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The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Selfoss Waterfall in Iceland

Are you ready to experience the enchanting allure of one of Iceland's most stunning natural wonders, the Selfoss Waterfall? We at Cars Iceland take pride in our intimate knowledge of this Nordic paradise.

We've crafted this comprehensive guide with you in mind, ensuring your visit to Selfoss is truly unforgettable. But are you prepared to witness the breathtaking splendor of this iconic waterfall? Let's find out!

Selfoss Waterfal

The Origin Story Of Selfoss Waterfall

The formation of Selfoss Falls is deeply intertwined with Iceland's volcanic history. As lava flowed across the landscape, it cooled and hardened into vast basaltic plateaus. Over time, melting glacier water carved out the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, eventually forming the magnificent Selfoss.

With its horseshoe shape and multiple cascades falling from a height of 11 meters (36 feet), Selfoss has a unique, mesmerizing beauty. Notable characteristics include the falls' width of approximately 100 meters (330 feet) and the misty spray, which creates a magical atmosphere, truly setting Selfoss apart from other waterfalls.

It's also in close proximity to the famous Dettifoss waterfall, making it a must-visit for tourists exploring Iceland's stunning natural landscapes.

sellfoss waterfall

Where is Selfoss Waterfall in Iceland Located?

Nestled in the heart of the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon in North Iceland, Selfoss Waterfall is a mesmerizing natural wonder awaiting discovery. Just a kilometer south of its famed counterpart, Dettifoss, Selfoss is easily accessible via the Ring Road (Route 1).

For those journeying from Mývatn, take the eastward turn onto Road Nr. 864, Hólsfjallavegur. This route offers a scenic drive leading directly to the waterfall's viewing platforms. To enhance your travel experience, consider using Google Maps or a GPS to ensure a smooth journey to this Icelandic gem.

How To Get To Selfoss Waterfall in Iceland?

To reach the spectacular Selfoss Waterfall in Iceland, you have a few options, but undoubtedly, the most convenient way to get there is by renting a car in Iceland. The freedom and flexibility of a personal vehicle allow you to truly immerse yourself in the stunning Icelandic landscapes on your journey.

We offer a wide range of vehicles suitable for all types of travelers. Whether you're a solo adventurer or traveling with a group, we've got you covered. With our 24/7 customer support and convenient pick-up locations, your journey to Selfoss Waterfall will be comfortable, easy, and unforgettable.

What Is The Selfoss Waterfall Hike Like?

Embarking on the Selfoss Waterfall hike is a journey of unparalleled beauty and adventure. Starting from the mighty Dettifoss, the trail spans approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) to Selfoss on the east side.

This path is more rugged and may involve scrambling over boulders, adding an element of thrill, especially for young adventurers. As you navigate this route, you're rewarded with a breathtaking view of Selfoss in its full glory; its unique horseshoe shape and cascading waters captivate the eye.

Dettifoss impresses with its raw power, while Selfoss exudes elegance and sophistication. Completing the round trip to both waterfalls covers about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) and should take around an hour and a half. You can also check out our guide about other best hikes in Iceland for some more inspiration.

selfoss hike

Where Are The Best Views of Selfoss Waterfall?

For the most captivating views of Selfoss Falls, the eastern side is a photographer's dream. This vantage point offers a comprehensive panorama of the waterfall's grandeur, making it ideal for that perfect shot.

Dawn and dusk, with their soft lighting, enhance the waterfall's ethereal beauty, making these times most coveted by photographers. Additionally, the viewing platform on the east provides a harmonious blend of foreground and background elements, adding depth to your captures.

While the west side offers a unique perspective, the east remains unmatched in showcasing Selfoss in all its splendor. For those passionate about capturing Iceland's landscapes, dive into our Iceland photography guide for invaluable insights.

selfoss falls

Selfoss vs. Dettifoss

In the realm of Icelandic waterfalls, Selfoss and Dettifoss stand as two titans, each with its own unique allure. Dettifoss, often dubbed Europe's most powerful waterfall, roars with a might that's unparalleled, its vast expanse reminiscent of a thundering giant.

Selfoss, on the other hand, is like a delicate artist painting the landscape with its cascades. While it may not match Dettifoss in sheer power, its wider span and gentle flow offer contrasting beauty. Together, they represent the duality of nature: one showcasing raw power and the other serene elegance, much like a lion and a gazelle in the wild.

Top Attractions Near Selfoss Falls

So, you've explored Selfoss and Dettifoss; what's next? Here are some of our recommendations for the top attractions near Selfoss Waterfall:

  • Mývatn Nature Baths: Just an hour away, these natural hot springs provide a calming, less crowded alternative to the Blue Lagoon.

  • Hverir Geothermal Area: About a 52-minute drive from Selfoss, Hverir is a geothermal wonder with its colorful sulphuric mud springs, steam vents, and boiling pools.

  • Krafla Lava Fields: A 1-hour drive leads you to the expansive Krafla Lava Fields, remarkable for the Leirhnjúkur area, which still emanates heat and steam from the 1984 eruption.

  • Ásbyrgi Canyon: Approximately 40 minutes from Selfoss, this horseshoe-shaped depression is a part of the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon and is steeped in Norse mythology.

  • Grjótagjá Hot Spring Cave: A 1-hour drive from Selfoss Waterfall, this cave houses a geothermal spring, once a popular bathing spot, now a visual treat.

Things to see by Selfoss

What You Need to Know About Planning Your Visit to Selfoss Falls

When planning your visit to Selfoss Waterfall, there are several key points to keep in mind to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience:

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer months, from June to August, offer the best conditions for visiting Selfoss waterfall.

  • Weather Preparedness: Icelandic weather can be unpredictable. Pack layers, waterproof clothing, and sturdy hiking boots.

  • Accommodation: Nearby towns like Reykjahlíð offer a range of lodging options, from cozy guesthouses to luxury hotels.

  • Safety First: Stay on marked paths and maintain a safe distance from the waterfall's edge to avoid slippery areas.

  • Amenities: There are restrooms at the parking lot, but you'll need to bring your own food and drinks.

  • Parking: Free parking is available near the waterfall, but it can get crowded during peak seasons.

Experience The Magic Of Selfoss Waterfall

Experience the enchanting Selfoss Waterfall, a wonder of Iceland's breathtaking natural landscapes. With our reliable vehicles and tips, your adventure will be unforgettable. So, gear up, hit the road, and let Iceland's unparalleled beauty captivate your heart and create memories to last a lifetime.



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