Bjarnafoss

Mælifell / Buðir / Snæfellsnes Peninsula, West Region, Iceland

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 1
Bjarnafoss backing the Buðir farm

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Bjarnafoss was a tall waterfall tumbling right behind the small farming hamlet of Buðir. I had read there was a legend saying that underneath the waterfall stood the "Lady of the Mountains" (Fjallkonan) though we weren't particularly looking for this so we couldn't see for ourselves. However, we did notice upon closer inspection that there were basalt columns near the bottom of the main section of the falls. That was further evidence to us of the interplay of lava and ice, which seemed to be a very common theme throughout our visit to Iceland.

I guess the lava connection shouldn't have been surprising because nearby the falls was the Mælifell volcano. Apparently the cliff where the falls made its plunge was also part of the slope of that volcano. Even though we didn't know it at the time, we probably should have found a way to walk or drive further south (possibly on the Buðarvegur) to get a more contextual look at both Mælifell and Bjarnafoss together. Instead, all the photos you see on this page reflect more closeup views of the falls from right off the road 54.

As I was trying to figure out the meaning of the name of this waterfall, the closest word I could find in my Icelandic dictionary was "bjarndyr" meaning "bear" (even though the more familiar word "björn" also meant "bear"). Thus, I suspect this falls could be translated to mean "Bear Falls" though I wonder how that came about given that there were no bears that we know of that exist in Iceland.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Contextual look at Bjarnafoss plunging before part of the Mælifell volcanoContextual look at Bjarnafoss plunging before part of the Mælifell volcano
Roughly 18km west of Bjarnafoss are the beautiful sea arches at ArnarstapiRoughly 18km west of Bjarnafoss are the beautiful sea arches at Arnarstapi
Another 16km west of Arnarstapi is the beautiful beach at Djúpalónssandur.Another 16km west of Arnarstapi is the beautiful beach at Djúpalónssandur.
Julie and I spent the night in Olafsvik, which was a beautiful and laid back town on the northern shores of Snaefellsnes, where we saw the sun at midnight though it dipped below the horizon laterJulie and I spent the night in Olafsvik, which was a beautiful and laid back town on the northern shores of Snaefellsnes, where we saw the sun at midnight though it dipped below the horizon later
Bjarnafoss with part of Mælifell volcano behind it and some wildflowers blooming in front of it as seen from a Buðir farmThe falls with part of Mælifell volcano behind it and some wildflowers blooming in front of it as seen from a Buðir farm

Closer look at BjarnafossCloser look at the falls

Julie checking out Bjarnafoss from a farmJulie checking out the falls from a farm

Later in the day after we had gone all the way around the west end of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, we returned to Bjarnafoss later in the afternoon and this was what we sawLater in the day after we had gone all the way around the west end of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, we returned to the falls later in the afternoon and this was what we saw


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Fixated on the falls


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We saw this waterfall at the junction of route 54 and 574 on the western end of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is roughly 20km south of Ólafsvík along the Routes 29 and 54. Alternatively, the west approach along route 574 is about 99km northwest of Borgarnes or 166km (over 2 hours drive) north of Reykjavik.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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