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The mighty Skógafoss waterfall

Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls with an astounding width of 25 meters (82 feet) and a drop of 60 meters (197 feet).

The waterfall is incorporated in plenty of self-drive tours and vacation packages around the country, like this 10-Day Road Trip and this 6-Day Winter Guided Tour respectively. Almost all South Coast tours will visit Skogafoss. Those who rent a car will find this waterfall right by the Ring Road.

Located on the Skógá river, this mighty cascade is clearly visible from Route 1 and is an excellent place to stop and stretch the legs while travelling Iceland’s South Coast. The river below Skógafoss holds a large char and salmon population and is thus a favourite spot for fishermen in the summer.

Due to the amount of spray the cascade produces, at least one rainbow is present any time the sun emerges from behind the clouds.

The land underneath the waterfall is very flat, allowing visitors to walk right up to the wall of water. This will get you drenched, although, on a summer’s day, it can be quite tempting.

Skógafoss can also be viewed from the top as a steep staircase leads to an observational platform above the cascade. Many nesting seabirds can be found on the route up.

Geography

Skógafoss is located near the small village of Skógar, south of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano. There you’ll find the Skógasafn folk museum, an open-air museum with both old wooden houses and turf houses, as well as a regional museum with various artefacts from this area.

A part of the Skógasafn Regional Museum is the Museum of Transportation, which showcases the history and evolution of transportation, communication and technologies in Iceland. There, you can see how this nation evolved from the age of the working horse to the digital communications of the 21st century.

The Skógasafn museum also includes a café and a museum shop, and in the village of Skógar, you will find both a hotel and a restaurant.

At the eastern side of Skógafoss, you will find one of Iceland’s most famed hiking routes; the Fimmvörðuháls pass. The 22 kilometre (14 miles) trail takes you along Skógá river, between two glaciers, Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull, before ending in the beautiful Þórsmörk valley.

Skógafoss is often visited alongside the waterfall Seljalandsfoss, which is just a little further along the South Coast. Both fall from cliffs of the same height, and while Skógafoss is much more powerful, Seljalandsfoss has a cave behind it, which means it can be fully encircled. It is also next to a much lesser known but still awe-inspiring waterfall, Gljúfrabúi.

Folklore

A gold ring is on display at the Skógasafn museum. According to legend, the ring is from a chest that was owned by Þrasi Þórólfsson, one of the first Viking settlers in the area, who by some accounts was a giant. Folklore states that before his death in 900 AD, Þrasi buried a chest filled with gold in a cave behind Skógafoss waterfall.

Many attempts were made to retrieve the chest after Þrasi’s death, and years later, locals managed to grasp a ring on the side of the chest. As they pulled, the ring broke off, and the treasure was lost forever. The ring was then given to the local church before it made its way to the museum.

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