Selfoss Waterfall – One of the Wonders of Iceland


Basic Information

Located in Jökulsárgljúfur canyon in Northern Iceland, Selfoss waterfall is one kilometer south of the enormous waterfall Dettifoss. It is fed by the glacier river Jökulsá á Fjöllum with its routes in Vatnajökull glacier. Jökulsá á Fjöllum is also the second-longest river in Iceland with a length of 206 kilometers, flowing into the Greenland Sea. The glacier from which this river origin is the largest ice cap in Iceland that makes 8 percent of Iceland’s landmass. The east side of the waterfall provides an amazing view while it is difficult to get a clear view of the Selfoss from the west side as most of the waterfall drops from the west. Usually, it is confused with the Selfoss town in South Iceland and the Ölfusá River. You can visit this place in any season of the year but the flow of water decreases in the winter.

Selfoss waterfall in north Iceland

Places to Explore Around Selfoss

If you are traveling around the famous Diamond Circle then visit the Dettifoss waterfall. Falling from a height of 45 meters, the Dettifoss waterfall is known to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. With 100 meters wide stream, it holds the reputation as the most voluminous waterfall in Iceland. This gigantic waterfall attracts a large number of travelers throughout the year. This waterfall is popular for its power more than the appearance. The sprays of water stream can be seen from miles away. You will get an amazing view of the rainbows formed through this huge waterfall. The source of this waterfall is the same Jökulsá á Fjöllum River. The speed of water thrown from this cascade is 193 cubic meters per second. The thunderous waterfall is located in the Vatnajökull National Park that is the largest national park in Iceland.  The mountains in the background and waterfalls in the front provide a stunning view. There is a platform at the Dettifoss that provides a complete view of the waterfall.

Visit another waterfall located nearby, the Hafragilsfoss waterfall. One of three waterfalls on the mighty river Jokulsar a fjollum, the Hafragilsfoss is surrounded by cliffs that offer a spectacular view. The 90-meter wide stream falling from a height of 30 meters makes it one of the massive waterfalls in the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. Subdued thunder and mist blowing in the air are testimonies of its vast size and volume. Upstream the river at a distance of about 2.5 kilometers, you will find the Dettifoss waterfall.

Travel to the horseshoe-shaped canyon, Ásbyrgi that is surrounded by extremely high cliffs. The Ásbyrgi glacial canyon draws the attention of tourists throughout the year. The 90-meter tall cliffs around this canyon and huge crag in the right contribute to the fascinating beauty of this place. 

Selfoss waterfall in north Iceland

How To Reach Selfoss Waterfall

Selfoss is located around 535 kilometers from Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital. If you are starting from Reykjavík, it will take over 6 hours and 40 minutes. Drive on Ring Road 1 from Reykjavík towards the north. Pass through the towns of Borgarnes, Staður, Laugarbakki, and Varmahlíð until you reach Akureyri, the capital of the north. From Akureyri, head towards Reykjahlíð that is located near the famous lake Mývatn. After driving for around 25 kilometers, take a left turn towards Holsfjallavegur and drive on route 864. You will have to travel on the gravel road to reach the Selfoss waterfall. The condition of the gravel road can vary depending on the weather. The sufficient parking space at this waterfall is free. We highly recommend that you make it a multi day trip. You can stay at any of the guesthouses and hotels in Akureyri, Myvatn or in the Diamond Circle. 

Selfoss waterfall in north Iceland

Map of Selfoss waterfall

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