To some Iceland is a hidden gem on its own but once you have discovered it you realize that within it there is a myriad of other equal treasures, just waiting for you to visit. Aldeyjarfoss waterfall does undoubtedly make it to this list of unbelievable attractions. It is located at the northern tip of the central highlands and can be quite difficult to reach but it is surely worth the effort.
The backdrop of the waterfall is a black basalt-rock made cliff and right at the center of it the waterfall drops creating the most stellar display of contrasting colors. The height of the waterfall isn’t grand, only about 20 meters (65,6 ft) but the waterfall is just as impressive as the tall ones found all around Iceland.
Visiting Aldeyjarfoss will definitely give you a connection with nature at another level. There is nothing around you but stunning landscapes and the deserted waterfall which is fed by a nearby glacier is a truly unique sight. The waterfall originates in the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull and the river that flows through it is called Skálfandsfljót River. This is the same river as feeds Goðafoss waterfall.
Fun Facts about Aldeyjarfoss
- Aldeyjarfoss is often said to be similar to Svartifoss in Skaftafell but that was the inspiration for the famous Hallgrimskirkja church in downtown Reykjavík.
- You can drive almost all the way up to Aldeyjarfoss.
- The waterfall is fed by the largest glacier in Europe!
- Aldeyjarfoss is often talked about as ‘the perfect photographer location in Iceland’
- There is now a toilet at a parking lot!
Where is Aldeyjarfoss?
GPS POINTS N65° 22′ 0.699″ W17° 20′ 9.202″
Aldeyjarfoss is located in the northern part of the Icelandic highlands right at the northern end of the mountain road Sprengisandur. It is about 75 kilometers (46,6 mi) from Akureyri and about 40 kilometers (24,8 mi) from the mighty Goðafoss waterfall.
How to get to Aldeyjarfoss?
Driving to Aldeyjarfoss can be a bit challenging. First, make sure your rental car is allowed on F-roads. Second, check the weather and road conditions. Third, make sure you get there when it is still light outside, as it is located in the middle of nowhere and there are no city, or street lights to guide you.
Driving from Akureyri to Aldeyjarfoss should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You follow Ring Road one in an easterly direction out from the town and make a right turn on to route 842. You follow this road inland, before making a turn to road F26 which takes you very close to the waterfall. Once having parked your car you have about 10 minutes of walking to do until you reach the wide basin and see the beautiful waterfall.
Driving from Egilsstaðir to Aldeyjarfoss will take about 3,5 hours. You start by following road 1 out from the town in a northerly direction passing Reykjahlíð and the moon-like Mývatn area. Further on you take a left turn to road 842 which you follow down into the highlands before being given the option to turn to road F26. It will take you almost all the way up to the waterfall. You have about 10 minutes walking to do from the parking lot. You simply follow the narrow passage, along the alluring Skjálfandafljót river and greeting you in a few minutes are the beautiful black basalt columns and the water-wonder of Aldeyjarfoss.
Note: The trip is doable without a 4×4 in the summertime but in winter you will want to have a 4×4.
Where to eat near Aldeyjarfoss?
Finding a restaurant in close proximity to Aldeyjarfoss is an impossible task but the closest ones are at the town of Akureyri, and around nearby the tourist attractions, Reykjahlíð, Mývatn and Goðafoss. The nearest restaurant is about 50 kilometers (31 mi) away from Aldeyjarfoss, so you might want to pack a lunch and have a picnic while visiting. Just make sure to take everything with you upon returning to your vehicle. There is a trash bin at the car park to help with the cleaning. We are really keen on maintaining the area in the ‘untouched’ shape it can be found in today.
Where to stay near Aldeyjarfoss?
- Laxá Hotel
- Hotel Mývatn
- Hotel Edda Stórutjarnir
Guesthouses, B&Bs and Farmstays
- Kiðagil Guesthouse
- Sandhaugar Guesthouse
- Guesthouse Stöng
- Fljótsbakki Farm
- Skútustaðir Farmers Guesthouse
Camping near Aldeyjarfoss
Camping Hamrar is the best-rated campground around Aldeyjarfoss, people simply love it! It has all the facilities one might need and then some, including bathrooms, changing areas, showers, washing machines, dryers, cooking facilities, indoor sleeping loft, WIFI, electricity (1000 ISK per night), a playground, walking paths and a boat rental.
- Open all year round
- Price is 1600 ISK per adult (18+) per night
Sigríðarstaðir Campground is a lovely quite field. It is located close to Ljósavatn and you will pass in when making your way to Húsavík or Godafoss. The facilities are quite basic. This is the perfect place to stay for those looking for a relaxed environment.
- The price is 1000 ISK per adult (14+) per night
Aldeyjarfoss in winter
Aldeyjarfoss is an incredible spot to visit in any season but in winter the path there can be difficult. Make sure you have a 4×4 vehicle and that you have researched the weather and road conditions before taking off. This does not mean checking a week earlier but very close to the journey as weather, wind and trails tend to swift abruptly.