Iceland has many beautiful waterfalls, but Skogafoss is like no other. It is a waterfall of great width and volume, and its view is completely unobstructed. There is nothing more humbling than the loud sound of water hitting the ground a few feet in front of you. This waterfall should be on the itinerary of every visitor to Iceland, and this article will help you plan your visit perfectly.
in this guide
Here's what we cover in this guide. We invite you to read the entire text or skip to the parts that interest you the most.
- What is Skogafoss?
- How to get to the top of Skogafos
- Hike full of waterfalls from Skogafos
- Tips for visiting Skogafoss
- Plan your trip to Skogafoss
- Where to stay near Skogafoss
- How to include Skogafoss waterfalls in your Iceland itinerary
What is Skogafoss?
Skogafoss is a mighty waterfall located in the south of Iceland. It is the largest of several waterfalls on the Skoga River, created by the outflow of water from the nearby Eyjafjallajokull glacier.
The falls are 200 feet high and 82 feet wide, pouring water at a rate of nearly 300 cubic feet per second. Over 130,000 gallons per minute!
Its menacing scale is made all the more impressive by its accessibility and open sight lines.
The ground at the bottom of the waterfall is flat. Visitors can easily walk from the parking lot to the base of the falls (in summer).
Legend has it that the first Vikings who visited Skogafos hid a chest of gold behind it, but it was never found. But don't ask for it. Skogafoss is so powerful that you cannot walk under or behind the falls. However, the fog is so thick that you can get wet and feel like you're walking through fog.
The view of Skogafoss is completely unobstructed, allowing you to appreciate its full size and beauty from multiple vantage points. There are many amazing views of the falls throughout the meadows, but one of the best views is from the top. Steep steps climb up the cliff, offering a wonderful view of the waterfalls.
The rocks of Skokina waterfalls have their own history. Once upon a time, these were sea cliffs that marked the former coast of the country. Frequent geological activity is constantly changing the size and topography of Iceland. Today, the Skoka waterfalls are three miles from the coast.
Skogafoss has frequently appeared in media such as Game of Thrones, Thor: The Dark World and Justin Bieber's music videos.
How to get to the top of Skogafos
Like all of Iceland's best waterfalls, Skogafoss has something unique that sets it apart from the countless waterfalls in the country. The "thing" about Skogafoss is the line of sight.
You can walk to the bottom of Skogafoss to see (and feel!) it up closeiYou can walk to the top and enjoy the magnificent view. The best Icelandic waterfalls rarely have both. And you don't have to hike any of them.
you don't want toonlyYou should walk somewhere between 370 and 527 steps (depending on where you start counting).
I don't think anyone would argue that traveling is physically easy, but technically easy. Simply follow the well-marked paths and climb the carefully designed stairs with handrails to the heavily guarded viewing platform.
To reach the top of Skogafoss, take the stairs to the right of the waterfall (if you are facing the waterfall). You won't miss it - trust me.
The stairs start out wide, but quickly become steeper. They meander almost straight along the edge of the cliff. Throughout the trail, there are wooden handrails or chains that are useful for climbing and descending at several points.
The hike to the top is physically demanding, but doable for many. We see people of all ages embarking on journeys. I would say that walking to the top would take the average hiker 15-25 minutes to reach the top.
We are all fast walkers and we like to solve difficult things quickly. We reached the top in 6 minutes (Kenny was carrying Zoe!). It's not about flexibility, it's about sharing personal experiences with other fast walkers. Although I can safely say that this is not the norm.
Fimmvörðuháls Trail: Waterfall hike from Skogafoss
If you climb the stairs to the top of Skogafoss, you can't help but notice that the path continues. If you're like us and weren't even aware of the trail, you might spot people on the trail in the distance and wonder, "Where are they going? We're going there, too!"
The path that starts from the top of Skogafoss is called Fimmvörðuháls path. This is a 15.5 mile round trip hike along the Skoga River. The beginning of the trail is known as the "Waterfall Trail" and passes by 26 waterfalls. The trail ends in the nature reserve Thórsmörk.
