Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss are the two main draws on the waterfall circuit of Iceland’s south coast. Both waterfalls are large and impressive, and both have smaller, lesser known sister falls near them which are less touristy and in my view, more enjoyable. We were driving up to Seljalandsfoss and saw an unbroken line of people from the parking lot to behind the falls and out the other side – like a tourist conveyor belt – and kept on driving. At Skógafoss it was quite packed as well but you can go to the base of the falls or up to the top of the waterfall and the area in general is quite big so people are able to space out more.
The less-visited and somewhat hidden neighbour of Skógafoss is Kvernufoss, and it is located in a small gorge behind the regional Skógar Museum. There are no obvious markings let alone parking spots. We just walked through a gate and across some farmland behind the museum until we found the gorge. At the time they seemed to tolerate the few tourists that found their way there, things may be different not but hopefully they are not. Being able to see and appreciate the waterfall in relative peace and quiet made it the best waterfall experience. In summertime it is also possible to walk behind the falls.
Gljúfrabúi or Gljúfrafoss
Next to Seljalandsfoss there is another lesser-known waterfall called Gljúfrabúi – also known as Gljúfrafoss. The name Gljúfrabúi means “Dweller in the Gorge” which makes it the better name obviously 🙂
The waterfall is 40 meters high and is almost entirely hidden by big rock in front of it – standing at the base only the top is only slightly visible. This rock is called Franskanef cliff or the “French nose” and it’s possible to climb the it. While it is not a great climb it is somewhat challenging, you’re likely to get your knees dirty since some parts are pretty steep. There are some ropes at different points, nevertheless it is slippery due to the proximity to the falls, so in general don’t wear your Sunday-best. Alternatively it is also possible to wade in the water into the Gorge and look straight up, for this necessary foot and legwear is recommended. Standing on top of the rock you have a good chance of being by your lonesome for a short time.