Have you ever seen a photo of something on the Internet and thought, that must be photoshopped! There’s no way that water is that blue, or the sand is that pink. Well, I can tell you, that all the photos of the Bruarfoss Waterfall in Iceland are a version of true (I think some people intensify the blue).
The water really is insanely blue, but it’s more like a an icy white slightly turquoise blue. I’m sure the amount of sunlight and the surrounding vegetation can all add to the color and that it can change in photographs, but when I was there that is how I would describe the color. I think I read somewhere that the water is blue because it’s glacier water, but I tried to find that article again and haven’t been able to (if you know where it is, please leave a link below).
I was there on a pretty cloudy misty day so my photos don’t do this gorgeous waterfall justice. There is a video at the end of the post you can check out as well.
I believe the translation of Bruarfoss is “waterfall bridge” or “bridge over water” and I’ve read multiple places that it gets its name from a natural stone arch over the river near the waterfall. “Foss” in Icelandic means “waterfall” so all of the waterfalls end in “foss” — Bruarfoss, Gullfoss, Skógafoss.
This waterfall is definitely off the beaten path and a little mysterious to get too. Lately it’s blown up on the Internet so I’m sure with Iceland’s influx of savvy travelers it will probably only get more and more attention. I hope, for the benefit of the Icelandic, that they create a way to get to the waterfall that is well marked and easy because currently it’s not very obvious or easy to find. I’ve read that it’s actually private property and people (me included) are trespassing to get to it (not that you would know you were — we didn’t know).
I read this post to help us find the waterfall, but I actually didn’t follow her directions, because I read in the comments that house #14 in the little neighborhood it is behind, was close to the path to get there. So we ended up parking on the street by that house and just walking on some paths until we found it.
Another person in the comments of that post said she talked to a local and was given this info to get there without going into the summer house area: Instead of going into the summer house area, stop right before the 355 road, immediately after crossing the bridge (coming from Laugarvatn Fontana, heading to Geysir on 37). There on your left, you can park and walk upstream along the river for about 3.5 km. There is a small chain hanging over the path, but that’s just to stop cars from driving in. As you walk upstream, you can enjoy a beautiful walk and see all three waterfalls in that area, Bruarfoss being the highest one up.
So I would recommend doing that versus what we did and apparently trespassing.
After a while of having no idea if we were going the right way we saw a sign, an arrow, and a bridge. Then a few people were coming over the bridge and they said we were going the right way and of all the waterfalls they had seen in Iceland so far, this one was their favorite.
Once we crossed this bridge it was very muddy. I’m sure if it was colder the ground would be harder, but we went in September when the weather wasn’t too cold yet. Once you find this bridge (above) it wasn’t far at all. It wasn’t difficult, just very very slippery.
There are multiple little paths and the first one we followed took us to this view (above), so we realized we needed to go the other way to get to the red bridge to see the waterfall. But this was our first peek at Bruarfoss and once I saw that water I was like OMG!
And hello, I was in love.
You can cross the bridge and actually go down a path and get right up on the waterfall and take photos from below.
For the very first activity we did in Iceland, this one set the bar pretty high!
It’s not a huge waterfall like Gullfoss, but it’s gorgeous and I highly recommend going to see it when in Iceland. The hike is not hard, but if it’s rained and the ground is wet, it will be slippery and muddy so keep that in mind.
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Photos by Meg Biram