Located near the small village of Skógar, Skogafoss is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland. This awe-inspiring torrent drops an impressive 60 meters (197 feet) and captivates visitors from all over the world.
A steep staircase leads to the top of the waterfall, where you can look down at the thundering spectacle and nesting seabirds. On sunny days, the great gusher creates double rainbows, a true delight for photographers.
Visit Skogafoss and feel alive like never before! Just make sure your raincoat is at the ready.
It’s believed that a chest of gold is hidden behind Skógafoss Waterfall. But how did this treasure wind up here? According to legend, Þrasi Þórólfsson, the area’s first Viking settler, stashed the chest behind the falls in the 10th century.
The story goes that a local boy found the treasure some years later. However, he was able to grasp only a ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared once again. The retrieved ring was placed on the local church door until the church was deconsecrated in 1890.
Today, you can see the golden ring at the nearby Skógar Folk Museum.
Skogafoss sits on the Skógá River, also known as the river of Skógafoss. The river drains down from Eyjafjallajökull Glacier, which covers a volcano. Many people still remember the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano eruption that halted air traffic over Europe for weeks.
We also can’t forget the funny attempts by foreign news reporters to pronounce the name of the glacier — Eyjafjallajökull — correctly. Say “AY-yah-fyah-lah-YOH-kuul” and see if you can get it right!
Skogafoss is formed when Skógá River plunges from the ancient cliffs into a pool below. The cascade stretches an astonishing width of 25 m (80 ft). The incredible size of Skogafoss is a result of the powerful river and basalt bedrock.
The land underneath the falls is flat, making it easy to get up close to the water. Just don’t forget your rain jacket! The waterfall produces a huge amount of spray and you’re bound to get wet. We’ve seen many tourists walking by the falls soaking wet but with big smiles on their faces.
From July to October, fishermen gather beneath the falls. The river below Skogafoss is a favorite spot for char and salmon fishing. The number of fish decreased after the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull but the population is now recovering.
If you’re a bird lover, Skogafoss has a special surprise in store for you. Here, northern fulmars patrol the skies. These seabirds are often seen by Skogafoss, their bodies quickly moving in front of the furious cascade. Binoculars will certainly come in hand.
For close-up views of charming seabirds, walk out onto the lookout platform. Prepare for 400+ steps and a birdwatching bonanza!
Skogafoss means “Forest Waterfall” in Icelandic. Skoga translates to “forest” and foss to “waterfall.”
The cliffs you see at Skogafoss were once sea cliffs. Today, the shoreline has traveled about 5 km (3 mi) south of the falls.
Skogafoss is a staggeringly beautiful waterfall. No wonder it was featured in Hollywood movies like “Thor: The Dark World” from Marvel Studios and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”
The splashy waterfall is also featured in Justin Bieber’s music video for "I'll Show You.”
Skogafoss is located on Iceland’s South Coast, about 149 km (93 mi) from Reykjavik. Reaching the falls from the capital takes about two hours by car.
Skogafoss is located right off the Ring Road, making it easy to get to. There are three different ways to reach Skogafoss:
Guided tour: Usually, Skogafoss is the highlight of guided day tours along the South Coast. See the shimmering cascade and go for an easy glacier hike on our Glacier & Waterfalls day tour from Reykjavik. We’ll also visit Seljalandsfoss, the waterfall you can walk behind.
Car: Skogafoss is conveniently located close to Route 1 (the Ring Road). From Reykjavik, take Route 1 and continue on the road until you see signs pointing to Skógafoss. Then turn left and you’ll reach a free parking lot. The waterfall is clearly visible from the road, so you truly can’t miss it!
Reykjavik to Skogafoss bus: Bus 51 between Reykjavik and Höfn stops at Skógar. You can check timetables at the Strætó website.
Fed by ancient glaciers, Skogafoss is a great destination year-round. However, deciding when to go comes down to weather, cost, and what you want to do.
Summer is generally the best time to visit Skogafoss as the weather is at its driest and warmest. In July or August, temperatures can reach 20°C (68°F). But don’t forget that due to the amount of spray, it will be colder close to the water. We advise bringing a warm jacket and waterproof clothing.
On clear days, the waterfall creates single or double rainbows. Unfortunately, that’s also when the waterfall becomes the most crowded. Visit the cascade early in the morning or late in the evening to beat the crowds.
