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Skógafoss Waterfall

A Must-See Waterfall in South Iceland

Skógafoss (Skogafoss waterfall) is one of the largest and most elegant waterfalls in Iceland. Enjoy Skogafoss’ beautiful cascade as you travel in South Iceland!



Skogafoss Waterfall has a width of 25 meters and the cascade drops 60 meters. A waterfall of this size generates a lot of spray, often creating a single or double rainbow on sunny days.

If this waterfall seems to be familiar to you this may not be déjà vu! This location has been quite popular with film-makers, scenes of Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and other productions were shot here.

Skógafoss is on the Skógá River in South Iceland. The cliff from which these falls descend is the former coastline, which has now receded in a seaward direction about 5 km.

The former sea cliffs now run parallel to the coast for many kilometers. These mountains create a border between the lowlands on the coast and the highland areas of Iceland.

Man standing in front of Skogafoss waterfall

Skógafoss is situated in absolutely spectacular scenery, on the eastern side, there is a trail which leads up to the famous Fimmvörðuháls pass.

You do not need to walk for many minutes along the pathway from Skógafoss to be rewarded with majestic and spectacular views. The are dozens of waterfalls on the trails running from the same river as Skógafoss itself.



The Legends of Skogafoss

There is a wonderful legend in which the first Viking settler in this area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure chest filled with gold behind Skógafoss. It is said a local boy found the chest some years later.

Skogafoss Waterfall in the South of Iceland

It was possible for him to take hold of the ring on the side of the treasure chest before it vanished once again. Allegedly, he retained the ring which was given to a local church. Nowadays there is a ring, reputed to be from the chest, in a local museum!

So legend has it that a treasure chest of gold is still waiting to be found behind the waterfall. This makes Skógafoss truly a golden treasure of Icelandic nature just waiting for you to discover it!

Close view to Skogafoss waterfall

The second folklore having to do with Skógafoss is about a troll. Trolls, elves and other hidden creatures are common in Icelandic folklore. So it might not come as much of a surprise that one of Iceland’s best waterfalls has a troll story.

The story has not been recorded very well but goes a little something like this: a gigantic troll was walking around the South Coast carrying a smaller troll on its shoulders. It stumbled upon a big and beautiful waterfall, Skógafoss.

Skogafoss waterfall view from above

The troll was so amazed by the waterfall that it stared at it until the sun came up and they both turned into stone. The trolls now rest in the hills of the waterfall staring at it for all eternity.

The trolls can easily be spotted by hiking up the east side of the mountain. Halfway up, take a left turn and walk onto the leap – you’ll see it there!


Where is Skogafoss located?

Skógafoss Waterfall is located on the south coast 149 km from Reykjavík. For those traveling from an easterly direction, the distance from Skaftafell is 173 km.

Other attractions in the area include Vík (37.4 km), Reynisfjara Beach (34.5 km) and Seljalandsfoss Waterfall (29.3 km).

GPS Coordinates of Skogafoss: 63.5321° N, 19.5114° W

Skógafoss is easy to spot, right off the Ring Road 1. The drive from Reykjavík will take you through the villages of Hveragerði, Selfoss, and Hella. You will pass Seljalandsfoss and continue onwards towards the village Vík.  

After having passed Seljalandsfoss you have about 25-30 minutes of driving before reaching Skógafoss. If you are driving the Ring Road towards Reykjavík the waterfall is about 25-30 minutes from Vík.

Skogafoss waterfall parking lots aerial view

Skógura is a forest in Icelandic and Foss means waterfall.

In the Icelandic language, we change each and every word a million ways when using it. This is a bit like the ‘s used in English. Skóga is one of the ways to change the word Skógar and fits better when put together with the word “foss.”

Skogafoss Waterfall

Skógafoss, therefore, translates to Forest Waterfall. This might be a bit hard to believe, but Iceland was actually 25% covered by trees when the settlers arrived in the eighteen hundreds.

Safety Tips for visiting Skogafoss

  • Don’t go too close to the waterfall’s drop, it is very powerful and heavy.
  • It can get pretty chilly going close to the waterfall because of the spray from the drop so waterproof clothing is recommended for those planning to go close.
  • When hiking up the track on the right side of the waterfall keep on the marked paths.
  • If you are traveling in winter make sure you are properly dressed and have shoes with sturdy soles or ice spikes if it’s slippery or icy.

The Skogar Museum

Skogar museum turf houses

Skógar, the area of Skogafoss has the lovely Skógar Museum. The museum is open June, July, and August from 9 am to 6 pm and the other months from 10 am to 5 pm.

