Iceland has a lot of waterfalls. A LOT. Each one a little different, a little better than the last! What makes Seljalandsfoss waterfall different and better, is the option to walk behind the torrents of the fall. If you follow the path from the cliff base it will take you right behind the waterfall! You shouldn’t get completely drenched but the view and experience are worth getting slightly soggy for! Take your time - it’s a great photo opportunity!
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Where does Seljalandsfoss come from?
You can find Seljalandsfoss in Southern Iceland, on the Seljalands River which flows down from the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano! The waterfall has one drop and is around 60m (200ft) high.
The water of Seljalandsfoss consists of pure glacial water from Eyjafjallajökull glacier. You may recall this name from 2010, as Eyjafjallajökull is also the name of the volcano which spontaneously erupted, wreaking havoc to Europe’s air traffic, causing airports to completely shut down for about 5 days.
For whatever reason, this eruption put Iceland on the map as a travel destination!
Eyjafjallajökull towers above the waterfall and the Eyjafjöll mountains feed meltwater to the river Seljalandsá which then runs down the slopes before finally descending off the Seljalandsheiði heath in the form of Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
Where is Seljalandsfoss?
GPS Coordinates: 63.615584, -19.988620
Seljalandsfoss was one of Iceland’s first popular landmarks and as it is now easy to find, located on Ring Road One. Seljalandsfoss waterfall is located on the South Coast, about 75 miles from Reykjavík (120km), 35 miles (56km) from Vík and 20 miles (32km) from Skógafoss waterfall.
Driving to Seljalandsfoss
Driving from Vík and the East
If you take the Road 1 passing through Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Vík, it will take approximately 1 hour to reach the fall. Just continue on Road 1, going straight until you see the sign to Þórsmerkurvegur, road number 249 leading you to Seljalandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi and finally Þórsmörk Valley.
Driving from Reykjavík to Seljalandsfoss
From the capital city, the route is a while longer, taking about 1 hour 45 minutes. You will want to take the Road 1 which leads through Selfoss and Hvolsvöllur. Continue East for approximately 20 minutes before reaching a sign to road 249, which will lead you to Seljalandsfoss.
Advice for Visiting Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- The paths can get quite icy during the winter, due to this reason we encourage anyone visiting in wintertime to bring with them shoe spikes. You also may want to rethink walking behind the fall due to your personal safety.
- If the path behind the waterfall gets too slippery it will be closed.
- Bring waterproofs if you are planning to walk behind the waterfall.
- Cover up electronics, cameras or phones which might get wet when walking behind the waterfall
- Be sure to visit Gljúfrabúi waterfall located only a little further West - about 200 meters.
- Seljalandsfoss is very popular so to beat the crowds in Summer, try visiting during the midnight sun and going either early or late!
- Unfortunately, parking is not free but the parking ticket is valid for the whole day.
When is the Best Time to Visit Seljandfoss?
You can visit Seljandfoss all year around, there are multiple day tours which will incorporate the waterfall into your itinerary! In Summer the midnight sun illuminates the waterfall and in winter you can come to the fall after a great day exploring, to catch the Northern Lights! The Northern Lights forecast can be checked at vedur.is, or you could ask at your accommodation.
In winter the area around Seljalandsfoss is stunning, as you’d expect! At night the waterfall is lit up with the help of two enormous light beams which create a mystical glow on the waterfall which is truly spectacular. Well worth checking out. The area is nothing short of a Christmas winter wonderland, with snow-covered, frozen ground and crystal icicles. At this time of year, the area is at its best - photogenic-wise!
That said, winter at Seljalandsfoss also has its setbacks, the ice on the paths can be hazardous and it is important to look where you are going while exploring the area on foot. Wear good sturdy shoes or boots, preferably with spikes, to increase your chances of not slipping over!
If the path behind the waterfall is deemed too slippery it will be closed. Please be respectful of the closing and don't ignore the warnings, it is put up for your own safety!
Places to Stay near Seljalandsfoss
As Seljalandsfoss is a popular tourist hotspot, there are plenty of hotels within a commutable distance. The following accommodations are all within 30 km of the fall.
- Stóra-Mörk 3
- Hotel Fljótshlíð
- Hotel Selja
- Brú Guesthouse
- Mið Mörk
- Nicehostel Seljaland
- Ásólfsskáli Cottage
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall - Camping
GPS N63 37.240 W19 59.362.
During the summer season, camping is a great option as the campsite minutes away! The well equipped Hamragarðar camping ground is only about 200 meters away from the waterfall itself, in fact, right beside Gljúfrabúi waterfall.
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall - Parking
As mentioned, parking is not free, instead, they are put towards maintenance and repairments.
The fee is 700 ISK and the ticket is valid for the whole day.
Filming at Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss has had its fair share of cameos!
- In the popular American TV series The Amazing Race 6 (2004) the first leg sent contestants to Iceland from Chicago, where they visited Seljalandsfoss, Vatnajokull, Jökulsárlón and the Blue Lagoon.
- The Juniper Tree (1990) is set in Iceland and features many iconic Icelandic monuments (and also Björk)!
- Justin Bieber – I’ll Show You (2015) In the video Justin is seen standing on a small ledge in front of Seljalandsfoss. The video has over 430 million views.
Things to do near Seljalandsfoss
There are a whole host of activities to undertake while in South Iceland and near Seljandfoss. From glacier hiking up volcanoes glaciers to relaxing in the oldest pool in Iceland, we’ve got you covered!
The Golden Circle Tour
No trip to Iceland is complete without hitting up Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Geysir Geothermal Zone.We run multiple tours around the circle, including add-ons such as food tours, snorkeling, and the Secret Lagoon. You can check it out here: Golden Circle Tours
Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool
The old Seljavallalaug swimming pool is located in a tranquil remote landscape in Midlands on the South Coast.
During the 2010 eruption, the pool was filled with ash and cold water! (Don’t worry the pool has been thoroughly cleaned since then and is definitely ash free!) In fact, the proximity of this pool to the volcano is really a selling point (the pool is free by the way) the location offers a special view of this (now safe and dormant) volcano.
Thorsmork valley is one of the most popular hiking routes in Iceland. Boating beautiful views and a moderate hike, most day tours will include a super jeep tour to the base camp of the mountain. You can see our range of Thorsmork Hikes here.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
45 minutes away from the waterfall you will find the famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. With charcoal black sand and towering basalt columns, Reynisfjara is one of the best beaches in the country!