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A Complete Travel Guide to Selfoss Waterfall in Iceland

Are you ready to dive into the mesmerizing world of Selfoss Waterfall, one of Iceland's most spectacular natural wonders? You're in luck because we're about to embark on a thrilling journey that'll bring you closer to this magnificent cascade than ever before. 


With our intimate knowledge of Iceland, we've got all the insider tips, tricks, and must-knows to make your visit truly unforgettable. This blog is your ultimate guide to exploring Selfoss Waterfall, from the best hiking trails to the coolest spots for that perfect photo. 


So, lace up your hiking boots, and let's get exploring. Trust us; you don't want to miss out on the magic that awaits!


Selfoss Waterfall


What Selfoss Makes Waterfall Unique?


Selfoss Waterfall stands out as a gem among the waterfalls in Iceland, with its modest height of 11 meters (about 36 feet) and impressive width of approximately 100 meters (330 feet). What it lacks in height, it more than makes up for with its breathtaking horseshoe shape and multiple cascading waters, creating a spectacle that's both powerful and enchanting. 


This natural wonder owes its existence to the dramatic volcanic history of Iceland. Imagine lava flowing, cooling, and then hardening into vast basaltic plateaus. Now, add to that the force of melting glacier water carving out the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, ultimately shaping the sublime Selfoss. 


Where Is Sellfoss Waterfall in Iceland


Nestled in the rugged beauty of Vatnajökull National Park and part of the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon in North Iceland, Selfoss Waterfall is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Wondering how to get there? It's simpler than you might think! If you're coming from Reykjavik, gear up for a scenic drive along the Ring Road (Route 1), Iceland's artery that circles the land of fire and ice. 


Selfoss is conveniently located just a kilometer (0.6 mi) south of its more thunderous neighbor, Dettifoss, making it easy to visit both waterfalls in one trip. For those exploring from Mývatn, take Road Nr. 864 (Hólsfjallavegur) for a direct route to these natural wonders.


Selfoss waterfall Location

How to Get to Selfoss Falls


Getting to Selfoss Falls is an adventure in itself, filled with stunning landscapes and the excitement of exploring Iceland's natural beauty. Depending on your travel style, there are a few ways to make this journey:


  • Renting a Campervan: Want ultimate freedom AND a cozy place to stay? Renting a campervan in Iceland is the way to go. It's basically having your hotel on wheels, which means you can wake up right by the waterfall, no joke! Check out our range of vehicles suitable for any budget.

  • Self-drive: The freedom to explore at your own pace is unbeatable. Renting a car allows you to stop at breathtaking scenic spots along the way. Just remember, driving in Iceland can be tricky, especially during winter, so check the weather forecast and road conditions.

  • Guided Tours: For those who prefer a bit of storytelling with their adventure, a guided tour is perfect. Plus, the guides know all the best spots for photos!

camper rental Iceland

Hiking to Selfoss Waterfall


If you're up for a bit of adventure with a payoff that's absolutely worth it, hiking to Selfoss Waterfall is your kind of challenge. The trek is relatively short, about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the mighty Dettifoss waterfall to Selfoss, but here's where it gets interesting—the trail on the east side may have you scrambling over boulders. It's a thrilling addition to what might otherwise be a straightforward walk. 


But the real reward? That breathtaking view of Selfoss Waterfall's unique horseshoe shape and cascading waters. While Dettifoss impresses with its raw power, Selfoss takes the prize for elegance and sophistication. 


Plan for a round trip of approximately 2.5 km (1.5 mi), which should take you around an hour and a half. And if this piques your interest in hiking across Iceland, be sure to check out our guide to Iceland hiking for more inspiration on the best trails this volcanic wonderland has to offer.


Best Viewpoints of Selfoss Waterfall


For those passionate about capturing the essence of Iceland through their lenses, Selfoss Falls offers unparalleled moments, especially from the eastern side. It's not just a viewpoint; it's a photographer's paradise, presenting a captivating panorama that combines the waterfall's majestic flow with the surrounding rugged landscape. 


The magic of dawn and dusk transforms Selfoss into an ethereal beauty, making these coveted times a must for shutterbugs seeking that perfect shot. The viewing platform on the east side is where the magic happens, blending foreground and background elements into a harmonious spectacle.


Viewpoints of Selfoss Waterfall

While the west side has its charms, offering a unique perspective, it's the east side of the waterfall that truly showcases it in all its glory. For those keen on photographing Iceland's diverse landscapes, our Iceland photography guide offers invaluable insights into capturing the island's beauty in every frame.


Adventures Around Selfoss Falls


After being mesmerized by the stunning views at Selfoss Falls, why not extend your adventure to some of the nearby gems? The area around the waterfall is a treasure trove of natural wonders that promise unique experiences:


  • Myvatn Nature Baths: Just an hour's drive from Selfoss, the Myvatn natural hot springs offer a soothing, geothermal spa experience amidst a breathtaking landscape. It's the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring.

  • Hverir Geothermal Area: Located a mere 52-minute drive from Selfoss, Hverir is a visual and olfactory wonder with its colorful sulphuric mud springs, vigorous steam vents, and boiling earth pools. It feels like walking on another planet.

  • Krafla Lava Fields: An hour's drive brings you to the expansive lava fields of Krafla, featuring the remarkable Leirhnjúkur area with its still-warm volcanic rocks and stunning vistas. It's a vivid reminder of Iceland's dynamic earth.

  • Ásbyrgi Canyon: A 40-minute drive from Selfoss, this horseshoe-shaped canyon, steeped in Norse mythology, offers serene landscapes and peaceful walks under towering cliffs. It's a place where myths feel alive.

  • Grjótagjá Hot Spring Cave: Approximately an hour from Selfoss Waterfall, this small cave with a geothermal spring inside is a must-visit for those seeking a unique bathing experience, famously featured in Game of Thrones.

Around Selfoss Falls


Why Sellfoss Waterfall Is A Must-Visit


Selfoss Waterfall is not just a destination; it's an experience, a must-do on your Icelandic adventure list. With its accessible yet awe-inspiring beauty, close proximity to other natural wonders, and the sheer variety of activities available, it perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Iceland's wild, untamed landscapes. 


Whether you're a passionate photographer, an avid hiker, or simply in search of tranquility, Selfoss offers a unique blend of beauty, adventure, and serenity. Remember, Iceland's magic is waiting for you at every turn, especially at Selfoss Falls. Ready to explore?


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