Hvalfjordur is a deep fjord that reaches far inland just north of Reykjavik.
Until the late 1990s, those traveling by car had to make a long detour of 62 km around the fjord on the Highway nr. 1, in order to get from the city of Reykjavik to the town of Borgarnes. As of 1998, the tunnel Hvalfjardargongin, which shortens the trip considerably, was opened to public traffic. The tunnel is approximately 5,762 m in length, and cuts travel by car around the fjord by about an hour. The tunnel runs to a depth of 165 m below sea level. After the construction of the tunnel, the Hvalfjordur has become a quiet and peaceful place.
At the innermost part of Hvalfjordur you'll find two valleys, Brynjudalur valley and Botnsdalur valley. High above Botnsdalur valley rises the mountain Hvalfell (852 m over seal level) and behind it lies the mountain lake Hvalvatn which is the fourth deepest in Iceland.
Giant glacier tongues formed the valley of Botnsdalur and sometime in the late ice age an eruption started under one of those outlets which formed the mountain Hvalfell. Hvalfell filled up the bottom of the valley and formed a natural barrier which impounded the lake Hvalvatn. The outflow channel of the lake is named Botnsa river. The uppermost part of the river is easily crossed en-foot, but further down the valley the river has carved out a massive and deep gorge and there cascades down the highest waterfall in Iceland, known as Glymur, 198 meters tall.
Extreme Iceland offers day tours from Reykjavik to Hvalfjordur, into Botnsdalur valley and up to Glymur waterfall.
When entering Botnsdalur valley, we hike to the river and over it. From there we walk up to the waterfall where it cascades down the cliff. The view from the base of the waterfall is beautiful but walking up to the waterfall's ledge gives hikers more breathtaking view down the valley and out the fjord.
Hikers can easily cross the river and from there we head again down the gorge on beautiful pathway towards the transportation. We drive the Hvalfjordur to the north and through the tunnel towards Reykjavik. That way we'll see every angle of this fantastic fjord.