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.
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!
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.
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
How to get to Skogafoss?
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.
What does the name Skogafoss mean?
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.”
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
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.