Hengifoss Waterfall

Travel Guide to the Majestic Hengifoss Waterfall in Iceland

Iceland is truly a wonderland of natural beauty, renowned for its striking contrasts of fire and ice. No wonder it has become one of the most sought-after destinations for travelers worldwide. The majestic Hengifoss waterfall is a natural wonder nestled in the eastern part of Iceland, captivating visitors with its towering height and awe-inspiring views.

If you’re planning to visit Iceland, the Hengifoss waterfall is an absolute must-see. This breathtaking attraction is just one of the many stunning sights you can discover throughout this magnificent country. To make the most of visiting Iceland, take advantage of an Iceland attractions map, which can help you plan your itinerary and ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the top destinations. So, make sure to pack your hiking boots and camera, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure to the stunning Hengifoss waterfall!

About Hengifoss Waterfall

Hengifoss waterfall is a natural wonder that draws visitors from all over the world. This majestic waterfall is located in the Fljótsdalur Valley, in the eastern part of Iceland. The waterfall stands at a towering height of 128 meters, and its cascading waters create a stunning sight that will leave you in awe.

What makes Hengifoss waterfall special is its unique appearance. The waterfall features a striking contrast of colors, with red and brown stripes running down the surrounding cliffs. These colors come from the layers of volcanic ash and basalt that make up the cliff face, dating back to the Tertiary period. The waterfall’s name is also significant; “hengi” means “hanging” in Icelandic, and “foss” means “waterfall,” describing the cascading waters that appear to hang from the cliff.

The history of Hengifoss waterfall dates back millions of years. The waterfall was formed during Iceland’s geological evolution, as a result of volcanic activity and glacier movement. Over time, the waterfall has become an integral part of Iceland’s culture and heritage, inspiring artists, poets, and storytellers with its breathtaking beauty.

Hengifoss waterfall is not only a remarkable natural wonder but also an important symbol of Iceland’s cultural heritage. The waterfall has been featured in many Icelandic legends, and it holds a special place in the hearts of the Icelandic people. Its unique appearance and storied history make it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Iceland.

Basic facts about Hengifoss

RegionEastern Iceland
Hight128 meters
TypeTiered Plunge
GPS Coordinates65.1160° N, 14.9108° W
Different NamesHanging Falls, Hengifoss, The Hanged Falls

How to pronounce Hengifoss?

The pronunciation of Hengifoss can be a bit tricky for those who are not familiar with Icelandic. Here is a guide to help you pronounce it correctly:

The first syllable “Hen” is pronounced as “h-eh-n”. The second syllable “gi” is pronounced as “g-ih”. The third syllable “foss” is pronounced as “f-oh-ss”. When you put it all together, it should sound like “h-eh-n-g-ih-f-oh-ss”.

If you’re having trouble with the Icelandic pronunciation, don’t worry too much! Locals in Iceland are used to visitors struggling with the language, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Most Icelanders are friendly and happy to assist tourists in any way they can.

Legends around Hengifoss

There is a legend surrounding Hengifoss waterfall that has been passed down through generations in Iceland. According to the legend, two giant brothers named Hengir and Ljósálfur lived in the area. Hengir was strong and powerful, while Ljósálfur was gentle and kind.

One day, Hengir became angry and went on a rampage, destroying everything in his path. Ljósálfur, afraid of what his brother might do, hung himself on the cliffs above the waterfall. When Hengir saw what had happened, he was filled with sadness and remorse. His tears fell and created the Hengifoss waterfall, with Ljósálfur’s spirit forever resting in the mist of the falls.

The legend of Hengifoss waterfall is a beautiful story that reflects the power and beauty of nature, as well as the importance of respecting the land and the spirits that reside there. The origins of the legend are not known for certain, but it has been passed down through oral tradition in Iceland for centuries.

How to reach Hengifoss (Map)

There are a few different ways to get to Hengifoss waterfall, depending on your preferences and travel plans.

Transportation MethodRoute
By BusOne way to get to Hengifoss waterfall is by taking a bus from the nearby town of Egilsstaðir. The bus leaves from the Egilsstaðir Bus Station and takes approximately 40 minutes to reach the trailhead for Hengifoss. The bus runs daily during the summer months and less frequently during the winter, so be sure to check the schedule ahead of time.
By CarAnother option is to rent a car and drive to Hengifoss waterfall. From Egilsstaðir, take Route 931 to the east for about 27 km until you reach the Hengifoss parking lot. The drive takes approximately 30 minutes and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Alternative OptionsFor those who prefer a more adventurous route, hiking or cycling to Hengifoss waterfall can be a great option. There are several hiking trails and cycling paths in the area that lead to the falls, ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging.

It’s important to note that the trail to Hengifoss can be steep and rocky in some places, so be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks. Additionally, the trail can be slippery in wet conditions, so exercise caution if visiting during or after rainfall.

No matter how you choose to get to Hengifoss waterfall, the journey is well worth it. The stunning views and natural beauty of the area are sure to leave a lasting impression on first-time visitors.

When to visit Hengifoss

The best time to visit Hengifoss waterfall is during the summer months, from June to August. During this time, the weather is milder and the days are longer, allowing visitors to fully enjoy the beauty of the falls and the surrounding landscape. The trail to Hengifoss can be slippery and difficult to navigate in the winter months, so it’s best to avoid visiting during this time.

As for the best time of day to visit, it’s recommended to go in the morning or early afternoon. This will allow visitors to avoid the crowds that tend to gather in the late afternoon and evening, and also provides the best lighting for photography. However, keep in mind that the hours of daylight vary depending on the time of year, so be sure to check the sunrise and sunset times before planning your visit.

