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Kvernufoss Waterfall; An Idyllic Setting Often Overlooked

Updated: 3 days ago

Iceland boasts over 10,000 waterfalls, so visiting each will be a lifetime commitment. But if you would like to tick a few off during your trip to Iceland, there are a few that are considered must-adds to any trip itinerary. One of these is Kvernufoss Waterfall.


Kvernufoss Waterfall is nothing less than a fairy tale setting, yet it’s often overshadowed by its “big brother” Skogafoss which ultimately becomes the draft pick for most travelers. We explore why this “hidden” waterfall needs to make the cut, and what you can expect from a visit to Kvernufoss.


Kvernufoss Waterfall


What Makes Kvernufoss Waterfall So Special?


Kvernufoss has quite a few unique attributes. Firstly, it’s one of the tallest waterfalls here on the island, rushing over the cliffs to drop 30 meters to the waters below. The waterfall is almost enclosed by the gorge cliffs covered in lush green vegetation, making it appear like a scene from one of the epic adventure movies.


The fact that not many know about the waterfall, makes it the perfect stop for those who want to avoid the crowds at local attractions. Kvernufoss is also one of the waterfalls where you can walk behind the veil of water, but it’s not nearly as busy as Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.


Where is Kvernufoss Waterfall?


As we’ve already mentioned, it’s near Skogafoss Waterfall in the south of Iceland. It is about 150 kilometers from the capital city of Reykjavík, making a day trip possible during our summer months with plenty of daylight. But this waterfall is also located conveniently close to our popular Ring Road which you can use to road trip around the island. So, you can simply add Kvernufoss as a stop along the way.


Kvernufoss hike

How to Get to Kvernufoss Waterfall


You will essentially have two options when it comes to visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall. You can either visit it as part of a guided tour stop, or by driving yourself. Which you choose is solely up to you:


Going on a Tour


We have many tour operators and guides operating here on the island. They usually offer a range of services that include day tours, multi-day tours, and customized private tours.


Because Kvernufoss is a bit off the beaten track and requires a short hike to reach it, it’s not often one of the headliners of the more frequent and popular tours. If you can’t find any existing tour that has Kvernufoss as a destination or stop, simply book a guide that will give you a private tour.


Driving Yourself


This will always be our preferred method of exploring the island. Not only do you get to truly immerse yourself in the magnificent Icelandic landscape, but you also don’t have anyone else in charge of your time or itinerary.


Driving to Kvernufoss is very easy if you’re coming from the direction of Reykjavík. Just start driving south on the Ring Road till you reach the Skogar Museum. Park in the museum’s parking lot (this is also where the hiking trail to Kvernufoss starts). 


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How Long is the Hike to Kvernufoss?


The Kvernufoss Waterfall hike is an out-and-back trail of roughly 1.6 kilometers. It is considered an easy hike, and the elevation of the climb never exceeds 57 meters (so you can rest assured that it won’t feel like you’re summiting Mount Everest). The entire hike should take you about half an hour, depending on your pace.


Local Legends Surrounding Kvernufoss Waterfall


It is believed that the cliffs of Kvernufoss Waterfall are the concert halls of the elves, or Hidden Folk as they are often referred to here. There is even a special mention of it found in Arni Ola’s books with the name of Hulduheimar (which translates to The Hidden Worlds).


In it, it says that "Margret has seen the Hidden People and their habitation in several places on the peninsula (Snæfellsnes Peninsula) and she said that it was especially memorable visiting Kvernargljufur Gorge in Grundarfjördur".


How Much Does it Cost to Visit Kvernufoss Waterfall?


Since 2019 there has been no cost involved in visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall, making it the perfect outing for those on a tight budget.


When is the Best Time to Visit Kvernufoss Waterfall?


Technically, Kvernufoss Waterfall can be visited all year round. But whilst the colder months bring with them incredible scenes that look like it has been touched by Elsa from Frozen, they can also bring challenging aspects to the hike that can range from strong winds, snow, and ice.



Kvernufoss Waterfall in winter


You also need to keep in mind that you have very few daylight hours to work with during the colder months, and it reaches record lows of just 4-5 hours in mid-winter, so the window to take that iconic photo of a waterfall frozen in time is pretty tight. Due to the hike that can become pretty uncomfortable during the colder months, and the limited daylight hours, most prefer visiting the waterfall during the warmer months of the year.


The perk of visiting the “hidden” waterfall during our summer peak season is, of course, that it doesn’t have the same amount of peak season crowds hogging up the trail or the site.


Things to Do & See Near Kvernufoss Waterfall


Kvernufoss is not the only interesting thing one can find in the area, and there are quite a few things to see and do that you can consider adding to your trip itinerary. These are just a few of them:


Kvernufoss Waterfall is Truly a “Hidden” Waterfall Not to Be Missed!


All the waterfalls in Iceland worth it, so simply rent a campervan in Reykjavík upon your arrival here on the island, and you’ll have both transport and accommodation sorted. Also, don’t forget to purchase a Camping Card which will allow you to maximize on savings whilst camping in comfort and style with your campervan.


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