Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is one of the most visited waterfalls on the south coast of Iceland. Seljalandsá originates in the volcano underneath the glacier of Eyjafjallajökill and flows down the mountain until it tumbles 60 meters off the edge of the cliff creating the absolutely beautiful waterfall. When coming from the west towards Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall can be clearly seen from a distance cascading off the foothills of the great mountain. This is the waterfall which you can walk behind, make a wish, meet an elf, get wet and get coffee and donuts afterwards, all in the space of half an hour.
The 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption stopped all air travel in Europe for a few days as the ash cloud drifted out over the Atlantic, the ash plume reaching a height of up to 10 km and the ash detected far south on the European mainland. Considering the many active volcanoes in Iceland the volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have not been many, only five in the last 1100 years, in this case a moderate eruption but it did destroy on of the outlet glaciers and closed the Ring Road. Fortunately Seljalandsfoss Waterfall remained intact and it still is one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland and the fact that you can walk behind the waterfall makes it a further attraction and a must stop on any day trip to the south shore.
The ice cap on Eyjafjallajökull makes it incredibly picturesque and whenever you are visiting Seljalandsfoss make sure you keep your eyes out for a good photo-stop of the volcano. Seljalandsfoss is also the destination where you might be able to get that unique photo of northern lights or the midnight sun through falling glacial water. However the real experience here is of course to feel, see and hear the endless flow of water coming rumbling off the cliff side. There is something absolutely magical about standing behind a waterfall looking out knowing that you are also standing in the bosom of a legendary volcano.
Also the little food truck which is usually standing in the parking lot next to the waterfall is a great one. They serve fresh donuts and muffins as well as homemade sandwiches, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and sodas. A lovely little family run spot right in front of the waterfall with a great view of the south western Icelandic saga-land.
One of the most picturesque waterfalls on the south coast of Iceland is Skógafoss Waterfall. Nestled in the south eastern foothills of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano not far from the glacier tongue of Sólheimajökull, an outlet glacier from Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The Waterfall cascades 60 m off the hillside and is around 30 m wide and you can walk all the way into the gorge where the amount of spray coming off the waterfall often creates perfect conditions for double rainbows.
The eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull volcano have not been many considering the many volcanoes in Iceland and by default the many volcanic eruptions that the country has, every 5 years on average. The 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption created an ash cloud whose ash plume spread far and wide and stopped all air travel in Europe as well as closing the Ring Road and leaving vast amounts of ash in the ice caps all around. Right next to it embedded in the glacier Mýrdalsjökull is the great Volcano Katla which erupts usually every 100 years and last erupted in 1918 and the eruption added 200 meters to the coastline in the area. During the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull the Skógá River in which Skógafoss is situated has often filled up with ash a gravel from the eruption and during the 2010 eruption the river went completely black but managed to clear itself again.
Skógafoss is also situated next to Skógasafn Folk Museum which is one of the most interesting museums in Iceland giving a unique insight into the life of the Icelanders and the struggle to survive in past times. There is also a transport museum there and some turf houses.
Out of all waterfalls in Iceland Skógafoss has one of the more enduring and intriguing folktales. One of the first settlers here was Thrasi which owned a great treasure which he hid in the waterfall in a big old chest. Everyone knew this story and one day sometime in the past a young man guarding a flock of sheep next to the waterfall saw the chest in the water and reached out to yank it out but unfortunately only a metal ring was left in his hand. And among many treasures of the past, this particular ring can be found in the Folk Museum at Skógar.
Skógafoss Waterfall has also entered popular culture since legend has that pop star Justin Bieber almost drowned here during an extremely unpopular video shoot where he managed to break every other safety rule that guides strive hard to communicate to travelers, caused an overflow of tourists in sensitive areas and topped it all of by having dancers dance on top of protected vegetation. Well done Justin Bieber!
Whether you are travelling here during summer or winter the waterfall is a great attraction. Summer is green and lush and the midnight sun lights beautifully the glistening flow of water and in winter ice sculptures can often be seen within the sides of the gorge and there are quite a few pictures of the northern lights doing their magic above Skógafoss Waterfall.
Within the territory of Vatnajokull Glacier there are three major active volcanoes. Among those is Öræfajökull the highest mountain in Iceland. Around 30 outlet glaciers or glacier tongues stretch out from the main ice cap. Then there is also the most amazing glacier lagoon in Iceland Jökulsárlón. The Vatnajokull national park is also the largest national park in Iceland stretching from Skaftafell in the south, across the glacier and all along the banks of Lagarfljót River flowing from the glacier to the northern coastline.
Vatnajökull has been featured in various films such as James Bond both A View To A Kill in 1985 and Die Another Day in 2002, as well as Batman Begins and Lara Croft Tomb Raider. Also the tv series Game of Thrones where it was used as a backdrop for various scenes. This has of course boosted tourism in the area and there are various tours and services offered here. Among those the Glacier Lagoon is probably the most popular.
The Glacier Lagoon Jökulsárlón is a highlight in the Vatnajökull National Park. The lagoon has been forming in the last 75 years or so since the glacier started receding from the coastline exposing what is essentially a fiord cutting into the land and is now regarded as one of the largest lakes or fiords in Iceland depending on definition. It has a depth of over 240 meters and is around 18 km2, the outlet is a short river leading straight out into the North Atlantic. At the estuary is the Diamond beach thus named do to the clear icebergs usually stranded in the black sand, it has become a special side attraction and a must stop when visiting the lagoon. There is quite a bit of wildlife here including large nesting grounds of the arctic tern which is the farthest flying migrating bird in the world, nesting in Iceland and then flying all the way to Antarctica around ten thousand miles to the south. Also the arctic skua nests in the sand here and during nesting season it is wise not to disturb them since their attack has been described to be like that of a B-52 bomber. Seals regularly swim into the lagoon chasing the various fish coming from the sea into the sweetwater.
