When driving to Thingvellir
National Park from Reykjavik you’ll travel through Mosfellsdalur Valley. Just
before you drive up the hill to Mosfellsheiði moor, the white house of
Gljufrasteinn can be seen on the right side of the road. We recommend you stop,
park the car and discover the Poets Path.
The Poets Path derives its name from the late Mr. Halldor Kiljan Laxness, the Icelandic author that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature back in 1955. The Nobel Prize committee stated that it was “for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland.”
Mr. Halldor Kiljan
Laxness was born at the farm Laxnes close by and he built the house of
Gljufrasteinn in 1945 after living in Reykjavik and abroad for a number of
years. Audur, his wife to be, took charge of the operation to build the house
since he was busy writing his next book. They got married on Christmas Eve the
same year and moved into their permanent home. Mr. Laxness considered his daily
walks to be of crucial importance for his creativity and energy in his writing
and one of his favourite routes went from his home along the river Kaldá up to
the Helgufoss waterfall. Perhaps you will find the author within when you walk
this route too.
A few years back Laxness’ hiking route was marked with small poles by the town of Mosfellsbaer, so you shouldn’t lose your way. The route leads up the banks of the river Kaldakvisl (Cold River) all the way to Helguhvammur, which is like a small valley. In there you will first see Helguholl, a sizeable hill with hidden people living there according to old tales. As with any home, please treat it with respect and greet the inhabitants when you walk past.
Helgufoss will now become visible, around 12 meters high and nicely located at the top of Helguhvammur. According to one story Helga, daughter of a troll named Bardur Snæfellsas who lived in Snæfellsjokull glacier, came to live in Helguhvammur for a while. She wasn’t very happy, the story claims, and ended her life by disappearing into Helguholl. Some claim they can see her figure in Helgufoss, so it‘s possible that she disappeared into the waterfall.After spending some time in Helguhvammur, just head back the same way to Gljufrasteinn. Visit the museum to gain more insight into the life and work of Mr. Halldor Kiljan Laxness.
You should wear good hiking boots, since the route takes you through some wetlands. Sneakers should be okay though on a warm summer’s day. You will not pass any houses, let alone restaurants, so bring something to eat and drink on the way. You can also drink the water straight from the river. This hiking route near Reykjavik is accessible all year round, but of course it can be difficult in the winter, so don’t take any chances; inform people of your plans before you do any hiking in Iceland during the winter months.The whole route back and forth is 6 km and around 100 m in height increase. It should take about 2 hours.
Looking for more? Check out our tours page where you can find more extreme guided hiking tours in Iceland.