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On the Way to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Updated: Apr 18

Have you ever dreamt of stepping into a scene from a fantasy series? Welcome to Seljalandsfoss, one of the most enchanting highlights of South Iceland.

Nestled on the country's southern coast, this breathtaking natural wonder is more than just a visual treat. It offers a rare adventure, being one of the few waterfalls in the world where you can venture behind the cascading water.

As the famous American anthropologist Loren Eiseley once said, 'If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.' At Seljalandsfoss, you're invited to experience that magic firsthand.


Why Is Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Famous?

Seljalandsfoss is not just a marvel of nature; it's a canvas painted with tales from Iceland's rich tapestry of folklore and legends. The Seljalandsfoss Falls have been the backdrop for many ancient stories that have been passed down through generations.

One such tale speaks of a hidden treasure chest filled with gold and jewels hidden behind the waterfall by a cunning troll. On moonlit nights, it's said that the chest's shimmer can be glimpsed through the cascading waters, but those who've tried to claim it have been trapped by the troll's tricks.

Seljalandsfoss has also featured in iconic movies like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, CKY2K, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. These captivating tales, combined with the waterfall's natural beauty and unique cave-like path, make Seljalandsfoss a magnetic attraction on the list of must-visit places in Iceland.

What Unique Seljalandsfoss Facts Should You Know?

Seljalandsfoss is truly one of the unique waterfall in Iceland, and several fascinating Seljalandsfoss facts make it stand out:

  • At an impressive height of 60 meters (approximately 197 feet), Seljalandsfoss stands as the 15th tallest waterfall in Iceland.

  • One of its most distinctive features is a natural pathway that allows visitors to walk behind the waterfall, offering a unique viewpoint.

  • Seljalandsfoss is nourished by the melting water originating from the renowned glacier-capped volcano, Eyjafjallajökull.

  • It's one of the most photographed natural sites in Iceland due to its picturesque ambiance, especially at sunset.

seljalandsfoss waterfall

How Can You Get to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall?

Reaching Seljalandsfoss Waterfall from Reykjavík is a picturesque journey by road. A drive of approximately 128 kilometers (around 80 miles) along Route 1 (the Ring Road), heading southeast from the city, will get you there in about 1.5 to 2 hours. Indicative signs and the increasing roar of water will guide you as you approach the site.

We highly recommend a campervan or a motorhome for this journey, as there are plenty of scenic stops along the way. It also allows you to stay a night or two in the area and make the most of your visit to Seljalandsfoss.

For those seeking a more structured journey, the Fire & Ice Tour is an excellent choice. This tour brings you to Seljalandsfoss and introduces you to the myriad wonders of Iceland's South Coast, making it a comprehensive and enriching experience.

What Parking Facilities Are Available at Seljalandsfoss?

Seljalandsfoss offers ample parking facilities for visitors. The Seljalandsfoss parking lot is conveniently located close to the waterfall, minimizing the walk to this natural attraction. It can accommodate several vehicles, including cars and campervans.

The parking fee is ISK 800, and the ticket can be purchased at the parking meter. This parking cost helps support the maintenance and preservation of the site. We advise you to arrive early during peak seasons to secure a spot, as the popularity of Seljalandsfoss often means the parking fills up quickly.

Camper rental Iceland

What Is the Cost to Visit Seljalandsfoss Waterfall?

Visiting the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is completely free, making it an affordable option for anyone on any budget. The only associated cost is the parking fee. This means that the overall Seljalandsfoss cost for a visit mainly depends on your transportation method. If you are using a campervan or a motorhome, the parking fee is all you must pay.

However, it's important to note that while the entry is free, maintaining the site's beauty and accessibility requires significant resources. Visitors are therefore encouraged to respect the location and consider making a donation to contribute to its preservation and upkeep.

What Hours Is Seljalandsfoss Open?

Seljalandsfoss is accessible to visitors 24 hours a day, all year round, providing a unique opportunity to witness its beauty at various times of the day. However, the pathway behind the waterfall, one of the key highlights of the visit, is closed during the winter months (usually November to March) due to icy conditions, which could be hazardous for tourists.

Although the Seljalandsfoss opening hours are unrestricted, it's advisable to plan your visit in daylight hours for the best visibility and safety. Always stay updated with the Icelandic weather and climate and heed any safety signs or advice from local authorities.

seljalandsfoss opening hours

What Is The Best Time of Year To Visit Seljalandsfoss?

The best time to visit Seljalandsfoss largely depends on what you wish to experience. For those who seek to witness the majestic Seljalandsfoss at night, the ideal time is during summer (June-August) when the midnight sun phenomenon occurs, enveloping the falls in a golden hue for an almost surreal sight.

One of our team members vividly recalls standing under the midnight sun, mesmerized by the ethereal glow highlighting the cascading water. As for those enchanted by the Icelandic winter, visiting Seljalandsfoss in winter between December and February offers a magical spectacle of the waterfall partially frozen in its descent.

The stark contrast of white snow against the black cliff is a sight to behold. However, bear in mind that the path behind the waterfall is closed during winter due to safety reasons. Therefore, plan your visit considering both the seasonal allure and safety guidelines.

