Seljalandsfoss is a waterfall that can be fully encircled, situated on the South Coast of Iceland with a drop of 60 meters (200 feet).
Many of the vacation packages on offer promise plenty of time at Seljalandsfoss, such as this 6-Day Summer Tour; the same can be said for self-drive holidays, including this 10-Day Road Trip. Those who join a South Coast tour or rent a car can reach the waterfall from the capital in just a couple of hours.
Due to the waterfall’s close proximity to the Ring Road and impressive natural features, it is one of the country's most famous and visited falls. Majestic and picturesque, it is one of the most photographed features in all of Iceland.
Geology and Surroundings
Seljalandsfoss waterfall, part of the river Seljalandsá, has its origins underneath the glacier Eyjafjallajökull. The volcano beneath this ice cap was the one that erupted in 2010 and caused havoc at airports across Europe.
The cascade of the falls is relatively narrow but falls from a tall cliff that once marked the country's coastline, the sea is now located across a stretch of lowlands and is visible from the site.
The most distinguishing feature of Seljalandsfoss is a pathway that stretches around it. The cliffs behind the falls have a wide cavern, and rocks and paths allow guests to fully encircle it in summer.
Though a mesmerising opportunity, visitors should be prepared to get dampened due to the perpetual mist of the falls, which also tends to make the rocks of the pathway slippery.
Floodlights have been set up on both sides of the waterfall, which impressively illuminate the scene during the night when the midnight sun is not out. The lights were installed in 2001 due to the growing popularity of the falls as a tourist destination.
After visiting Seljalandsfoss, it is common for visitors to continue north to the waterfall Gljúfrabúi, which is found partially hidden behind a rock face. Because of Seljalandsfoss extreme popularity, Gljúfrabúi is widely considered the hidden gem of the scene, as it is too often overlooked.
Seljalandsfoss is also usually visited alongside the nearby Skógafoss. The waterfall falls from the same height, and while it cannot be encircled, it is much more powerful and steeped in the legend of a giant’s hidden treasure.
Visitor Centre Controversy
In 2017, it was announced that a visitor’s centre was to be constructed near the falls. The design of the building indicated that it would be seven meters (23 feet) high and 2,000 square meters (21,500 square feet) in size. Landowners in the area opposed to the idea, proclaiming that the centre would greatly alter the natural appearance of the waterfall’s renowned scenery.
The project has neither been fully approved nor wholly cancelled, with ideas surfacing of either significantly reducing the size of the construction, or moving the visitor centre’s location further away, for instance to the nearby farmstead Brekkuhorn.
Seljalandsfoss in Popular Culture
Along with a multitude of South Iceland’s most famous natural attractions, Seljalandsfoss can be seen in Justin Bieber’s music video for his song ‘I’ll Show You’. Please enjoy the video without emulating any antics that will endanger yourself or the environment.
The waterfall was also a featured waypoint during the first leg of the sixth season of The Amazing Race, an American reality TV series.