Bifrost, West Region (Vesturland), Iceland

About Glanni

Hiking Distance: 500m round trip
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2007-06-23
Date last visited: 2021-08-18

Waterfall Latitude: 64.75391
Waterfall Longitude: -21.54466

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The Glanni Waterfall on the Norðurá River is a waterfall with three side-by-side segments dropping through the Grábrókarhraun Lava Field, which was near the village of Bifröst.

Lava fields, which are prevalent throughout Iceland, have been known to yield interesting shapes and formations.

Glanni_006_06232007 - Glanni

Therefore, this waterfall has also been said to be a dwelling place of elves and trolls.

The lava contains basalt because we noticed quite a bit of the telltale hexagonal columns adjacent to the falls as well as holding up some of its overall drop.

According to my Icelandic dictionary, the word glans was a noun meaning “gloss” or “brilliance”, and thus I suspect the waterfall might mean something like “The Shining”.

Our visit to Glanni was a real short and easy out-and-back jaunt to a lookout deck that was roughly 250-300m from the car park by a golf course (see directions below).

Glanni_008_08182021 - The short path leading to the lookout deck for Glanni was on the smaller gönguleið or trail on the right
The short path leading to the lookout deck for Glanni was on the smaller gönguleið or trail on the right

When Julie and I first visited this place in June 2007, this was one of the more obscure waterfalls as we were pretty much all alone and the signage for the falls was pretty non-existent.

Heck, there weren’t even lookout decks and we had to find the falls by listening for it while walking the bush-lined path (that eventually led to the Paradisarlaut, which was a pond that welled up from underground water-filled lava tubes).

When we came back in August 2017, Glanni wasn’t quite the obscure spot that it used to be because we saw a couple of big tour buses that used this spot as a Ring Road stop.

There were also more barricades and signage set up to help steer visitors to the waterfall instead of guessing like how we had to do it on our first visit.

Glanni_054_08182021 - Mom, who was an avid golfer, thought this hole next to the car park was a practice hole, but given the lava field that the course was in, she also thought it would be a difficult course because you're likely to lose your ball if you miss the fairway
Mom, who was an avid golfer, thought this hole next to the car park was a practice hole, but given the lava field that the course was in, she also thought it would be a difficult course because you’re likely to lose your ball if you miss the fairway

Overall, we spent about 40 minutes away from the car on that August 2021 visit so I’d imagine it’s a pretty quick visit in general.


Glanni resides in the West Region near Bifröst, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Borgarbyggð. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

Glanni_004_08182021 - Looking towards some signboard fronting what Mom thought was a practice hole and coffee shop at the Glanni Trailhead
Glanni_010_08182021 - Mom following the signed path leading us closer to the Glanni Waterfall
Glanni_011_08182021 - The short walk to Glanni involved hiking amongst some shrubs and small trees growing on the Grábrókarhraun Lava Field
Glanni_014_08182021 - Looking back at some interesting volcanic vents and cones while walking towards Glanni
Glanni_022_08182021 - Looking right at Glanni from the lookout deck. For Julie and I, this was our first time seeing this waterfall in 14 years
Glanni_024_08182021 - Another look at the Glanni Waterfall from the sanctioned lookout
Glanni_003_iPhone_08182021 - Contextual look at Glanni using an iPhone from the sanctioned lookout
Glanni_033_08182021 - Looking downstream along some basalt cliffs from the Glanni lookout during our August 2021 visit
Glanni_037_08182021 - This shot shows you how busy it can get at Glanni, especially when there was a tour bus here as it was during our August 2021 visit
Glanni_040_08182021 - Contextual look at Glanni as seen in August 2021
Glanni_046_08182021 - Zoomed in look at the twisted basalt columns adjacent to part of the Glanni Waterfall
Glanni_052_08182021 - Mom and Tahia walking back after having had their fill of Glanni during our August 2021 visit. Luckily the threatening rain didn't hit us while we were here
Glanni_001_06232007 - The path we took to Glanni during a beautiful morning in June 2007, which was our first time here
Glanni_003_06232007 - First look at Glanni in June 2007
Glanni_002_06232007 - More contextual look at the multi-segmented Glanni during our June 2007 visit
Glanni_008_06232007 - Julie checking out Glanni in June 2007
Glanni_009_06232007 - Julie walking back towards the car park after having had her fill of Glanni during our June 2007 visit

Glanni was a short distance off the Ring Road just to the south of the small town of Bifröst.

From the small town of Bifröst, we’d drive south on the Ring Road for roughly 900m before turning left onto the Glanni-Paradis Road.

Glanni_001_08182021 - Context of the car park for the Glanni Waterfall (as well as the golf course)
Context of the car park for the Glanni Waterfall (as well as the golf course)

After the final 550m or so, we’d then park the car at a golf course roughly 550m after leaving the Ring Road.

If we were going in the opposite direction towards Glanni, then the turnoff would be on the right shortly after traversing through the Grábrókarhraun Lava Field.

For some geographical context, Bifröst was about 30km (under 30 minutes drive) northeast of Borgarnes, 68km (about an hour drive) northeast of Akranes, 126km (over 90 minutes drive) southeast of Stykkishólmur, 138km (over 90 minutes drive) southwest of Blönduós, 348km (over 4 hours drive) south of Ísafjörður, and 105km (under 90 minutes drive) north of Reykjavík.

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Semicircular sweep following the flow of Glanni downstream before panning back to the falls as we pretty much focused on the lava that gave rise to this waterfall

Brief downstream to upstream sweep of Glanni with a lot of banter from the busy viewing platform

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Tagged with: bifrost, west region, iceland, waterfall, nordura, lava flow, grabrokarhraun, golf

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Glanni Name Correction July 3, 2014 12:11 am by Kola - The name Glanni has nothing to with the word glans. Glanni means the one who thrusts forward regardless of what might happen. Driving dangerously is being glanni. I guess the name for the fall means the fall flushing fiercely forward. ...Read More

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