The longest rivers in Iceland

Þjórsá (in the south) is the longest river in the country, and the river that produces the most energy as the river is very well harnessed above Þjórsárdalur. Þjórsá is 230 km long from its source in the far north of Sprengisandur. Jökulsá á Fjöllum (in the northeast) is in second place, from its source in the northern side of Vatnajökull, and north to Öxarfjörður, the river is 206 km long, with Dettifoss waterfall, among others, in its long course. Hvítá /Ölfusá (in the south) is in third place and its sources are at Kjölur, Langjökull and Hofsjökull. The river is 185 km long. Skjálfandafljót (in the northeast) is the fourth longest, 178 km long and has a source in Vatnajöklull, the northern side of Sprengisandur and Vonarskarð. In fifth and sixth place are the two largest rivers in the east, Jökulsá at Dalir, and Lagarfljót, both of which have sources in Vatnajöklull. There is only a 10 km difference in their length until they merge into one estuary in Héráðsflói. Héraðsvötn and Blanda (in the northwest) are in seventh and eighth place. There is only a 5 km difference between the rivers, Héraðsvötn are 130 km long and Blanda is 125 km. Blanda’s source is on Kjölur, like Hvítá/Ölfusá and the sources are in Langjökull and Hofsjökull. In ninth place is Fnjóská, the longest spirngriver in Iceland has no clear origin but forms from many smaller streams starts running on Sprengisandur. It is 117 km long when it flows from Dalsmynni into Eyjafjörður. In tenth place, second to last on the list of rivers that extend over 100 km is Hvítá in Borgarfjörður (in the west), but from its source in Langjökull its run is 118 km. Kúðafljót in Vestur-Skaftafellssýsla is 2 km shorter, which is four times longer than the shortest important river in the country, Jökulsá on Breiðarmerkursandur (in the southeast), which does not reach 500 meters, but the water volume is high, on average 300 m3/sec. Probably the river that most tourists go to see, after Hvítá in Biskupstungur.


Búrfellsvirkjun at Búrfell, the powerstation in Þjórsá, fully built in 1969.

Fnjóská by Lokastaðarétt, Þversá in Dalsmynni. Fnjóská is the longest springriver in Iceland.

One of the many sources of Lagarfljót, here under mt. Snæfell.

Gullfoss in Hvítá


Ísland : A7C, A7R IV RX1R II – 2.8/21mm, FE 1.2/50mm GM, 2.0/35mm Z

Photography & text : Páll Stefánsson