Iceland experiences the Midnight Sun during the summer months, meaning you’ll have plenty of daylight time to explore. There is a lot of free parking in Skógar. But the high summer season also means the most expensive prices for hotels and flights.
During the shoulder seasons, expect thinner crowds and lower costs. During these off-seasons the weather is still pleasant, especially in May. Fall temperatures are similar to those of spring. Do keep in mind that October is the wettest month of the year.
Skogafoss in winter is much less crowded and looks like it was ripped straight from the pages of a fantasy world. The cliffs are covered in snow with long icicles hanging here and there. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the Northern Lights dance above the falls.
The winter average temperatures fall to about 3°C (37°F) and the days are short. That being said, Icelanders enjoy a much milder winter climate r than you might think. The Gulf Stream flows along the west and south coasts to bring warmth all the way from the Caribbean.
Traveling in winter is typically less expensive than at other times of the year (excluding the weeks around Christmas and New Year).
Please note that the base of the falls might be covered with slippery patches of ice in winter. We suggest bringing ice spikes or shoes with sturdy soles.
From climbing to the top of Skogafoss to embarking on fairy-tale like hikes and soaking in hot springs, we’ve picked the absolute best things to do at Skogafoss and the surrounding area. The following attractions are sure to provide memorable and authentic experiences.
While you can’t walk behind Skogafoss, you can climb the staircase to the top for stunning views over Iceland’s South Coast. Not many travelers take the challenge, so you can expect thinner at the top. The climb is grueling but you’ll gain a completely new perspective on the falls.
Just a 10-minute drive from Skogafoss sits the majestic Sólheimajökull Glacier. The glistening ice cap is a hub for glacier hiking. Want to set foot on a giant mass of ancient ice? Don’t want to miss Skogafoss? Accomplish both on our one-day Easy Hike on Sólheimajökull Glacier. The tour is available all year.
If you’ve always wanted to cross the Northern Lights off your bucket list, check out our South Coast, Glacier Hike & Northern Lights Tour. Booking ahead is recommended.
If you’re looking for a truly remote and exotic place in Iceland, head to Seljavallalaug Pool, just a 10-minute drive from Skogafoss. The swimming pool is hidden in the breathtaking mountains of South Iceland and is free of charge. Take a dip in the soothing geothermal waters.The quiet atmosphere and towering mountains will make you forget all about home.
The water from the pool is sourced by a nearby natural hot spring. Keep in mind that the pool is cleaned only once a year and often filled with algae. Make sure to bring your own towel!
Adventurers might be interested in Fimmvörðuháls Trail, one of the most scenic hiking routes in the land of fire and ice. The trail starts on the eastern side of Skogafoss and winds along the river and between two glaciers, Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull. Along the way, discover even more torrents of water — there are 26 cascades in all and each one spectacular.
The route is about 16-mi (25-km) long and can be completed in one day. The route ends at the beautiful Þórsmörk Valley. To get the full experience, we recommend splitting the hike into two days. The trail is open only in summertime.
Channel your inner historian at Skógar Folk Museum, one of the best museums in the country. The museum is the perfect introduction to Iceland’s history and culture. Get to know more about Icelandic transport and communication, see a big collection of artifacts, and marvel at well-preserved turf-roofed houses.
There is also a cafe and a souvenir shop. Find the museum a short walk away from Skogafoss Waterfall.
Skogafoss is usually visited alongside Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, located about a half-hour drive west of Skogafoss. The 200-ft (60-m) waterfall is not as powerful as Skogafoss but is no less attractive. In fact, the gushing waterfall is one of the most photographed attractions in Iceland. A path runs behind the falls, giving a behind-the-scenes view of this spectacular wonder of nature.
Walk carefully: due to the huge amount of spray, the path behind the falls can be slippery.
Not sure where to stay in Skógar? We’ve got you covered. From hotels to guesthouses and camping sites, find the best option for your taste and budget.
Wake up to the soothing sound of the tumbling waterfall. That’s right — camping near Skogafoss is another amazing option. Find the grassy camping ground right by the falls. The campsite has all the necessary facilities, including electricity, toilets, and showers (for an additional fee).
Wonders of the South Coast, including Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Reynisfjara Beach
Glacier Walking Tour in South Iceland for Beginners