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Matkaopas: Rauðárfossin vesiputous

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Tourist Attraction
QWH9+8M Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland
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The red basalt column of Raudarfoss waterfall.

Raudarfoss waterfall, spelled Rauðárfoss in Icelandic, is a beautiful waterfall in South Iceland. It is approximately 66 feet (20 meters) high and has a majestic shape.

One of the best ways to explore Iceland’s waterfalls is by taking a self-drive tour so that you can stop and spend as much time as you please there. These 10-Day Complete Ring Road Tour or 7-Day Self-Drive Ring Road Tour itineraries offer an opportunity to stop off at Raudarfoss waterfall.

You could also visit the waterfall if you rent a car, an excellent way to explore Iceland in your own time.

Raudarfoss waterfall is a bridal-veil-shaped cascading body of water in the southern part of Iceland, famous for its red rock and scenic views.

Photo from The Beautiful Waterfalls of South Iceland, by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir No edits made

Physical features of Raudarfoss Waterfall

Raudarfoss is a hidden gem among the unique waterfalls of Iceland. The red water comes from the Rauda river, and the appearance of the water gives its name to the falls. Raudarfoss translates to “waterfall in the red river.” 

The color red comes from the amount of iron in the soil of the riverbed. The presence of iron makes the water appear red or sometimes rusty. The red water, plus the unique shape of the waterfall, makes for a beautiful spot to visit.

How to get to Raudarfoss Waterfall

If you’re traveling along Iceland’s South Coast, a trip to Raudarfoss waterfall is a must.

The waterfall is around 162 miles (260 kilometers) from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. Take Route 1 to Klausturvegur in Kirkjubaejarklaustur and then continue towards Systrastapi rock. Systrastapi is a hill to the west of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. Take a left onto here, and this road will take you as close as you can drive to Raudarfoss waterfall.

Raudarfoss is just a short hike from the nearby mountain road, Nyrdri Fjallabak, the Domadalur track. From the west, follow a sign for Raudufossafjoll, which will lead you to a parking lot. To access these mountain roads, you will need a 4x4 vehicle.

Take the old dirt road from the parking lot. This road is now a footpath that you can’t drive down. The journey from here will take around 30 minutes.

Why is Raudarfoss Waterfall special? 

Raudarfoss waterfall is slightly off the beaten track.  While many opt to visit the more well-known Systrafoss, which is about half a mile (1 kilometer) away from Raudarfoss waterfall, you can see Raudarfoss without the crowds.

Raudarfoss is a breathtaking sight. Like a veil you might see on a bride, the water tumbles in a stunning stream, stretching out on both sides.

Things to do near Raudarfoss waterfall

There are several attractions to visit near Raudarfoss waterfall. The nearest village is Kirkjubaejarklaustur, which has approximately 120 inhabitants. The village has all the amenities you might need during a road trip, including fuel, shops, a bank, and a supermarket.

Systrafoss, the famous "sister’s waterfall" in Klaustur, is within hiking distance of Raudarfoss waterfall. It is named for the nuns who lived in the local convent here. Icelandic folklore says that the nuns bathed in the lake, and one day a hand emerged with a golden comb. Two nuns reached for it but were pulled into the lake and drowned, creating the twin waterfalls here.

Fjadrargljufur canyon is another nearby natural attraction. This canyon has a unique serpent shape and has become a popular place to visit in recent years following an appearance in a Justin Bieber music video.

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