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Thjofafoss Waterfall Near Hekla Reseguide

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The Thjofafoss waterfall in the Merkurhraun lava field.Thjofafoss is a beautiful South Iceland waterfall in the Merkurhraun lava field, close to the Hekla volcano. It's a 40-minute drive from the town of Hella.

Not to be confused with the Thjofafoss waterfall in Skaftafell, this picturesque waterfall is known for its bright blue waters and the stunning Burfell mountain behind it. It's a broad cascade, approximately 50 feet (about 15 meters) in width.

You can visit the Thjofafoss waterfall (called Þjófafoss in Icelandic) on a self-drive tour of Iceland with a rental car. The waterfall is just on the edge of the Icelandic Highlands, which you can explore own pace on this 10-day summer self-drive tour. Alternatively, adventurous travelers can book a nine-day self-drive camping tour that lets you spend more time exploring the beauty of the remote Highland region.

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Grunkhead. No edits made.

What Is Thjofafoss?

Thjofafoss is a gorgeous waterfall along the mighty Thjorsa river, Iceland's longest and second-most voluminous river. It has a white cascade and a beautiful turquoise plunge pool. It's in the middle of a lava field, and the dramatic peak of Mount Burfell stands tall behind it, making it an excellent destination for keen photographers.

A side-on view of the Thjofafoss waterfall with Mount Burfell behind it.

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Grunkhead. No edits made.

The word "Thjofafoss" translates to "Thieves' Falls." Locals say that thieves were drowned at this waterfall as a punishment for their crimes.

The nearby Burfell power station often affects the power of the waterfall's flow. The river's water is diverted to generate hydroelectric power, which mainly affects the river during summer. Despite this, it's still an impressive waterfall worth visiting.

Why Visit the Thjofafoss Waterfall?

The Thjofafoss waterfall captivates visitors with its unspoiled beauty. Standing before this hidden gem, you can enjoy the mesmerizing spectacle of the water tumbling over the rugged cliffs.

Capture the moment with your camera or simply take in the sights and sounds of nature's symphony.

Where is the Thjofafoss Waterfall Located?

The Thjofafoss waterfall is in South Iceland, in the Thjorsardalur valley. It's about 82 miles (roughly 135 kilometers) from Reykjavik and 32 miles (approximately 52 kilometers) from the town of Hella, the closest settlement. The waterfall has a remote location on the edge of the Icelandic Highlands.

A panoramic photo of the Thjofafoss waterfall and Burfell mountain in South Iceland.

Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Cédric Liénart. No edits made.

How To Reach the Thjofafoss Waterfall 

You can reach the Thjofafoss waterfall by car, but you'll need to rent a 4x4 vehicle, as the journey will take you over unpaved tracks. There's a small parking lot with space for a couple of cars close to the viewpoint.

Ensure you have enough gas before setting out, as there are no service stations in the area surrounding the waterfall. The closest one is in the town of Hella.

From Hella, take Route 271 for about 7.5 miles (roughly 12 kilometers), then turn right onto Route 26, also known as Landvegur. Keep straight for 21 miles (approximately 34 kilometers), then turn left just before the river. After a few miles, you'll find the small parking area and viewpoint for the cascade. 

It's also possible to reach a viewpoint of the waterfall on the north side of the river. Drive South on Route 30 from the town of Fludir, then turn onto Route 32. Once you pass the hydroelectric station, you can follow a small track to reach a viewpoint. However, the view isn't as good here, as you can't see Mount Burfell in the background.

Other Attractions Near Thjofafoss

Haifoss is the forth tallest waterfall in IcelandThe area surrounding the Thjofafoss waterfall boasts several other points of interest worth exploring.

A little further along Route 26 are the Fossabrekkur waterfalls, a series of small, pretty cascades at the foot of the Hekla volcano. They're just over 4 miles (about 7 kilometers) from the Thjofafoss waterfall.

You can also visit the Hekla volcano while in the area. Often called the "gateway to hell," Hekla is one of Iceland's most unpredictable and explosive volcanoes. Explore the area on a private super jeep tour from Reykjavik.

If you visit the northern side of the Thjofafoss waterfall, you'll find yourself close to the Hjalparfoss waterfall. This double waterfall marks the point where the Thjorsa and Fossa rivers meet. It has two cascades that fall into a single pool below.

Further in the Thjorsardalur valley, you can also see Haifoss, the fourth tallest waterfall in Iceland. It's only accessible in summer, but it's a stunning sight to behold.

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