Iceland’s Waterfalls of the South Coast: Urriðafoss, Skogafoss, and Seljandsfoss

"Somewhere over the Skógafoss..."

T.L.C. once warned us not to go chasing waterfalls. Not to discredit one of the greatest R&B/hiphop groups to have graced the airwaves, but Iceland will force you to reconsider the wisdom of that advice.

Whether you drive by mountains to see impromptu snowmelt waterfalls or schedule time to stop and check famous falls off your list, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll get to enjoy at least a couple of these amazing behemoths as you explore this beautiful, waterfall-hunting destination.

During our drive along the Golden Circle, we froze while we ogled Gulfoss, but didn’t get much more waterfall action than that. Then, on our South Coast tour, we got to enjoy three very different waterfalls with three very different experiences.

 

Urriðafoss

The first stop on our South Coast tour, Urriðafoss wasn’t quite what we were expecting.

It feels like it’s off the beaten track, rather than being a landmark like Gulfoss. It’s also kind of little. Actually, it reminds me a lot of some of the more intense rapids at home on the James River.

The area is relatively uneventful, to be honest. It’s a little off the main road, with no visible nearby buildings or other landmarks. That said, I can imagine a picnic lunch near the waterfall would be lovely during warmer weather, and would 100% plan to come back with munchies in hand.

In the winter, though, perhaps leave this one off the schedule, unless you’re specifically chasing all of Iceland’s famous waterfalls.

Boyfriend Perspective: Yup. What she said.

 

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Skógafoss

This is the first time we had a tour guide not-so-gently request that we wear krampons on an outing, and when you see the ground close up, it makes perfect sense. Large waterfalls like Skógafoss have a huge spray radius, especially when the wind picks up. So, the surrounding area is much more likely to ice over at a faster rate than the rest of the landscape.

Boyfriend Perspective: This spot was actually used for the filming of both Thor: The Dark World, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Did we promise nerdy travel? Because we just delivered nerdy travel. Mostly.

By this time, Luke’s jetlag had worn off, and he was ready to explore. So, we nabbed a few shots at the base of the falls, then started the trek (and I do mean TREK) up to the summit. This climb consists of approximately 500 grated metal steps with a railing that alternates between solid, old rope, and just… air. TL;DR: to do this, either be fit or be patient!

The view from the top – once I stopped freaking out about the steps moving in the wind – was beyond amazing, and we even caught a glimpse of a rainbow streaking across the falls. Completely and totally worth a visit.

 

Seljalandsfoss

By the time we got to Seljalandsfoss, we were on our last stop of the day and extremely tired. This, however did not stop Luke from zipping up his wind and rain layer and popping off to explore behind this famous spot. While you can’t trek to the top of this guy, the views Luke captured from the cavern behind the waterfall were absolutely gorgeous. Happily, he was quite literally a smartypants – he chose water-repellant pants for the trip, and had a fantastic waterproof outer layer.

Boyfriend Perspective: My water repellent pants weren’t enough to save me. My bottom half was completely soaked through to the skin from the spray. If you want to go behind the waterfall, which I recommend doing at least once because it was pretty cool, be sure to get WATERPROOF EVERYTHING. I would suggest a swimming wet suit… you can thank me later.

 

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Also published on Medium.

8 Replies to “Iceland’s Waterfalls of the South Coast: Urriðafoss, Skogafoss, and Seljandsfoss”

  1. I love waterfalls. They are so beautiful and relaxing. I love seeing rainbows in them as well!

    1. They definitely can be. And they can be very energizing, too – just depends on how much adrenaline you want in your day, I think 😉

  2. The steps at the Skógafoss were moving? Oh my, that must have been some experience. The waterfall looks really beautiful, but I can see why you said one has to be patient to trek there.
    Such powerful natural landscape. It’s even worth those moving steps, right! 😀

    1. They, uh, ~shifted~ from other people’s weight and the wind. It was a test of nerves, to be sure, but yes, totally worth the pumping adrenaline 😉

  3. That was an interesting trek to Skógafoss!! I would have lost my mind but those photos means it is worth it! How long were you guys in Iceland?

    1. We were there for a little over a week, and it SO was not enough! There’s just so much to see. As for Skógafoss, the climb to the top really tested my nerves, but yes – it was 100% worth it 😀

  4. Oh my god! I’m dying laughing over the “boyfriend perspective” angle hahahaha -these pictures are so gorg too!

    1. The man cracks me up, too 😉 And thank you!! Though, to be fair, I think it’s probably tough to take a bad photo anywhere in Iceland….

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