Iceland’s tallest waterfall descends gracefully in streaming ribbons down a 200 meter (658 ft) drop into a massive canyon adorned in lush green moss. Located near Hvalfjordur Fjord (Whale Fjord), Glymur waterfall is linked to a local folkloric tale about a mythical whale that swam up the waterfall into the lake at the top where, eerily enough, whale bones have been found.
Glymur with a cascade of 198 m, is the second-highest waterfall in Iceland. It was long regarded as the tallest waterfall in Iceland until being surpassed by a newly measured waterfall near Morsárjökull in 2011, named Morsárfoss.
It is situated at the rear end of the Hvalfjörður. Since the opening of the tunnel under this fjord, most people bypass the area. However, it is a very beautiful part of the Hvalfjörður with some tall mountains and forests.
The river Botnsá runs from the Hvalvatn lake and after a short distance the water falls down alongside the Hvalfell mountain into a steep canyon. The waterfall can be accessed from a parking area at the end of the road. Well-equipped hikers can view the waterfall from marked paths on the east side of the river Botnsá.
How to get to Glymur
Finding Glymur isn’t hard. Glymur waterfall is about an hours drive from Reykjavík. To go there you need to drive into the rear end of the fjord instead of driving through the tunnel under the fjord. There is a sign by the road telling you when to turn right. You can park your car in a parking lot not far from the river Botnsá. From there you can hike following a either of the two trails leading to the waterfall, the northen one offers a better view of the waterfall. We reccommend that you take notice of the weather and dress accordingly, since the hike can take up to 4 hours. Good shoes and some water is adviced.
The tale of the Red headed whale
A common folk story of unknown age also is sometimes presented as the origin of the name, involving an elf woman who transformed her human lover into an angry red-headed whale, which was called Rauðhöfði (Redhead), who subsequently lived in the Faxaflói bay wrecking ships, as revenge for him refusing to acknowledge their child. In Hvalfjörður fjord lived a priest in a small stead called Saurbaer. After Redhead had attacked his two sons while they were fishing he decided to end the whale’s life. Through sorcery and trickery he lured the whale deep in to the fjord and up the river Botnsá, where the whale managed to swim upp Glymur waterfall, until it reached lake Hvalvatn (Whale lake), where it finally died of exhaustion.