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Thjofafoss Waterfall in Skaftafell Rejseguide

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The Thjofafoss waterfall on the hiking trail to Svartifoss.Thjofafoss is a secluded waterfall in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve in Southeast Iceland. It's located by the popular trail to the Svartifoss waterfall.

Not to be confused with the Thjofafoss waterfall in the Merkurhraun lava fields, this Thjofafoss waterfall is close to the better-known Svartifoss waterfall in Vatnajokull National Park.

You can visit Thjofafoss on a self-drive tour of Iceland. This incredible nine-day self-drive tour lets you spend a day in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, so you can easily visit Thjofafoss and see the other highlights in the area. If you have less time in Iceland, this three-day self-drive tour is a great option that includes time in Skatafell and a visit to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

Alternatively, if you're planning your own route, you can rent a car and drive to the Skaftafell Nature Reserve at your own pace, stopping at the Thjofafoss cascade for a break while walking to Svartifoss. There's also plenty of South Coast accommodation in the region, or you can camp at the Skaftafell campsite.

Photo by Regina Hronn Ragnarsdottir.

What Is the Thjofafoss Waterfall?

Thjofafoss (spelled Þjófafoss in Icelandic) is a waterfall in a picturesque area of Vatnajokull National Park. Its name loosely translates to "waterfall of thieves," though it's unclear why it has this name. The waterfall is approximately 50 feet (about 15 meters) high. It's one of multiple attractions along the Svartifoss trail.

Why Visit the Thjofafoss Waterfall in Skaftafell

Most visitors to Thjofafoss come on their way to or from the Svartifoss waterfall, a stunning cascade known for the hexagonal basalt columns surrounding it. Thjofafoss is one of three waterfalls on the hiking route to Svartifoss — the others are Magnusarfoss and Hundafoss

It's worth stopping at each waterfall on the Svartifoss hike. Thjofafoss is taller than Magnusarfoss but not as tall as Hundafoss or Svartifoss. However, it's a picturesque setting and is usually very peaceful since it's just off the main hiking trail to Svartifoss, so most visitors pass it without noticing it. Sit for a few minutes and enjoy the serene beauty of nature.

Where Is the Thjofafoss Waterfall?

The Thjofafoss waterfall is in South Iceland, roughly 200 miles (about 327 kilometers) from Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital. It sits within the Skaftafell Nature Reserve in Vatnajokull National Park. 

How To Reach the Thjofafoss Waterfall

The Thjofafoss waterfall is along the trail to the Svartifoss waterfall

Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Stéphanie Perrin. No edits made. Stop to see Thjofafoss when hiking to the Svartifoss waterfall.

To reach the Thjofafoss waterfall and other falls in the area, take the Ring Road to the Skaftafell exit (Route 998). Follow signs toward Skaftafell — you'll need to turn right after about 1 mile (roughly 1.6 kilometers), then park at the Skaftafell visitor center parking lot.

From here, follow the Svartifoss hiking path until you reach the Thjofafoss cascade. There are two hiking routes to Svartifoss, so make sure you take the western trail. Once you've seen Thjofafoss, you can continue your hike to see the Hundafoss, Magnusarfoss, and Svartifoss waterfalls. 

Other Attractions Near the Thjofafoss Waterfall

In addition to the other waterfalls near Thjofafoss, there are various other attractions close by that are worth visiting.

Skaftafellsjokull Glacier

The Skaftafellsjokull glacier in South Iceland.If you have more time to spend in the area, you can hike to the edge of the Skaftafellsjokull glacier from the Skaftafell visitor center's parking lot.

Skaftafellsjokull is an outlet glacier of the Vatnajokull glacier, the largest ice cap in Europe. You can go on exciting glacier hikes, or if you're visiting in winter, go on stunning ice-cave tours to glimpse into the hidden world of the Skaftafell ice cap.

Selid Turf House

The Selid turf house is a 15-minute walk from the Thjofafoss waterfall. It's an excellent example of the traditional turf dwellings used by Icelanders since the time of settlement. The Selid turf house dates back to 1912 but has been well preserved, making it a fantastic choice for visitors who want to learn more about traditional housing in Iceland.

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