Accommodations near Hengifoss

Visiting the Hengifoss waterfall in Iceland is an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its towering height, stunning views, and fascinating history, this majestic waterfall has become a must-see attraction for anyone traveling to Iceland. 

However, before you embark on your journey to Hengifoss, it’s important to consider where to stay during your trip. In this chapter, we’ll explore the best accommodation options in the area, whether you prefer to stay in the neighborhood or in the capital city of Reykjavik.

  1. Neighborhood accommodations: If you prefer to stay close to Hengifoss, you can find accommodations in the nearby town of Egilsstaðir. This town offers a variety of options, including hotels, guesthouses, and campsites. Some popular options include the Icelandair Hotel Herad and the Guesthouse Lyngás.
  2. Capital accommodations: If you’re planning on exploring more of Iceland during your trip, you may want to stay in the capital city of Reykjavik. From there, you can take a day trip to Hengifoss or explore other nearby attractions. Reykjavik has a wide range of accommodations to choose from, including luxury hotels, budget hostels, and vacation rentals. Some popular options include the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre and the KEX Hostel.

What to do at Hengifoss

There’s more to Hengifoss waterfall than just admiring its beauty. The area offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. One of the most popular things to do is hike to the waterfall, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The trail to Hengifoss is about 2.5 miles (4 km) round trip and takes about 2-3 hours to complete, depending on your pace. Along the way, you’ll pass by the Litlanesfoss waterfall and its unique basalt columns, which are also worth exploring.

For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, there are several picnic areas near the waterfall where you can enjoy a scenic lunch or snack. You can also take in the sights and sounds of the falls from one of the many viewing platforms.

If you’re looking for more to do in the area, there are several other attractions worth checking out. Just a short drive away is the town of Egilsstaðir, where you can visit the local museum, enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants, or stock up on supplies at the grocery store. Additionally, the area is known for its excellent fishing, hiking, and cycling opportunities, so there’s plenty to keep you busy during your visit.

Other attractions near Hengifoss

There are many other attractions near Hengifoss waterfall that are worth exploring, especially for photography enthusiasts. One such attraction is the Litlanesfoss waterfall, located just a short distance away. Litlanesfoss is known for its impressive basalt columns, which make for a dramatic and unique backdrop in photographs.

Another nearby attraction is the hiking trail to Stórurð, also known as “The Giant Boulders”. This trail takes you through a valley filled with enormous boulders that were left behind by a retreating glacier. The unique landscape and stunning views make it a popular destination for hikers and photographers alike.

In addition, there are several other waterfalls in the area that are worth checking out, such as Hengifoss’s smaller sibling, Litlanesfoss, and the nearby Fardagafoss waterfall.

We also created an Iceland Attractions Map to help you plan your trip and find your way around the country. It includes information on popular attractions, hidden gems, and practical information such as transportation, parking, and Airbnb options. Below our favorite spots!

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall: a 60 meters tall waterfall, part of Seljalands River.
  • Kerid Crater lake: a lake inside a volcanic crater, surrounded by colorful volcanic rock
  • Fjadrargljufur Canyon: a 100 meters deep and 2 kilometers long canyon, formed by erosion from the Fjadrárgljúfur River, known for its rock formations and colorful walls.

What to pack when visiting Hengifoss

When preparing for a trip to a natural wonder like Hengifoss waterfall, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary gear and equipment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. In this section, we’ll go over some essential items to pack for your visit to Hengifoss, so you can make the most out of your trip without any hassle.

  1. Comfortable walking shoes: You’ll need a good pair of shoes for hiking to the waterfall and exploring the surrounding trails.
  2. Warm clothing: Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best to bring layers of warm clothing, including a waterproof jacket and pants.
  3. Water and snacks: It’s important to stay hydrated and energized during your visit, so be sure to bring enough water and snacks.
  4. Camera: The Hengifoss waterfall and its surroundings offer breathtaking views and photo opportunities, so don’t forget your camera!
  5. Binoculars: If you’re interested in bird watching or want to get a closer look at the waterfall, bring a pair of binoculars.
  6. Backpack: A sturdy backpack is a great way to carry all your essentials while you explore the area.

Photographing Hengifoss

As a first-time visitor to the Hengifoss waterfall, photography can be a great way to capture your memories of the stunning natural beauty of the area. However, there are certain rules and considerations that you need to keep in mind before flying a drone. According to Icelandic law, drones are not allowed to fly over certain protected areas, such as nature reserves and national parks, without a permit. Therefore, before flying a drone near the Hengifoss waterfall, make sure to check with the relevant authorities and obtain the necessary permissions.

When it comes to camera gear, the most important thing to consider is a sturdy tripod to stabilize your camera during long exposures. You’ll also want to bring a wide-angle lens to capture the full majesty of the waterfall and its surroundings. Additionally, make sure to pack extra batteries and memory cards, as well as a rain cover to protect your camera from the elements.

When it comes to camera settings, it’s recommended to shoot in manual mode to have full control over your exposure. To capture the silky smooth effect of the water, use a slow shutter speed (around 1-4 seconds) and a low ISO (around 100-200). Adjust your aperture accordingly to achieve the desired depth of field.

The best time to photograph Hengifoss waterfall is during the golden hours, which are the first and last hours of sunlight during the day. During this time, the light is soft and warm, creating a beautiful contrast with the dark rocks and the bright white water of the waterfall. However, keep in mind that the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, so be prepared for sudden changes in light and weather conditions.

In addition to these tips, don’t forget to experiment and have fun with your photography. There are endless possibilities to capture the beauty of Hengifoss waterfall, so take your time and explore the area to find the best angles and compositions.

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