Brúarfoss Waterfall, originating from Langjökull glacier with diamond blue water, may be smaller in size compared to other of its kind in Iceland, nevertheless – not less impressive. The breathtakingly icy blue water probably makes Brúarfoss one of the most Instagrammable spots on the Golden Circle. Unknown to the masses, hikers will be able to enjoy the hidden waterfall in peace. This may in fact be one of the few sights where getting a picture – without any unknown tourists in colourful jackets in it – actually is quite effortless. Contrary to many people’s beliefs – the trail to Brúarfoss is not closed. The short-cut is nowadays prohibited, but the hiking path is still open. Continue reading to learn more about Brúarfoss and get directions on how to get there in 2020.
Why visit Iceland’s bluest waterfall Brúarfoss?
If you have three hours to spare on your Golden Circle adventure, Brúarfoss waterfall is the
perfect detour. The waterfall is located only a 17 minute drive from the Golden Circle’s
Geysir Geothermal Area, and a 20 minute drive from Torfhús Retreat.
Brúarfoss waterfall is particularly appreciated as it is not as crowded as many of the other
waterfalls in Iceland. The reason for this is probably in part because visiting the hidden gem
equals a 7 kilometer (2.2 miles) round-trip hike. The 3,5 kilometer (1.1 miles) one-way walk
is however nothing but stunning. On your way to the main attraction you will also pass two
smaller waterfalls – Hlauptungufoss and Midfoss.
Meanwhile only being 3 meter high, Brúarfoss waterfall is not an experience many would
describe as small. Tourists and locals agree that the beauty of Brúarfoss is undeniable and a
sight you do not want to miss out on.
The river Brúará narrows as the glacial water flows down from the cliff edges into a deep
crevice. There are huge amounts of water spilling over the tips of the waterfall every minute,
and appointed Iceland’s bluest waterfall – Brúarfoss is certain to pop on photos.
How to get to Brúarfoss Waterfall 2020 from Reykjavík
To get to Brúarfoss Waterfall in 2020, search for “Bruarfoss Waterfall Official Parking” on
Google Maps or click here. From there you will find a trail along the right side of Brúará river
that you are going to follow for 3,5 kilometer (1.1 mile), with Hlauptungufoss waterfall and
Midfoss waterfall on the way before you reach the final show.
Do not set “Bruarfoss Waterfall” as your final destination when looking for driving directions –
this will lead you onto the wrong road and private property, which means that you are
violating people’s privacy. These directions are only meant for the people whose vacation
homes are located here. Travelers should, as described above, park their car at the official
You should however be aware that even though the difficulty level of the trail is not that high,
people have reported that the trail has been very muddy at times, depending on weather and
temperatures. This is something to take into consideration before setting out.
If you suspect muddy trails, there are alternative sights in the nearby area that are equally
stunning, e.g. Faxi Waterfall.
Be mindful about your impact on nature
The number one piece of advice to anyone looking to visit Brúarfoss – or any other natural
sight for that part – be respectful. Be mindful about the nature surrounding you as well as
people and their homes.
Problems have been reported with tourists trespassing onto private property, blocking
people’s roads and driveways, as well as littering and leaving toilet paper in nature – none of
which is acceptable behaviour. This has caused a lot of discussion of how nature is treated
and whether some sights should be closed to preserve the nature surrounding them as well
as in respect for the people living in the areas.
Other detours from the Golden Circle
Depending on how much time you have set aside to travel the Golden Circle, you might want
to make a couple of detours to visit some of the less known sights around the route. Beyond
Brúarfoss waterfall, another hidden gem worth paying a visit to is Faxi Waterfall.
To find additional hidden sights and learn more about the Golden Circle – what to see, where
to stay, and which activities to do – click here.
Why is the water in Brúarfoss Waterfall blue?
There is no fair one-line answer to this question.
We have established that Brúará is a glacial river that originates from Langjökull glacier. The
water that flows in the river is thus cold melt water from the glacier.
Something that you might not know is that glaciers actually do not stand still, they have slow
movement that causes them to erode the rock surface beneath them. The ground up rock is
comparable to a very fine powder, and is sometimes called rock- or glacial flour. Maybe you
have heard of the term glacial milk? The ground up rock particles are so small that they
blend into the meltwater from the glacier and make it appear cloudy.
Because of the cold temperatures, there are not a great deal of micro-organisms and plants
that re-purpose the particles, so instead they stay suspended in the water.
Why the water appears blue is essentially because of how the sun reflects in the fine ground
up rock particles from underneath the glacier. Different things reflect the sun’s light
differently. Water generally absorbs longer wavelengths, meanwhile the rock particles
absorb shorter wavelengths, this combination scatters blue and green tones back to our
As the crevice is so deep and allows a larger collection of water to flow through, the large
mass of water and density of rock particles will make the turquoise colour appear more
opaque. Additionally, the dark rock surrounding the crevice will naturally make the blue
colour stand out.
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