The hiking looked beautiful, traveling deep into the valleys, between glaciers and lava fields. The pictures we saw on this trip were not real, they looked like something from a science fiction movie.
Hiking the entire Fimmvörðuháls path is difficult, time-consuming and requires advance planning. It can take up to 10 hours to complete, and since it is a return trip, you should plan to return from Thórsmörk.
We haven't gone the full distance, but there are many excellent resources that cover all the details. We recommend this excellent guideVrat petorice stražara very smallIt consists of two odd soles.
the good news is that you don'timamFull jump! There are waterfalls within a few miles of Skogafoss. While those first falls weren't as big or as impressive as Skogafoss, they were less crowded and calmer.
Our little one fell asleep at the top of Skogafoss so we ventured down the path for 30 minutes, which was honestly our favorite part of our visit to Skogafoss. If you climb stairs and have an hour or two to spare in your schedule, we recommend walking part of this trail.
Tips for visiting Skogafoss
This is hard (hardYesEnjoy your visit to Skogafoss. It's easy to get around, easy to explore and incredibly beautiful. However, we have a few tips to help you have a better visiting experience.
- Walk along the start of the Fimmvörðuháls trail.Many people climb the stairs to see Skogafoss from the top and then come back down. I'm surprised how few people continue down that path. Walk a little along the path and you will come across more waterfalls and solitude.
- take your food. If you are visiting Skogafoss at meal time, we recommend packing something to take away. The restaurant looks beautiful inside, but we preferred to enjoy the view of the falls while having a picnic.
- Calm down. With a little patience, it's actually quite easy to take a picture near a waterfall with no one else around. The closer you are to the waterfall, the thicker the stream, so people don't linger. If you stay in that area, you'll find that the flow of people taking photos is fast and you should be able to get a picture without anyone else in your frame.
- Visit Seljalandsfoss.seljalandsfoss30 minutes west of Skogafoss on Highway 1. We recommend seeing both falls while in the area.
What to wear in Skogafoss
- waterproof. If you plan to walk near the bottom of Skogafoss, you will get wet from the heavy spray. ONEfolding raincoatOne such is nice to have on hand at this waterfall.
- layers. Layering is always key in Iceland in the summer, and it's especially true here. I was in the cool, misty shade of the trees at the base of the falls in a raincoat and waterproof pants. But when we started on the Fimmvörðuháls trail, I got so hot that I quickly took off my clothes.
- sports shoes. In summer, hiking boots/shoes are not required to visit this waterfall, but well-fitting tennis shoes will help. In winter, if you plan to approach waterfalls or climb stairs, you should definitely give priority to quality winter footwear.
What to bring to Skogafoss
- A cord or a blouse with a flap. It's about layers. I like to carry a small bag, like a drawstring bag orlarge collapsible bag, when I wanted to undress. If I get hot and need to take my coats off, I like to have a bag for them.
- Hat/sunglasses.If you plan to walk the Fimmvörðuháls path, you will be completely exposed to nature, which means there is no shade. Hats and/or sunglasses will be key.
- walker.If your child cannot climb all 500 steps independently, we recommend using a baby carrier. we took advantage of the back seatdisplay CUDLTransporter so that we can see the steps ahead and navigate them. It works pretty well, but the preferred rear seat base isLet's create a cherry blossom vector. We just didn't bring it on this trip. We have a special post dedicated to thattravel clothes for babiesAnd our favorite carriers if you want to know more.
Plan your trip to Skogafoss
Whether you're staying in Iceland for a few days or traveling for a few weeks, it's possible (and dare I say easy) to fit a trip to Skogafoss into your itinerary. Let's dive into some design details.
When to visit Skogafoss
Skogafoss is open every day of the year. Like many attractions in Iceland, visiting in summer is a completely different experience than visiting in winter.
In summer, the rocks and meadows are incredibly green, creating a stunning backdrop around the falls. You're more likely to experience a clear day, so the view from the top of the falls is magnificent, stretching from the ocean to distant glaciers.
Also, there is a lot more daylight in the summer, so you can see a lot more on your travels. Warmer weather also makes a waterfall soak more bearable.