The Skógar Museum is split into 3 different parts. There is the Open Air Museum, The Folk Museum, and the Technical Museum. When purchasing a ticket (2000 ISK per person for adults) you get admission to all the museums inside and out.

Skogafoss Hiking

Thorsmork volcano hike in Iceland

The Skogafoss area is famous for its outstanding hiking paths, the most famous being the Fimmvörðuháls trail. Fimmvörðuháls is the original eruption site of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull Stratovolcano eruption. It’s one of the most popular paths to take for hikers in Iceland.

Fimmvörðuháls is an area between two glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull and is one of Iceland’s most beloved hiking trails. The combination of black sands, glistening glaciers, green fields, and numerous waterfalls is a true dream.

Skogafoss waterfall river

The hiking trail will take you past the newly created volcanic craters Magni and Móði which formed in the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. It ends inside the fertile valley of Thor, Þórsmörk.  

The trail is 22 kilometers long (14 mi) and is usually done as a day hike with a night in Þórsmörk after. Some like to do it the other way around from Þórsmörk up to the pass and back down in a day. This version has been named the Þórsmörk Volcano Hike.

Where to Stay at Skogafoss

View from camping to Skogafoss waterfall

Skogar, the Skogafoss area is a lovely and beautiful area to stay the night while traveling around the South Coast of Iceland. Some people like to stay in the camping area at Skógafoss. Others like to rent a cabin near and others like to stay at the hotel.

Your options for Hotels and B&Bs:

  • Hotel Skogafoss a 19 room B&B
  • Hotel Skógar a 12 room luxury hotel
  • Hotel Edda Skogar a 32 room simple hotel

Good to know about the camping ground:

  • Camping in Iceland in winter is only for extremely well equipped and experiences people
  • You will need to pay a small fee to stay the night, in return you get access to WC and water
  • You will need to bring your own tent

Where to Eat at Skógafoss

Bread

  1. Hotel Skógafoss Restaurant Bistro Bar – Breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner they do everything well! Mainly European cuisine. Open all day.
  2. Restaurant Hotel Skógar – From fish to meat they are makers of proper great food. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner. Open June-August 9 am to 6 pm and from September – May open 10 am to 5 pm.
  3. Skógakaffi Café – a cafeteria offering basic baked good and snacks and even more options in summer.
  4. Mia’s Country Van Sveitagrill – Fish and Chips food truck with delicious fresh fast food. Open 12 to 4 pm.
  5. Gamla Fjósið – located in an old cow stable, a lovely experience and yummy food! Open 11 am to 9 pm.
  6. The Black Beach Restaurant – a little bit of everything from burgers to soup open 11 am – 6 pm.
  7. Drangshlíð Restaurant –  good traditional Icelandic food. Open for Breakfast and Dinner.

Skogafoss waterfall in winter

Skógafoss turns into a true winter wonderland during the coldest months. The slopes turn icy and white with snow, dripping with icicles and frosty sparkles. The amount of spray from the waterfall reduces but when it hits you, you will get cold much sooner so try to keep a good distance.

Watching the Northern Lights dance above the waterfall is especially impressive!

Northern lights above Skogafoss waterfall

If you are doing a self-drive tour to Skogafoss in winter be mindful of the road conditions. If you aren’t used to driving on slippery roads, you might want to rethink doing the driving yourself and join an expert-guided tour.

Dress according to the cold weather, keep wool next to you and warm socks are essentials!

Gljufrabui Waterfall

Movies, TV Shows and Music Videos Filmed at Skogafoss

Iceland is a very popular filming location and Skógafoss waterfall is no exception. Skógafoss has unsurprisingly been chosen a few times the main character or a backdrop and here we will name a few examples:

TV Shows:

  • Vikings (2017) in the 5th season there is a scene where Floki, (Hrafna-Flóki or Raven Flóki) is seen staring at the alluring waterfall Skógafoss.

Music Videos :

  • Justin Bieber – I’ll Show You (2015) in the video Bieber is seen walking, running, swimming and skateboarding around famous location on the South Coast in Iceland, including  Seljalandsfoss, the plane wreck at Sólheimasandur Black Sand Beach, Dyrholaey Cape, Fjadrargljufur Canyon, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and of course our stunner Skogafoss waterfall.

Films:

  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) this Marvel Blockbuster was filmed in a few locations in Iceland, Skógafoss being one of them.
  • Land Ho! (2014) is a film about two ex brother-in-laws who travel to Iceland and visit all sorts of beautiful places in Iceland including Skógar.

Interesting Places Near Skógafoss