This thrilling tour takes you to Borgarfjordur, the heartland of the Icelandic Sagas, for a day of exploration, natural wonders and relaxation. Here you’ll see untamed landscapes that will help bring Viking history to life, including secret waterfalls, unique canyon baths, hot springs and medieval Icelandic heritage sites.
Your West Iceland adventure will start with a convenient pickup from your accommodation in Reykjavik. The tour takes the scenic route from the capital past Mount Esja and then by tunnel deep under Hvalfjordur to the gateway to West Iceland. We’ll make a short stop in Borgarnes for refreshments and to take in the astonishing views across the broad fjord there.
Then we will leave the busy Ring Road behind us and dive deep inland through the rich farming country towards our first stop at Deildartunguhver. On our way there, you’ll be able to look out for the fast-flowing glacial rivers as they rush down from Langjokull, the second biggest glacier in the country.
Deildartunguhver is famed for being the most powerful hot spring in Europe, with more than 180 liters of boiling hot water flowing from it every second. It has such an incredible output that it provides the hot water for all the towns and villages in this part of Iceland, as well as heating a row of greenhouses here too. You can really feel the raw power of Mother Nature as you walk safely on boardwalks through the billowing clouds of vapor around the bubbling hot springs, or you can look at them from the viewing platform.
A short drive further onwards into West Iceland brings us to Hraunfossar, a magnificent series of waterfalls that runs for nearly a kilometer across the Hallmundarhraun lava field. Hraunfossar translates as the “Lava Waterfalls”, but nowadays only crystal-clear waters rush over the edges of rugged volcanic cliffs, fed from the nearby Langjokull glacier and tumbling into the Hvita (White) river. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to see countless waterfalls cover such a large area, with several viewing platforms allowing you to enjoy them from different perspectives.
Nearby you will find another beautiful waterfall, but this one has a sad story connected to it. This is Barnafoss, or “the waterfall of the children”. The tragic tale here is that there used to be a natural stone arch making a bridge over these tremendously powerful falls. One day many years ago, two children from a nearby farm fell to their deaths when they were trying to cross the river here. The grief-stricken mother had the bridge destroyed so that no other families would ever suffer the same fate.
Husafell is a magical place, set between the two glaciers of Eiriksjokull and Langjokull, with birch tree forests, waterfalls, traditional turf houses and cute little elf houses to delight the children too.
The fairytale setting of Husafell has been home to many local artists too, with many works on display. The Husafell Stone can also be found here, a legendary lifting stone that has been used to test the strength of the locals, and in international competitions too.
After a good look around Husafell, you’ll transfer to a specially prepared 4WD vehicle, and we’ll begin to make our way along rugged mountain passages that aren’t usually accessible to other visitors.
We’ll make a stop along the way to see Langifoss, a spectacular two-tiered waterfall that plunges through a steep ravine into the depths of the Deildargil canyon. Langifoss and Deildargil are astonishing sights and the best-kept secrets in the area, barely even marked on a map or Instagram, but our tour reveals their glories to you. There is an easy path to a viewing platform that overlooks the canyon and the waterfall too.
The highlight of your tour comes next at Husafell Canyon Baths – an authentic Icelandic hotpot experience in the splendid setting of Hringsgil canyon, magically combining a serene soak in a hot spring with the enchanting landscapes all around you.
This is a spellbinding place that has to be seen to be believed, with three geothermally-heated pools of varying temperatures (30-41°C or 86-105°F), a cold-water pot and a cooling waterfall, all designed to blend seamlessly into the natural environment.
The Canyon Baths have a maximum of twenty visitors at a time, making it more of a luxury experience, without crowds of other people.
Imagine relaxing in these healing hot springs while taking in the spectacular views of the steeply surrounding canyon, marvelous mountains and glistening glaciers!
These are traditional and authentic Icelandic bathing pools, inspired by the age-old ways used by the locals in this area for a thousand years. Sustainably built in the traditional stone-bath style in an off-grid location, it’s a unique combination.
The canyon is in a protected environment – there are changing rooms here at the canyon baths, but guests are not allowed to use soaps or detergents in the showers. Bathing shoes and towels are provided for you. After your time in the hotpots, guests are welcome to use the facilities at Husafell free of charge, when we return there later in the 4WD.
The inspiration for the Husafell Canyon baths can be found at Reykholt, the last stop on your thrilling tour into the heart of West Iceland. Snorralaug (Snorri’s Pool) is a traditional natural hot spring, where local people have bathed since the 12th century. This pool was first mentioned in the medieval writings of Snorri Sturluson, a famous Icelandic poet and chieftain, who used to live and bathe here too. Snorralaug is now a protected archaeological site, and Snorri’s story is a significant part of Iceland’s history.
There will be time to take pictures of the beautiful old timber church here, which dates back to the 19th century. You can take a look inside, where a viewing glass to a medieval smithy cistern can be seen. Then it will be time to return to the capital city, full of memories, soothed and rejuvenated too.