Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Debivort
Foss á Síðu is a historic farm in Southeast Iceland, renowned for its folklore and natural beauty.
Explore this area on a self drive tour in Iceland.
The farm of Foss á Síðu has been inhabited since Iceland's Settlement Era, between 874 and 930 AD. It is mentioned in one of the earliest pieces of Icelandic literature, the Book of Settlement, which has been a vital tool for historians in understanding the story of Iceland and the lineages of its people.
The site has also had one of Iceland's mysterious legends surrounding, which goes back to the 16th Century. It is said that because of the wicked ways of one man, a family was cursed for nine generations. The spectre that haunted them was a dog, Móri, whom many still claim to see in the area. In spite of his ruthlessness to this particular family, he has never been reported to have harmed any others.
As it is just 10 kilometres east of the village of Kirkjubæklaustur, which was historically a centre of religion and piety, this legend was most likely exaggerated as a fear-mongering technique, warning the untoward of God's potential wrath.
Why it has been inhabited so long, in spite of the curse, becomes apparent when you see it. The farm is on a verdant hillock, against a dramatic set of cliffs that hold a beautiful waterfall. The word 'Foss' means 'Falls in Icelandic, and the literal translation of the name is 'the Falls at Siðú'.
Foss á Síðu is hard to miss, being directly on the Ring Road of Iceland en route to Jökulsárlón from Reykjavík. It is, however, past the major sites of the region, such as the waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, the black-sand-beach of Reynisfjara, and the puffin-watching cliffs and sea-arch of Dyrhólaey.
It takes around three and a half hours to reach, driving directly from Reykjavík. Plan your journey with extra time, as you will no doubt also want to stop at some of the landmarks above.