After some debate on time and routes, we decided to head north to Hraunfoss & Barnafoss waterfalls. They were far away from the Golden Circle but we are glad we made the detour because it turned out to be our favorite spot of the day. The drive up had us traversing both paved and gravel roads but nothing our little car couldn’t handle. Along the way we drove through a beautiful pass on Route 50 that provided some bonus waterfall views.
On the way, we stopped at Sjavarfoss, a small roadside falls with a field of blooming lupine in front of it. You can walk to the base of the falls but Eric thought the better photo was near the road.
Hraunfoss, or the “Lava Field Waterfall” is only about 10m high but very wide, with streams of water coming out of lava field. It is hard to capture in one shot!
We took a few photos then went back to the car to eat our pre-purchased sandwiches form our trip the grocery store the night before. I had a smoked salmon and cucumber pita and Eric enjoyed his ham and cheese sub.
There was a short path to a neighboring waterfall, Barnafoss (meaning Child’s Falls), named because two children had drowned there according to local lore. Hard to photograph in the midday light, but quite powerful and scenic, the water surges between rocks into a canyon.
On the return south we retraced our path, and the next waterfall on the list was Thorufoss. Located just off Route 48 (passable 2WD gravel road) on the left when traveling south. We met a bicyclist from the Netherlands who stopped at the same time we did. I could not believe the amount of people biking around Iceland – they have more energy than me to be sure.
From here we continued to Þingvellir National Park. A quick trip to the visitor’s center yielded a detailed map and circled points of interest. We choose the second parking lot and started exploring. The main site we wanted to see was Öxarárfoss, a powerful falls that you can walk right up to thanks to a boardwalk over stones. We had plenty of daylight left (ha ha) so we continued down the path to Lögberg or “Law Rock” (the country’s first parliaments were convened here) and the Hakid viewpoint. We enjoyed the beautiful views of the Almannagja Fault but skipped going in the historic wooden church.
Ready for dinner, we headed into town, checked in to the hotel and walked to Kaffi Krus for dinner in Selfoss. One of the top ranked places in town, it was crowded and the kitchen seemed to have trouble getting orders out in a timely manner. We waited over thirty minutes for our meal but at least we got the correct order. The table next to us received a salad instead of the nachos they wanted, but the waitress told them they could just have it since it would be tossed otherwise. The guy was nearly done with his salad when, surprise(!), the nachos arrived.
My Kaffi burger was fine but the fries were room temperature and not crispy. Eric’s pasta carbonara was tasty and we could have split it – the portion size was huge. Our draft beers were good – Einstock white ale – white pepper and flowery (Eric) and the Viking classic amber – traditional and malty (me).
After a very full day we were ready to relax in our room and finalize our plan for day 2.