Stretching 82 feet (25 meters) across the Skógá River, into which its teeming waters plunge 197 feet (60 meters) from a rocky cliff, Skógafoss clocks in as one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls. Its clouds of spray regularly create vivid rainbows—often double rainbows—across the waters. The waterfall is also an important site for local folklore.
As one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls and one of its most picturesque, Skógafoss is a must-see on any trip to the south coast of Iceland. Visits to Skógafoss are typically included on guided tours—private or group—of Iceland’s south coast, most of which depart from Reykjavik. Those tours usually also include visits to nearby Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the black-sand beach of Reynisfjara, Thingvellir National Park, and other sites around the Golden Circle. Upon arrival, climb up the fall’s staircase for a sweeping view of the surrounding landscape and learn about the entertaining folklore associated with the site.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Skógafoss is a must-see attraction for nature lovers and those who want to check off Iceland’s most important sites.
- Waterproof clothing is recommended—Iceland’s weather changes quickly and you can get soaked by the spray, especially when it’s windy.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- The climb to the top of the fall’s stairway is fairly demanding, but there are also plenty of photo opportunities from the bottom.
How to Get There
Set on Iceland's south shore, Skógafoss waterfall is about 93 miles (150 kilometers) from Reykjavik along Route 1 (the Ring Road), which makes for a simple day trip from the capital. You can rent a car in Reykjavik and make stops along the Ring Road, or skip the hassle of driving and book a guided tour that visits Skógafoss as part of a southern Iceland day tour that includes Reykjavik hotel pickup and drop-off.
When to Get There
Iceland’s most important attractions are all at their busiest in summer. Beat the biggest crowds by arriving early in the morning or at night—during the height of summer, it is still light out around midnight. If you can brave the cold, you’ll have an even quieter experience in winter, when you’ll see surrounding icicles and snow with a chance at spotting the northern lights as well.
Skógafoss and Icelandic folklore
Skógafoss is a popular subject of local Iore, which tells that the region’s first Viking settler, Thrasi Thórólfsson, buried a chest of treasure in a cave behind the mighty falls. Legend has it that a local boy found the chest years later and while attempting to haul it out, pulled the ring from the front of the chest. According to the story, this ring is now displayed in the nearby Skógar Museum.