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Öxarárfoss Waterfall; Iceland’s Portal to Another World

Updated: Apr 18

Of the more than 10,000 waterfalls one can find here on the island, the rocky spectacular Öxarárfoss is not to be missed. Not only does this waterfall boast a unique, almost other-worldly aesthetic, but it’s also located conveniently close to the Golden Circle, making it the ideal stop along your road trip.

So, if you’ve got an upcoming trip to the island, or you’re just curious to learn more about one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, read on. We tell you everything there is to know about this must-visit site.


What Makes Öxarárfoss Waterfall So Special?

Öxarárfoss Waterfall boasts incredibly unique aesthetics. Where most will be used to Iceland’s waterfalls being water tumbling over moss-covered cliffs in a lush green landscape, Öxarárfoss feels like you’ve just gone through a portal to another world – perhaps Mars?

This is because there’s no greenery here, only this rocky ledge and intriguing equally rocky landscape. Not only does Öxarárfoss look incredibly interesting, but it also signifies an important Icelandic landmark. I always say it`s the first waterfall you are going to see in Iceland.

You see, the waterfall is where the Öxará River tumbles over the cliffs of the Almannagja Gorge - the eastern boundary of the infamous Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. So, even though the waterfall itself may not be one of our biggest or tallest (clocking in at only 6 meters wide and 13 meters tall), there’s a lot more to this waterfall that makes it a very special site.

thingvellir waterfall

Where is Öxarárfoss Waterfall?

Öxarárfoss is a Thingvellir National Park waterfall, and since the park is one of the first stops on the popular Golden Circle route, it’s a Thingvellir waterfall that sees a lot of foot traffic, especially in the warm summer months. Thingvellir can be found in the southwestern part of Iceland, just over 50 kilometers from the capital city of Reykjavík, which is about an hour’s drive.

How to Get to Öxarárfoss Waterfall

Most visit Öxarárfoss Waterfall via:


There are many tour operators and private guides who offer trips to Thingvellir National Park and Öxarárfoss. These can range from existing tours to customized private tours. The majority of these tours will depart from Reykjavík and are exceptionally popular during our busy summer season, so be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

thingvellir national park waterfall


This is one of the best ways to explore the island and makes things incredibly easy, especially when visiting Thingvellir. If you’re coming from the direction of Reykjavík, get onto Route 1 (aka the Ring Road) and head towards Mosfellsbaer. Once you’ve passed the town, turn right onto Road 36, Pingvallavegur Road. Continue for about 25 minutes till you see the turn-off signs towards Öxarárfoss leading you straight to the entrance of Thingvellir National Park.

Car Rental Iceland

How Long is the Öxarárfoss Hike?

There is a Öxarárfoss Waterfall loop hike that is incredibly popular, especially amongst avid hikers and bird watchers. The loop is a total of just over 4 kilometers and should take you roughly an hour and a half to complete, depending on your pace. But please note that this trail is considered to be moderately challenging, so won’t be suitable if you have the elderly or smaller children in your party. The trail starts at the Thingvellir Visitor Center.

The Best Time to Visit Öxarárfoss Waterfall in Iceland

Öxarárfoss Waterfall is open to the public all year round and is one of the waterfalls that even makes an incredible impression during the cold winter months as the half-frozen waterfall tumbles onto a completely frozen and icy landscape. Just be careful when visiting during the colder months, as things can get pretty slippery.

öxarárfoss hike

Other Things to Do and See Around Öxarárfoss

A few other things to look forward to near Öxarárfoss Waterfall are:

Is Öxarárfoss Worth it?

As such a unique sight and important geological landmark in Iceland, one simply can’t come to Iceland and miss out on Öxarárfoss. Why not rent a campervan in Reykjavík and hit the road on a Golden Circle road trip that includes Öxarárfoss along the way?

In fact, renting a campervan not only makes your road trip super convenient and affordable, but you can book a spot at the Thingvellir campgrounds, so you can spend a few days exploring everything the area has to offer. We wish you happy and safe travels to Öxarárfoss and its surroundings!



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