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Skogafoss./ orangemania, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

The gorgeous Skógafoss belongs to the most popular waterfalls in Iceland and this means something in this country of thousands of waterfalls.

4.8 out of 10 stars 48.2%

GPS coordinates
63.5321 N 19.5113 W
Location, address
Europe, Iceland, Suðurland, Rangárþing eystra, at the road No.1 on Skógá River, near Skógar village
Waterfalls, Hidden treasure
62 m
25 m

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Skogafoss./ Daoud Alahmad, Flickr / public domain

At least part of this popularity could be explained by the vicinity of a major tourist route – Route 1. Visitors can see the mighty waterfall from the windows of their cars and buses and this incomparable natural landmark lures crowds of people at all times of the year. But… wouldn’t you want to be there right now as well?

The spray of the falls in sunny weather (or at full moon) creates a rainbow. Visitors love to walk near the falls although the constant spray makes everyone wet. There is also a staircase to the top.

Geological history

Skógá river falls here over a hard basalt cliff. This is the former sea cost – the current coast is some 5 km further south. All this enormous plain below the falls was created by a fairly recent geological event: jökulhlaup, gargantuan flooding caused by a sudden burst from glaciers some 3000 years ago. The mighty waterfall has not created a canyon yet.

Waterfalls of Skógárgil
Skogafoss from above
Skogafoss from above. / Pxhere / CC0

Skógafoss or the “Forest Waterfall” is the last one on Skógá river. But if a visitor has a few more hours of time, he would discover a lot more in the beautiful canyon of Skógá river – Skógárgil. Just a few hundred meters above comes the next waterfall – Hestavaðsfoss. Then comes Fosstorfufoss (10-11 m), Steinbogafoss (7-8 m), Fremri-Fellsfoss, Innri-Fellsfoss (11-12 m), Rollutorfufoss, Skálabrekkufoss, Kæfufoss, Gluggafoss, Króksfoss (44 m), Neðstifoss and Miðfoss (together – some 25 m), Efstifoss and Slaedufoss as well as smaller steps in between.

Not too far, some 2.5 km to the east is another giant waterfall – the 30 m (40 m?) tall Kvernufoss.

Treasure chest

According to a legend in the pool below the Skógafoss an early Viking settler Þrasi Þórólfsson buried a chest with gold.

Ring of Þrasi
Ring of Þrasi. / Tom.Reding, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Much later, in the 17th century, three locals noticed the golden embellishments on the chest in the water and tried to get the chest out from the waterfall pond. They found a ring at the side of the chest and pulled it with a rope. The ring broke off and their chest slid deep into the pool and is lost now. The golden ring now is in the nearby Skógasafn museum.

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WorldYellow Recommended books

The Concise Guide To The Waterfalls Of Iceland

Iceland is said to be the land of over 10,000 waterfalls. This amounts to about one waterfall for every 10 square kilometers, which makes Iceland the most densely covered country on Earth. With so many, it is hardly surprising that Iceland can boast of some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. This book is a guide to over 100 of those waterfalls, with references to 50 more.

Wild Places of Iceland

Boris Buschardt is an award-winning landscape photographer with 30 years of experience. In six trips from 2008 to 2016, he captured the magic and great diversity of Iceland in an unrivaled way. The book contains 165 large high-quality images of all the wild places of Iceland including the most spectacular waterfalls, glaciers, canyons, black beaches, ice caves, and lava fields in the remote highlands as well as the underwater world of the Silfra fissure and the lively cultural scene and architecture of Reykjavik.

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