One beautiful hike is the one that will lead you to Glymur, Iceland’s highest waterfall. It is a gem, and the going is not too rough. You will be rewarded by the unforgettable landscapes you cross, and the unique panoramic views you will see if the weather is clear. It  takes about 4 hours to get to Glymur and back to the car. 

Panorama of Hvalfjörður.

Here’s what you do: you drive to Hvalfjörður, and instead of going through the tunnel, you follow the steep coast road until you come to Botnsá. The drive is quite long (around 70 km from Reykjavík), but it is worth the while, as this long and narrow fjord is really beautiful. The name means whale-fjord, and this is where the whaling station is located.

This is where we start walking towards Glymur.

On your way to Botnsá, you will pass many graceful cascades and stretches of land grown with birch. Park your car, put on your hiking shoes, and don’t forget the water bottle, raincoat and camera.




 There are several trails leaving from here, one is called Leggjabrjótur (literally: Leg Breaker), but that is not the one we are dealing with here.


Lava formation.

There are two main paths that lead to Glymur, the west one and the east one. The former is easier going. It takes 40 minutes to walk from the parking to the cascade following an ancient car trail that leads you to the mountain’s edge. The trail is easy to follow and makes for a confortable hike.



You will have to do some climbing among rough rock formations, but it is worth your while. The landscape is surprisingly pleasant to the eye, and the lava takes on unexpected forms if you go for that sort of thing...


The cave on the way to Glymur.

At one point, you must go underground - literally. There is a cave you must cross, and this is what you see on the other side: a glimpse of paradise, a clear and joyous stream running among moss and tall grass.




This is the other side of the cave, a kind of solemn and sphinx-like lava giant resting on a grassy slope.

Glymur canyon!


You can also follow the eastern bank of the river’s canyon, that would be easier, and you have to cross the river just before the cascade. It is shallow, but you might wet your feet. Then the path gets a bit rough as you have to cross several small canyons, but you get a beautiful glimpse of Glymur.


The fulmar likes it here. This is a young just out of its egg. Beware, the cliff is brittle and the edges slippery.

The baby fulmar on the cliff in Glymur canyon.


This is what you see. Water streaming down a steep slope, a giant's white hair, grassy rocks and the stark canyon.


Glymur the higest waterfall in Iceland!


The canyon is eerily beautiful, but you must be careful, as there have been several accidents that have occurred when the edges have broken and rock fallen into the canyon.




When you stand by the waterfall, you are literally on top of the world, and this is what you see.

The view from Glymur!



Time to get back to the car. A conveniently positioned log will serve as a bridge. This is a beautiful, clear stream, its banks grassy and grown with low birch trees.Crossing the stream on the way back from Glymur.







An unforgettable hike.


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