With a height of 200ft (60m) and a width of 82 (25m), Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s greatest and most beautiful waterfalls. Due to the amount of spray produced by the cascade, you can see at least one rainbow at any time on a sunny day!

Guided day tours to visit Skogafoss waterfall

Guided multi-day tours that visit Skogafoss waterfall

Take in the magnitude of the fall from the misty base of the falls, or challenge yourself to get to the top and climb what feels like an infinite amount of stairs (there’s 370)! From the bottom of the falls, you can walk right up to the wall of water and lose yourself in the thick mist of the spray. Take photos from varying distances and stand under the double rainbows! From the top, there is a specifically built observation platform where you get a staggering view over the fall and towards the sea cliffs and Atlantic Ocean! Skogafoss is unique because the waterfall comes directly from two glaciers, Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull.

About Skogafoss Waterfall

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.

Skógafoss Waterfall | Skógar, South Iceland

The Legend of the Falls

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.

skogafoss waterfall in skogar in iceland

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.

Skoga River

rainbow over skoga river waterfall in iceland

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.

taking picture of two friends near skogafoss waterfall

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.

Wildlife at Skogafoss

birds flying near skogafoss waterfall in iceland

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 Facts For Curious Minds

  • 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.”

Where is Skogafoss Waterfall?

GPS N63° 31′ 54.500″ W19° 30′ 43.187″

If you’ve had enough of the Golden Circle, Skógafoss is only two kilometers from the Ring Road and 500 meters from road 1, making it easily accessible from the main road.

Not far from the small village of Skógar and South of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Skogafoss is found along the Skógá river, which is visible from Route 1!

How to Get to Skogafoss

view of ring road in summer near Vik

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.

Skogafoss Weather & Seasons

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

bright purple lupine field near skogafoss

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.

Shoulder Seasons

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.

Winter

standing near skogafoss with a rainbow in winter

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.

Things to Do at Skogafoss & Nearby

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.

Climb 400+ Steps to the Top of the Waterfall

stairs leading to the top of skogafoss waterfal viewing platform

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.

Embark on a Magical Glacier Hike

small group hiking on a glacier solheimajokull in south iceland

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.

Soak in a Hot Springs Near Skogafoss

hot thermal spring pool seljavallalaug in iceland

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!

Enjoy the Stunning Skogafoss Hike

views of fimmvorduhals hiking path near thorsmork

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.

Visit Skógar Museum

turf houses in skogar in south iceland

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.

Don’t Miss Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

sunset at seljalandsfoss waterfall in iceland south coast

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.

Where to Stay

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.

Hotels Near Skogafoss

  • Hótel Skógafoss is the closest accommodation and just a short walk from Skogafoss. It offers cozy rooms and includes a buffet breakfast. Guests can also enjoy a great bistro-bar with fantastic views of the falls. 
  • Hótel Skógar, located just a 5-minute walk from the waterfall, houses quaint rooms with private bathrooms and an elegant restaurant. There is also an outdoor hot tub and sauna.
  • Hotel Edda Skogar is another hotel near Skogafoss that offers basic rooms with shared bathroom facilities. The on-site restaurant serves traditional Icelandic food.

Hostels & Guesthouses

  • Skogar Hi Hostel, located close to Skogafoss, is a great budget option. It offers rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchen facilities. Towels are available for free. 
  • Skógar Guesthouse, located about a 20-minute walk from the falls, features tidy bright rooms and a shared kitchen. Breakfast and jacuzzi access are included in the price.
  • Fosstún Skogar, located less than 1 mile from the waterfall, is a two-bedroom apartment with a shared kitchen and free private parking.

Skogafoss Camping Site

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).

tents on a camping site in iceland

Popular Culture and Skogafoss

Skogafoss is a great backdrop for music videos and action dramas, capturing the attention of audiences all over the world!

Skogafoss was used as the setting for Sólstafir's 2012 music video ‘Fjara’ which now has over 3.5 million views.

Sólstafir - Fjara (Official Video)

The 2013 Marvel Studios film Thor: The Dark World, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty both filmed at the waterfall and the official music video of "I'll Show You" by Justin Bieber features glacial lagoons and rivers in South Iceland, including the waterfall.

The History Channel series, Vikings, shot some scenes by the fall, when character Floki discovers Iceland.

Justin Bieber - I'll Show You (Official Music Video)

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