Located east of Merkurhraun lava field, Þjófafoss waterfall is one of the hidden gems of South Iceland. The turquoise waterfall with a giant mountain in the background provides an amazing view of the Icelandic landscape. This naturally protected waterfall is one of the three major waterfalls on river Þjórsá. The longest river of the Iceland, Þjórsá, forms a boundary between Árnessýsla and Rangárvallasýsla. Name of this waterfall Þjófafoss translates to “Thieves Waterfall”; it is named Þjófafoss because thieves were drowned in the pool of this waterfall as a punishment. The wide, milky white waterfall is situated beneath Mount Burfell. Though this waterfall is not tall, the width, power, and juxtaposition with the mountain make it a picturesque place. The Þjórsá river stretches from the Icelandic Highland to the south coastline in Southern Iceland.
Further upstream, there is a hydraulic power station named Búrfellsstöð that slows down the flow of water. The flowrate in Þjófafoss is comparatively low during winter than summer due to the two major power plants of Iceland on the river. A large proportion of the water is diverted past the falls because of the power stations. The longest river of Iceland is dammed at Sultartangi, creating the Sultartangalón reservoir. The powerful stream of water is first channeled through Sultartangi Power Plant into the Bjarnarlón reservoir and then through the Búrfell Power Plant. The Sultartangalón reservoir gets full in the late summer so the excess water flows over Þjófafoss.
Places Around Þjófafoss Waterfall
If you are planning a road trip to South Iceland or the Golden Circle, travel around the beautiful natural sites around the Þjófafoss waterfall. When you travel further west from this place, you will end up at the largest town in the southwest of the country named Selfoss. With a population of around 7 thousand, this town is located by the banks of riven Olfusá, one of the largest rivers in Iceland. It is a hub to commerce, farming, horticulture, and many other small industries in South Iceland. It is situated on the brink of Ring Road that encircles the country. Located at a distance of 57 kilometers from the capital of Iceland, this town offers multiple options for accommodations including guesthouses, hotels, or cottages. You can easily find diverse restaurants and cafes situated in the heart of town. To relax in the water, there is an outdoor geothermal swimming pool with sauna tubs.
Þjófafoss waterfall is the perfect place to explore if you are doing the extended version of the Golden Circle and exploring the locations in Þjórsárdalur valley. Hjálparfoss waterfall, Háifoss waterfall, Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng Turf Houses, and Gjáin valley are all located in Þjórsárdalur.
Þjófaofss is also in a great location as a pit stop on your way to Landmannalaugar in the highlands of Iceland. When you explore the surrounding places of the Þjófafoss waterfall, you will find Fossabrekkur waterfalls located only 4 minutes drive away. Another hidden gem that not many travelers are aware of.
If you are driving the Golden Circle, you will of course come across Þingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir. We also recommend that you relax in Laugarvatn Fontana, a great natural spa located on the Golden Circle.
If you adventure lovers, you will find a lot of marked hiking routes to make the trip memorable.
How To Get There
Þjófafoss waterfall can be accessed from both sides although there is a huge distance between access to the north side and the south side. It is impossible to cross the river by the waterfall. Access to the south side is comparatively easier and it also provides a better view of the waterfall. If you are driving on the Ring Road 1 in the southern region in Iceland, take a turn towards route 26 between Selfoss town and Hella village. Drive for around 45 kilometers north on the same route. You will find a sign for Þjófafoss waterfall. From the signboard, the drive to the parking space is about four kilometers.