Winter gives a completely different picture - covered with snow and ice. We didn't experience Skogafoss ourselves in winter, but the pictures of the ice-covered slope look like something out of an episode of Game of Thrones (because they are).
The beauty of winter comes with its challenges. It becomes dangerous when the rock leading to the waterfall freezes over. The steps to the top of the falls are usually open in the winter, but are more difficult to climb when it's frozen. They can be closed occasionally.
For these reasons, we recommend a visit during the summer months, from June to September.
However, when planning your trip to Iceland, be sure to think about all the things you want to see and do. If your main goal in Iceland is to see the Northern Lights (in winter) or to drive the entire ring road (in summer), then that may dictate the timing of your trip more than Skogafoss.
How to get to Skogafoss
Skogafoss is conveniently located on Highway 1, about 100 miles southeast of Reykjavík.
The journey takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. From Reykjavík, head south on Highway 1. Skogafoss is located in the town of Skoga, next to the town of Holt. Turn left on Skogar and you will see a waterfall. The parking lot is on your left after the hotel and restaurant.
You can also travel to Skogafoss by public transport. Bus 51 runs from Mjódd (a suburb of Reykjavík, connected to the center of Reykjavík with several local buses) to Skoga. It is then a 1/2 mile walk from the bus stop to the falls.
The bus to Skoga runs only once a day and costs about 40 dollars. You can buy bus tickets at the following placesbus app.
How much does it cost to visit Skogafoss?
Skogafoss is free. Parking at Skogafoss is also free.
The only additional cost associated with this visit is the purchase of any food, drink or souvenirs.
How much time to spend in Skogafoss
We recommend a 1-2 hour stop at Skogafoss. This includes walking to the base of the falls, climbing the stairs to the top for the view and a short walk along the start of the Fimmvörðuháls trail.
If you are short on time and/or unable to climb the stairs to the top, you can shorten your visit to Skogafoss to 30 to 45 minutes if you wish. But the falls are breathtaking, we have a feeling you'll want to stay longer.
The Fimmvörðuháls trail is over 25 miles long, but you don't have to walk the entire distance. Even if you go outside for 30 minutes and then come back (we do), beauty can be found.
We recommend that you follow this path as much as your schedule allows. You can easily turn it into an all-day event if you want.
Facilities in Skogafoss
The area around Skogafoss was built to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit it every year. Nearby you will find many useful facilities that will make your travels more pleasant. Below is a list of attractions you can find near Skogafoss.
- WiFi: No free wifi. The only available wifi is in a nearby hotel and is only for guests.
- WC: Yes, it costs 200 ISK. There are also free bathrooms for guests in restaurants and hotels.
- Parking: Yes, there is free parking near the base of the falls.
- kava: Yes, you can get coffee at the Bistro bar near the parking lot.
- food: Yes, there are three places to eat near the falls: Bistro Bar (dining and takeout restaurant), Eddie’s Pit Stop (snack van) and Mia’s Country Van (food van).
- vegetarian diet: Yes, the Bistro Bar offers veggie burgers to eat in or take out.
- Souvenir: Yes, there is a small gift shop where you can buy souvenirs.
Where to stay near Skogafoss
There are many good options for living near Skogafoss. Let's review some of them.
Stay near Skogafoss
A rarity among the rural attractions of southern Iceland is that there is plenty of accommodation next to Skogafoss and the town of Skogar.
There is a camp,forest camping, located in the meadows below the falls, tent and trailer camping are welcome. The campground gets an average rating for its limited amenities, but it's a cheap, scenic place to stay on the ring road.
There are also many hotels nearby, includingSkogafoss hoteliNext to the bistro bar. Among the nearby hotels, this is the most popular and best rated.
stay in vik
If you have more time to explore the south coast, we recommend a 30-minute drive by road to the village of Vic. It is the largest city within 40 miles in either direction and offers a variety of accommodation and dining options.
