Embarking on a journey to the mystical Brúarfoss, the waterfall with Iceland's most mesmerizing blue waters, is tempting.
But is the demanding hike worth the captivating view? This comprehensive guide aims to answer this question, giving you a deep dive into this natural marvel's characteristics, location, and history.
Curious to uncover the allure of Brúarfoss? Keep reading to find out if this Icelandic adventure aligns with your bucket list aspirations.
What Makes Brúarfoss Unique Among Icelandic Waterfalls?
Due to its distinctively blue waters, Brúarfoss stands apart from its Icelandic peers, such as Gullfoss and Seljalandsfoss. This unique hue earned it the title of 'Iceland's Bluest Waterfall,' a testament to its striking beauty.
A visit to Brúarfoss unveils a visual spectacle where glacial water pours into a deep, cerulean blue lagoon. The cascade's mesmerizing blue intensity results from the glacial sediments in the Langjökull glacier's water.
This striking coloration and its intimate size and secluded location offer a unique and enchanting spectacle that sets Brúarfoss apart in the pantheon of Icelandic waterfalls.
What is the History of Brúarfoss?
The haunting allure of Brúarfoss Falls extends beyond its azure waters, deep into the bowels of its sad history. Aptly named after a stone bridge that once spanned the Brúará River, Brúarfoss bears witness to tales of betrayal and murder.
The stone bridge was destroyed intentionally to safeguard lands during a famine, setting the stage for the chilling tale that would forever stain its waters. In 1433, under envy and unfulfilled desires, Jón Gerreksson, the Danish pope, met his gruesome end here.
Driven by jealousy, he was drowned by Þorvarður Loftsson, who was lured into this deadly act by Margrét Vigfúsdóttir, promising marriage as a reward for the terrifying deed.
Gerreksson's death was cruel - he was placed in a bag, tied to a stone, and cast into the river. Can you imagine what that must have felt like? It gives a new meaning to the phrase 'sleeping with the fishes.'
How to Reach Brúarfoss?
Navigating the mesmerizing Brúarfoss in Iceland offers travelers two distinct paths. The newly-established parking lot, a recent addition as of 2023, provides a brief, 5-minute stroll straight to the waterfall's heart, ideal for those pressed for time.
Alternatively, you can take the traditional hiking trail, which is a bit more challenging and extends for almost 7 kilometers (4.3 miles). On this trail, you will also be treated to several smaller cascades.
If you're driving from Reykjavík, expect a travel time of around 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach the new parking lot or about 2 hours to start from the traditional trail. From Geysir, the driving times are approximately 20 minutes. If you're exploring the famed Golden Circle, adding Brúarfoss can be a seamless detour, making your Icelandic adventure even more enchanting.
How Much is Parking at Brúarfoss?
At Brúarfoss Falls, there are two parking lots for visitors. The new lot, located a 5-minute walk from the waterfall, charges 750 ISK. At the start of the traditional trail, the second lot offers free parking, though it's a longer, 7-kilometer (.4.3 mile) hike to the waterfall. The second parking lot also has space for 25 vehicles and no restrooms.
What Can You Expect on the Brúarfoss Waterfall Hike?
The Brúarfoss hike is an enticing flat walk along the beautiful Brúará River. It is open 24/7 and suitable for all ages due to its ease. From the parking lot, the trail extends 3.5 km (2.2 miles) one-way, with an approximate walking time of 1 hour.
Following the wide gravel path north from the parking lot, you have the choice of a shortcut across a small peninsula in the river's bend or the alternative longer path that follows the river. Be cautious during rain, as the trail can be muddy. As you traverse through a dense forest of small trees, the trail narrows and slightly inclines closer to Brúarfoss. Along the way, you'll encounter two smaller waterfalls: Hlauptungufoss and Midfoss, each offering their unique charm.
Once at Brúarfoss Waterfall, a wooden bridge welcomes you, offering picture-perfect photo opportunities. Cross the bridge to the riverbank for closer photos and capture memories of your adventurous day of hiking in Iceland. When you return, use the same trail.
Is the Brúarfoss Waterfall Hike Worth the Effort?
Although Brúarfoss Waterfall is undeniably a captivating sight, we thought it was somewhat ordinary when compared to the many other enchanting attractions that Iceland has to offer. The Brúarfoss hike, passing Hlauptungufoss and Midfoss, can be long and uneventful.
Yes, the new parking lot eases access, but it's not free. If you're short on time or prefer more thrilling locales, consider skipping Brúarfoss. Nonetheless, it's worth a visit if you're touring the Golden Circle or a waterfall enthusiast. For alternative suggestions, refer to our 20 Best Waterfalls in Iceland article.
What are Some Tips for Visiting Brúarfoss Falls?
If you plan to visit Brúarfoss Falls, consider these handy tips to enhance your experience:
Best Times to Visit: The summer months of June to August offer extended daylight hours and milder weather, making this period ideal for hiking and sightseeing.
What to Bring: Pack layers to adjust to Iceland's weather, which can be unpredictable, so ensure you have comfortable walking shoes.
Respect the Environment: Stick to marked trails to avoid damaging delicate flora and refrain from feeding or disturbing local wildlife.
Are There Any Hidden Gems Near Brúarfoss?
Absolutely! Just a short drive from Brúarfoss, you'll find several lesser-known attractions that can enrich your Iceland adventure:
Faxi Waterfall: A smaller but mesmerizing waterfall nestled within a peaceful setting, perfect for a picnic. It's only about a 20-minute drive from Brúarfoss Falls.
Secret Lagoon: An off-the-beaten-path hot spring offering a chance to unwind in geothermal waters. It's approximately 30 minutes away from Brúarfoss Waterfall.
Kerið Crater Lake: A volcanic lake with vibrant blue water contrasted by red volcanic rock. It's approximately a 30-minute drive from Brúarfoss.
Efstidalur II: Discover a charming local farm where you can indulge in authentic Icelandic ice cream. In addition, they offer a restaurant with an extensive menu. Located just a 10-minute drive from Brúarfoss, it's a must-visit destination for culinary enthusiasts.
To freely explore these hidden gems, consider renting a car in Iceland. We guarantee the best value for money and hassle-free booking. So, when you plan your trip to Brúarfoss Falls, add these hidden gems to your itinerary for an unforgettable experience in the Land of Fire and Ice!
How Does Brúarfoss Falls Compare to Other Icelandic Waterfalls?
Brúarfoss may lack the grandeur of Iceland's iconic waterfalls like Gullfoss or Skógafoss. Still, it offers a unique charm with its striking blue waters. While it doesn't boast the height or volume of its counterparts, Brúarfoss's allure lies in its crystal clear turquoise stream, providing an intimate and serene experience distinct from the country's more dramatic cascades.
Embracing the Beauty of Bruarfoss
If you're looking for a lesser-known gem in Iceland, we recommend visiting Brúarfoss. But if you're short on time or prefer more thrilling locales, consider skipping Brúarfoss. No matter what, the decision to visit Brúarfoss still comes down to personal taste and preferences. However, by visiting Brúarfoss Falls, you can witness breathtaking natural beauty and gain an unforgettable experience!