Iceland´s highest peak lies roughly between Jökulsárlón and Skaftafell National Park reaching a height of 2010,9 meters. This it is also a volcano whose eruptions in the past have been absolutely devastating and when the next one starts it will easily take out a large portion of the ring road and it is estimated that another volcanic eruption in 1362 wiped out anywhere between 20 and 40 farms in the area. The readings from seismic activity in the past few years suggest that the volcano might be stirring, but volcanologists are saying that an eruption should not be imminent for decades even centuries.
Vatnajökull Glacier is popular for super jeep tours and there are a few destinations along known routes on the glacier itself. There are also hiking tours offered from a few locations and ice caving has become more and more popular in the last few years. All these should be under strict surveillance since the glacier can change quickly and crevasses form without warning.
In a country of unredible and otherworldly destinations Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is still truly unique and an unforgettable experience. Situated in the bosom of Europe's largest glacier Vatnajökull which covers around 8% of Iceland. The Glacial Lagoon has been forming steadily during the last 75 years as the glacier retreats further and further back. Today the lagoon is around 18 km2 and reaches a depth of roughly 250 m. The great icebergs breaking off the glacier into the lagoon and the surrounding mountains and glaciers form an awesome sight with Iceland's highest mountain the massive Öræfajökull volcano directly to the west and the black volcanic shoreline of the North Atlantic to the south.
Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður, the realm of Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Iceland, is the largest National Park in Iceland and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon presided over by the great Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier is by far the largest glacier lagoon, and one of the largest lakes, in Iceland. The average thickness of the ice caps here is almost 400 meters and special tours are available to do glacier hiking and to explore ice caves. The most popular tour to do is the amphibian boat tour and it is in fact one of the most popular day tours on The Ring Road. There is also The Diamond beach on the other side of the road which is a must stop when visiting here, it is a black sand beach littered with crystal clear glacier ice of various shapes and sizes.
Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon has also entered popular culture since it has been used in a few films, including two James Bond films, A view to a kill in 1985 and Die Another Day in 2002.
This is really a great place to visit anytime winter or summer. Be it in the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun, The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a place like no other.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon at Vatnajökull National Park, is an amazing place and an absolutely mind blowing experience. Take the amphibian boat trip out among the white and blue icebergs spotting new shapes at every turn and the heads of seals chasing fish into the sweet water. Check out the Diamond Beach at the mouth of the short glacial river where crumbling bits of transparent ice sparkle in the black volcanic sand. Travelling on the Ring Road from Reykjavik we go through some of the most scenic areas on the south coast of Iceland, including the Eldhraun Lava Field, Skaftafell National Park and Öræfajökull, highest mountain in Iceland.
The day trip from Reykjavik takes you along the entire south of Iceland and the tour takes roughly 15 hours to complete. Some of the most scenic locations in Iceland can be found on this route so doing a private tour with some added flexibility is a great option. There is a fair amount of driving involved but the journey itself is more than worth it and the glacier lagoon stands out like a massive jewel forged with ice and fire everchanging with the drift ice coming from the glacier and in fact growing every year so never quite the same.
Vatnajökull National Park is our largest National Park and Vatnajökull is by far the largest glacier in Iceland, around 8000 km2, with an average thickness of almost 400 m, and has 30 outlet glaciers and various glacier tongues flowing from the main one. Öræfajökull Volcano is a part of the glacier and its highest point Hvannadalshnjúkur is the highest peak of Iceland 2110,9 m. Private tours can be arranged to go the glacier and into a natural ice caves which sometimes form along the edge of the glacier.
The Eldhraun Lava Field is the largest lava flow on earth from historic times, around 600 km2 which is roughly the size of The City of Chicago. During the massive eruption of Laki in 1784 the ash cloud circumnavigated the world blocking the sun causing harsh winters and cold summers in the northern hemisphere which resulted in the famine that sparked the french revolution.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
A stretch of black beach going from Reynisfjall mountain to Dyrhólaey. This is the southernmost tip of Iceland and going straight out the next firm ground you hit is Antarctica about ten thousand miles to the south. Being right between the two great volcanoes Eyjafjallajökull and Katla the coastline here is ever changing and during the 1918 Katla eruption the coastline moved out almost 200m due to the amount of sand, gravel and ash brought forth. There are some fascinating rock formations embedded in the mountainside and basalt columns rise from the surf just off the shore. During summer, this is also a nesting site for puffins.
One of the most picturesque waterfalls in Iceland in the foothills of Eyjafjallajökull volcano where Skógaá river tumbles down almost 200 feet into a beautiful gorge. The waterfall can be enjoyed by walking right into the gorge which is on the same level as the parking lot or you can climb up 428 steps and get a slightly different angle.
This is the waterfall which you can walk all the way behind where it cascades off the foothills of Eyjafjallajökull. A very scenic location where you can sometimes catch the late afternoon sun shining through the water. There is also a little food truck there that sells fresh donuts and hot coffee throughout the day.