How Long Is The Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Hike?

Starting from the parking lot located just off the Ring Road, visitors can already catch a glimpse of the majestic waterfall. The Seljalandsfoss hike time from the parking area to the falls is brief, typically taking around 15 minutes.

The Seljalandsfoss hike is often a topic of curiosity for many visitors. Contrary to what the term 'hike' might suggest, the Seljalandsfoss trail is more of a leisurely walk than a strenuous trek.

The trail leads to a viewpoint in front of the falls and then continues to steps that ascend to the pathway looping behind Seljalandsfoss. This unique behind-the-fall experience is the highlight for many. While some refer to this path as a hike, it's an easily accessible trail suitable for most visitors, much like many other trails for hiking in Iceland.

seljalandsfoss hike time

Are There Other Waterfalls Near Seljalandsfoss?

Yes, Seljalandsfoss isn't the only gem in the area. The vicinity boasts several other waterfalls, each with its unique charm. Let's take a look at the most notable ones.

  • Gljúfrabúi: Gljúfrabúi is the waterfall next to Seljalandsfoss. Gljúfrabúi is hidden within a small gorge. Its name, meaning 'Canyon Dweller' in Icelandic, is a testament to its secluded charm. Unlike Seljalandsfoss, the waterfall is not visible from the road, lending it an air of mystery and exclusivity.

  • Skógafoss: This waterfall is only a 27-minute drive from Seljalandsfoss. It is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country, with a drop of 60 meters (197 feet) and a width of 25 meters (82 feet). While both waterfalls are similar in height, Skógafoss is almost twice as wide as Seljalandsfoss, making it a breathtaking sight.

  • Kvernufoss: Kvernufoss is a small waterfall located 5 minutes from Skógafoss on the hiking trail Fimmvörðuháls. It has an impressive height of 30 meters (98 feet) and is popular for its unique horseshoe shape.

Is It Possible to Camp Near Seljalandsfoss Waterfall?

Yes, it is indeed possible to camp near the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The Seljalandsfoss campsite, also known as Eystra Seljaland Campsite, is located 5 minutes away from the waterfall, offering unmatched scenic vistas. Equipped with ample space and several facilities for travelers, this campsite near Seljalandsfoss is an ideal choice for nature lovers seeking an immersive Icelandic experience.

It includes charging stations, sanitary facilities, and water provisions, all at reasonable costs. One of our team members recently relished his stay at this campsite with one of our campervans, sharing his experience of waking up to the resounding echo of the falls and the mesmerizing sunrise painting the sky.

He highly recommends booking a campervan in Iceland for a truly intimate and flexible exploration of the stunning Icelandic landscapes, making it a far more intriguing option than the usual hotels near Seljalandsfoss. The campervan experience promises to etch lasting memories of your Icelandic adventure.

seljalandsfoss campsite

Is There a Restaurant at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall?

While there's no dedicated Seljalandsfoss restaurant on-site, visitors aren't out of dining options. A 26-minute drive will take you to the Hotel Skógafoss restaurant, which offers an appetizing range of traditional Icelandic dishes and international cuisine. This nearby eatery is known for its special burgers made from local beef and desserts like the traditional Skyr cake.

For those keen on sampling local Icelandic delicacies, the traditional meat soup is a must-try. Although you might have to venture a bit for food, the stunning views and the unique culinary experience make it well worth the drive.

Why Should Seljalandsfoss Be on Your Bucket List?

Seljalandsfoss unquestionably deserves a spot on your bucket list due to its enchanting beauty and unique features. The experience of walking behind the waterfall is a rare phenomenon that sets it apart from other attractions.

The ethereal sight of the waterfall under the midnight sun in summer or partially frozen in winter creates unparalleled visual memories. Coupled with the proximity to other spectacular waterfalls and the opportunity for immersive experiences like camping, Seljalandsfoss promises an unforgettable adventure.

Whether it's the lure of untouched nature or the thrill of discovery, Seljalandsfoss offers an unrivaled blend of beauty, thrill, and serenity.

seljalandsfoss falls


What does 'Seljalandsfoss' mean?

The name 'Seljalandsfoss' combines 'Seljalands,' the river's name, and 'foss,' the Icelandic term for a waterfall. Therefore, it essentially means 'the waterfall of the Seljalands River.'

Can you see the Northern Lights at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall?

Yes, under the right conditions, you can witness the Northern Lights at Seljalandsfoss, making it an even more enchanting experience.

Was Seljalandsfoss in Game of Thrones?

No, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall has not been featured in the popular television series Game of Thrones. Although the nearby Skógafoss Waterfall was used as a filming location in Season 8 of the show.

What is the Seljalandsfoss secret waterfall called?

The 'secret' waterfall near Seljalandsfoss is called Gljúfrabúi, hidden within a small gorge and lending a sense of elusive charm to its surroundings.

What are the Hotels near Seljalandsfoss Waterfall?

Several hotels near Seljalandsfoss Waterfall include Hotel Selja, Hotel Fljótshlíð, and Hotel Skógafoss, all of which offer scenic views and comfortable accommodation options.



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