northern iceland guide

N12 - Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall **

how to get there
Distance from Lake Mývatn ~ 85 km (53 mi)
Travel time ~ 1 hour 20 minutes


From Mývatn, take road 1 and drive west, then turn to road 842.
The last 5 km to the waterfall is a dirt road. Please be very careful if you are not in an SUV.
One of the largest waterfalls in northern Iceland Aldeyjarfoss is located on the Skjálfandafljót River, which flows through the ancient Báðardalshraun lava field. The waters of Aldeyjarfoss collapse from a height of 20 meters (66 ft), forming a bubbling and foaming basin in the shape of a bowl. In winter, the river stream breaks through the ice cap no less spectacularly. On both sides of the waterfall, there are rows of basalt columns, which were formed almost 10,000 years ago during a volcanic eruption and are part of the Báðardalshraun lava field (“hraun" means “lava" in Icelandic).

A stunning colorful waterfall with white turbulent streams of water, blue icy-cold pool underneath, and black rocks in the background make a strong impression, prompting you to take your camera and explore the waterfall from all possible angles. However, you can't get close to Aldeyjarfoss, instead -- only admire its beauty from the opposite rocks. Perhaps, it's the best view of the waterfall, who knows?
Linger a little longer near the waterfall and walk around the surrounding area -- there are a picturesque canyon, the flowing river, and the green valley.
Aldeyjarfoss is located quite far from the ring road: to get here, you have to drive 41 kilometers (25 mi) deep into the Bárðardalur valley. On the plus side, because of its remoteness, there are fewer people here.

You can't drive to the waterfall in winter and will need to walk on foot from the nearest farm; thankfully, the path is cleaned from the snow.
photography recommendations
I recommend photographing the waterfall with a wide-angle lens on a tripod at long exposure. Golden hour and sunset are the best time to shoot. Take a panorama shot or fly with a drone.