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Two hours southwest of Reykjavik sits one of Iceland’s enormous waterfalls, Skógafoss Falls. Located on the Skoga River, the width of the waterfall is 25 meters, 82 feet and has a drop of 60 meters, 197 feet. This waterfall is a vision, producing both single and double rainbows. They are commonly spotted here due to the amount of mist that the falls produce. This waterfall is known for its majestic beauty and should make it on everyone’s Ring Road itinerary. Keep reading to find out more about Skógafoss Falls and it’s quirky history.

How To Get There

If you are road tripping through Iceland you are most likely following the infamous Ring Road. Making this spot along your route. Starting in Reykjavik, begin your drive down the stunning south coast of Iceland on the remote Route One, also known as Ring Road. Eventually you will reach the village of Skogar. An area known for its ancient wooden and turf houses. Turf houses were very common back in the 1800s. Mostly made from wood, flat stones, and soil. They were built to keep the Vikings warm when the cold and brutal weather would hit. This scenic drive also has views of the stunning South Coast. As well as some bizarre and fun stop offs, such as South Iceland’s Bra Fence. Which was created in 2012 and rumored to have started when bras were stolen from a party and hung along the fence as a prank. Now travelers stop and add their own bra to the party. The owners don’t mind as long as you don’t put any other article of clothing on the fence. A funny way to leave a little piece of yourself behind in Iceland.

History & Legends

Visiting the Skogar Museum which opened in 1949, is a must do in the area. This museum provides an in depth look at the local turf houses. You are able to take a look inside the turf houses and experience how the Vikings once lived. These houses are fully furnished and provide a realistic layout of the homes. These particular ones were reconstructed and moved into the area in the 1960s. The museum also has some other historic buildings. An old school building that was built in 1878 and used in the early 1900s. A farmhouse built in the 1900s is also still intact. Skógakirkja Church, which was built in 1879 was fixed up in the late nineties on the outside and still standing today.

Legend has it that there is a treasure hidden in a cave behind the waterfall. Buried by the first Viking in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson. The treasure is believed to be filled with gold and jewels. It has been said that locals found the treasure chest but were only able to grab a ring before the chest disappeared again. The ring was supposedly given to the church in the area. The story says that the treasure chest is still behind the falls. Waiting for a lucky hiker to eventually find it.

A Filming Location

This infamous waterfall is a celebrity and film favorite. Featured in many popular shows, movies and even a music video. Justin Bieber used this spot for his music video “I’ll Show You” back in 2015. His music video features the glacial lagoons and rivers in southern Iceland, as well as this stunning waterfall. Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are two famous movies filmed at this location. TV Shows such as Game of Thrones and Vikings have also been to this spot. The beautiful scenery makes it no surprise to the amount of filming that has taken place at Skógafoss Falls.

Famous Skogafoss waterfall
Famous Skogafoss waterfall

Hiking Skógafoss

When you pull up to the waterfall you will spot a large staircase leading to the top of the. You will soon notice the little specs in the distance are people climbing it. This is where your hike begins. A 4.2 mile trail with a 1,145 foot elevation gain. Start by taking the five hundred step staircase. This brings you to the top of the waterfall, offering a whole new perspective and view. The most challenging part of this hike is the climb up the staircase. Once you are up that, the rest of the hike is gradual. The terrain can be muddy and grassy, so hiking boots are recommended. This short hike is a must see when visiting the waterfall. When finished, relax under the cool mist at the bottom of the waterfall.

Small path leading up a green hill in Iceland
Small path leading up a green hill in Iceland

Where To Eat

There are a few delicious dining options near Skógafoss Falls to enjoy after your hike. Eddie’s Pit Spot is a sandwich shop serving sandwiches, crepes and hot coffee. A red van that is parked at Skógafoss. They are rumored to be open late and recommended for hot coffee during colder days at the falls. Mia’s Country Van serves local fish & chips. This adorable little food truck offers delicious and fresh seafood that is caught right on the south coast. Ranging anywhere from cod to haddock. A yummy lunch option to enjoy while sitting near the base of the falls.

Where To Stay

Hotel Skógafoss is located right next to the waterfall. A cozy bed and breakfast situated right off of Ring Road. This hotel has nineteen rooms ranging from single beds to double beds. Family rooms are available for bigger parties. Wifi is offered here for those looking to get some work done. They have a restaurant on property called the Bistro Bar which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Providing traditional Iceldandic Dishes such as their meat soup. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the waterfall from their dining room.

The area of Skógafoss has something for everyone. Whether you want to hike Skógafoss Falls or explore the historic turf houses. Spend your summer days cooling off under the natural mist of the waterfall. Snap some once in a lifetime photos of the rainbows that the falls produce on rainy days. Try authentic Icelandic cuisine while cozying up in your hotel room afterwards. The best part, Skogafoss is only a short drive from Reykjavik. Making it a perfect day or even weekend trip. An ultimate addition to any road trip itinerary, Southern Iceland should be on every adventurer’s bucket list.