately started searching the area.

They tracked the children’s footprints all the way to a natural stone arch that crossed the river like a bridge. At this point, the tracks were lost, and it became clear that the children had fallen from the bridge into the river and drowned. The grief-stricken mother had the arch destroyed to prevent any other families from going through the same pain in the future. It is also said that a curse was placed on anyone trying to cross the river in an effort to thwart any future attempts and fatal accidents.

History of the Barnafoss Waterfall

Is Barnafoss Worth It?

Barnafoss is one of the prettiest waterfalls in Iceland, and the fact that one can pop around to visit its sibling waterfall, Hraunfossar, all-in-one visit is a bonus. With it located practically on the Ring Road, it’s an easy stop along the way. So, whether you want to make a day outing of it or add it as a stop along your road trip, be sure to rent a car in Iceland and check out this magnificent landmark for yourself.



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