Iceland is the land of 1001 waterfalls and Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous on the island for very good reason.
Located in the south of the country and easily accessible from Road number 1, Seljalandsfoss is one of the most visited tourist sites in the south.
Midnight sun in summer behind Seljalandsfoss
The waters of the Seljalandsfoss originate in the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano further north. The meltwater produces the Seljalandsá River, which cascades from a 60 m shelf awash in lush green colors.
The scenery around the waterfall make it particularly photogenic, the bright green of the grass contrasting with its deep blue. Also, like its neighbor Skogafoss, you'll often see a rainbow form just above the fall if the sun is out.
The best viewing angle is behind the curtain of water, looking west you will see the sunset over the ocean through the lens of the cascade. Photo enthusiasts love coming there very late in the summer and during the midnight sun period to catch its unique silvery light. As a bonus, this helps you avoid the daytime crowds!
Like many sites in Iceland, Seljalandsfoss was a filming location in a number of movies, series and video clips, adding to its fame.
Seljalandsfoss is located along ring road number 1 and very easy to reach by car. It is located on the south coast, some 120 km east of Reykjavík and 60 km west of Vík (45 min).
From Reykjavík, you'll see it in the distance, so it's easy to spot the exit on the left at the last moment on the 249, taking you to the car park in a few minutes. Arriving from the east, on the other hand, the site is hidden by the terrain until it springs into view dramatically.
You can take a bus from Reykjavík, line 9 specifically, and for those who prefer guided tours, you can book a full day to discover Seljalandsfoss from Reykjavík.
The frozen surroundings of Seljalandsfoss in March
Seljalandsfoss can be reached at any time of year. Indeed, as the fall is on the south coast, this region usually a little better protected from the worst of winter conditions.
In summer, the waterfall is extremely popular, with buses going to and fro all day. For this reason, we recommended visiting in the morning or ideally at the end of the day whenever possible because Seljalandsfoss is such a perfect spot to capture the sunset from behind the waterfall.
The lights are quite spectacular all year round. In winter and summer, the ground can be treacherously slippery and can get quite muddy. In winter, it can also be a magical sight to see the path leading behind the fall completely frozen over (see photo of the stairs leading to the fall).
Seljalandsfoss seen from the small path on the right
On site, there is a large car park located a hundred meters from the fall as well as the Hamragarðar campsite just 200 meters away. The campsite has a good reputation and all the amenities, and is very popular in summer. One thing to keep in mind is that parking is not free (700 ISK a day).
Once parked, take the path that points straight towards the waterfall and then forks to create a loop, runs behind the curtain of water. It is perfectly safe, if slippery, so this view of Seljalandsfoss is a must for adults and children alike.
Just remember to bring your best waterproof jacket because when you pass behind this much water falling 60 meters, constantly swept by the sea winds, you will be soaked in seconds.
From behind the waterfall, in the evening, the view of the coastal horizon is simply to die for.
Most people stop at Seljalandsfoss and take the time to snap it from every angle, but you should know that there is another fall just 200 meters west from the campsite on foot.
Gljufrafoss (Gljufrabuí) is unusual in that it's hidden behind the imposing terrain. You have to hop over pond stones (don't slip!) to avoid getting your feet wet before reaching a small platform that allows gets you very close to the action, enough to take a picture if you have a wide angle setting.
But mind your camera gear because this one will leave you drenched!
Seljalandsfoss Horizons Cottages
This waterfall is very busy during the day, especially in summer, and as mentioned the best time to come is in the evening for that incredible sunset panorama through falling water.
With accommodation close enough to the waterfall, you can pick your perfect time and even go back early in the morning light before too many tourists arrive.
The following 3 accommodation offers stand out from the rest and are located less than two kilometers from the site:
The first two accommodations are “Youth Hostel” with excellent value for money. Both ideally located, the Valkyrie Guesthouse is closet, just 1 km from the fall along Route 249.
For those looking for more comfort with a larger budget, the beautifully modern chalets at Seljalandsfoss Horizons are a great choice and merely 1.5 km from the waterfall.