Seljalandsfoss: The Most Spectacular Waterfall in Iceland
Seljalandsfoss is the most popular waterfall in Iceland. With over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland, being the most popular waterfall in Iceland is quite a title but it’s easy to understand why it deserves it.
Its location on the Golden Circle tourist route and the fact that you can walk behind it make it the most famous waterfall in Iceland but it really is an iconic sight and this is the main reason people visit.
Here are our thoughts and tips on visiting Seljalandsfoss waterfall including how to get there, when is the best time to visit and where to stay. For more help planning your Iceland trip, make sure to grab an Iceland travel guide.
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Where is Seljalandsfoss?
Selhalandsfoss is situated in the south of Iceland on the Ring Road. It is about 130 km from Reykjavik to Seljalandsfoss and it should take you just under 2 hours to drive it if you are visiting Seljalandsfoss on a day trip from Reykjavik.
- It is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland at an impressive 65 metres high but compared to some of the other waterfalls in Iceland, it is very narrow at only 10 metres wide.
- What does Seljalandsfoss mean? Unlike some of the other waterfalls like Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods) and Barnafoss (Waterfall of the Children), Seljalandsfoss doesn’t really have a translation.
- The water originates from the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier which flows into the Seljalands River and down over the 65 metre drop and on towards the coast.
- Seljalandsfoss is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Iceland (behind Kirkjufellsfoss)
- You can walk behind Seljalandsfoss during the summer months
When is the best time to visit Seljalandsfoss?
Seljalandsfoss in summer
This question is open for debate. For most, the best time to visit Seljalandsfoss is during the summer months when you will be able to walk behind the waterfall and possibly capture that iconic shot of the sunset.
The longer summer days are between the end of May and the end of July. If you want to capture the sunset, you will need to visit between 8 pm and 11 pm. Remember you are in the land of the midnight sun. The waterfall is open 24 hours a day.
The summer months of July and August are the busiest for visiting Seljalandsfoss so you will need to consider the best time to visit. It is unlikely you will have the place to yourself but the best times to visit will be early in the morning or late in the evening.
Seljalandsfoss in winter
It is important to stress that you can visit Seljalandsfoss in the winter months BUT you need to be careful. The path to the waterfall is fine, but once you reach the waterfall, it becomes very slippery due to ice. We visited Iceland in October and although the weather was relatively mild when we visited, there was still some ice there and so the path behind the waterfall was closed.
We did see someone ignoring this and walking there anyway, but with reports of icicles falling, it is strongly recommended that you do not try this. If you are visiting in winter, you will not be disappointed because it is still beautiful surrounded by snow and ice.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall parking
There is a large gravel car park at Seljalandsfoss. Turn off the Ring Road and continue down the track about 100 metres and the car park is on the right.
Parking is free at most of the waterfalls in Iceland BUT not at Seljalandsfoss. There is a fee of ISK 700 ($5.00 / £4.00) to park which was introduced in 2017. This goes towards the maintenance of the parking lot and the trail.
Facilities at Seljalandsfoss
In addition to the car park, there is a small gift shop, a small café and toilets.
Tips for visiting Seljalandsfoss
In addition to some of the tips we have given above, here are some additional thoughts to help you get the most from your visit:
- The path behind the waterfall is slippery even in the summer so care should be taken. Consider your footwear carefully and choose decent, waterproof hiking boots.
- If you are walking behind the waterfall, expect to get wet! You should consider waterproofs, particularly in the winter as you will not want to have a day of sightseeing in sub zero temperatures in wet clothes!
- If the sun is out, try various different spots around the waterfall to see if you can capture a rainbow moment.
- If you have time it is worth hiking the short way to Gljúfrabúi (or Gljúfrafoss), the waterfall next to Seljalandsfoss.
Where to stay near Seljalandsfoss
There are several accommodation options in the area. We recommend The Garage for a great self-catering option. It is located almost in the middle of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss and it even has its own waterfall behind the accommodation.
Our accommodation (for 4) was super cosy with heated floors and had a washing machine and tumble dryer which was essential for drying out clothes after a visit to the nearby waterfalls! They also have smaller apartments.
Things to do near Seljalandsfoss
If you’re staying in the area and have time, here are some additional things to do in Iceland (in the vicinity of Seljalandsfoss) that you could consider doing:
- Skogar Museum
- Westman Islands
- Hvollsvöllur swimming pool
- Black Sand Beach at Vik (stunning at sunset)
- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
See the map above to locate these places.
If you are wanting to visit more waterfalls, we have a more detailed post on the best waterfalls in Iceland.