We recommend staying at the Puffin Hotel, a moderately priced hotel with decent rooms and free breakfast. We also recommend dinner at Soup Company and coffee at Skool Beans.
we have anotherThe Complete Guide to Vik, IcelandIf you are interested in staying in the area.
stay in Reykjavik
We'll end this section by saying that you don't actually have to stay at Skogafoss at all. 2.5 hours drive from Reykjavík. If you already live in Reykjavík, you can take a day trip to Skogafoss if you want. (See sample itinerary below.)
In Reykjavik, we recommend staying at the Kex hostel. This is a family hotel located opposite the sculpture and the pedestrian street. But we promise, it's great for non-family members too! From the hostel we could walk to all the sights and activities we wanted to see in Reykjavik.
How to include Skogafoss waterfalls in your Iceland itinerary
Skogafoss is conveniently located on Highway 1, just 2.5 hours from Reykjavík. This makes it pretty easy to add to almost any Iceland itinerary. A simple stop for travelers taking the ring road, but you can also visit it as part of a day tripReykjavik.
Here are some ways to include Skogafoss in your Iceland travel plans.
Day trip to the south coast from Reykjavik
Some of Iceland's most beautiful destinations are located along the southern coast. You can arrange some of the best sightseeing on a day trip from Reykjavik.
This sample itinerary starts todayseljalandsfossIncludes a stop at Skogafoss waterfall,Dyrholaey Lookout and Lighthouse, iRaynes Black Sand Beach.
We recommend that you spend about 1.5 hours at each stop, that's 6 hours of activity and 5.5 hours of driving.
an extension of the golden circle
Another great option is to combine the Golden Circle with some additional waterfalls on the south coast. This option will get you through a long day, but is a good option if your time in Iceland is short.
The golden circle refers to the stopsThingvellir National Park,Geyser Hot Springsigolden waterfall. if youGolden Circle automobilomTake your trip to the next level by visiting two more waterfalls:seljalandsfossi Skogafos.
Maybe you should stop at Thingvellir for 2 hours, with about 1 hour at each stop. Allow a total of 6 hours for sightseeing, but to be on the safe side, plan for 7-8 hours. Add 6 hours of driving and you have a working day of 12 to 14 hours.
We recommend this option only in summer when you can guarantee 12+ hours of sunshine.
Stanica Ring Road
There is a road that forms a ring around the entire island of Iceland and is called the Ring Road or Highway 1. During the summer months, the Loop is a popular road trip option for some of the more adventurous tourists.
This trip is known for its epic landscapes, including glaciers, volcanoes and an incredible number of waterfalls. There are countless places to see and countless places to go on the 825-mile route across the country.
We personally didn't drive the full circle, but along the southern coast, so I don't have much to say about the route. But I can say that Skogafoss is just off the main road and is definitely worth a stop, even if it's just a few minutes and a quick walk.
If you are interested in the full loop, there are many excellent resources like this onecomplete guideFrom Expert Wanderer.
Skogafoss is one of the few places in Iceland that you've seen pictures of before actually traveling.
Kenny planned our entire Iceland trip himself, including our detailed itinerary for each day. It's a role change from our typical travel planner, where she handles the big picture (cities, flights, hotels), while I plan specific day-to-day activities.
In the end, I visited most of the sights in Iceland completely blind. Skogafoss is a rare exception. All I knew about our trip was that we were going to the waterfall where Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen kissed in Game of Thrones.
Honestly, if you hadn't told me that this scene was filmed in Skogafass, I never would have guessed it. Skogafoss is a single-tiered waterfall, unlike the multi-tiered waterfall shown in the picture. The waterfall falls on a flat meadow, not a remote, hidden cave. It was summer when we went, so it wasn't icicles dripping on the stones, but greenery.
It looks almost nothing like the CGI version in the show... it's prettier in real life!
As a designer, I like to know exactly where I'm headed. If you're reading this, you probably are too! So I share this as a reminder to not let expectations stop us from discovering true beauty, not the beauty we expect.
Anyway! Just wanted to share this quick personal story before I send you on your way! I hope you find this guide useful. Whether you're currently in Iceland or planning your dream trip, we hope you have an amazing adventure.