Stjórnarfoss Waterfall | The Hidden Waterfall in South Iceland


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Iceland is home to countless sites and scenic spots for nature lovers. Though it is difficult to visit them all, with time on your hands, a little waterfall that holds a spectacular scene is the Stjórnarfoss Waterfall. A rustic wonder found in Kleifar, close to the small town Kirkjubæjarklaustur of southern Iceland, the Stjórnarfoss Waterfall is one among the many marvels of Iceland. The striking waterfall can capture the eye from a distance despite its short height and petite form. Though structurally unique and different from the conventional ‘waterfall’ edifice, Stjórnarfoss makes a peaceful and scenic view for tourists and a popular relaxing spot for localities. As compared to the myriad of Iceland’s grand waterfall, this one falls short on the stature, but not on beauty – it can easily become the set of a movie without a second thought. 

Known to be a land of significant volcanic activity, Iceland displays many breathtaking views of volcanic rocks, just as the backdrop of Stjórnarfoss. With a rounded structure, the waterfall is set among a stunning landscape of volcanic rocks, cliffs, and green slopes, making one of the most picturesque views perfect for photography enthusiasts. From the aesthetic view to easy accessibility, there is no reason why a small detour to this humble waterfall will not add charm to your trip.

Stjórnarfoss waterfall - Kirkjubæjarklaustur South Iceland

The waterfall is about 10-15 meters high and rather wide, sitting low among taller structures to create a mesmerizing scene. The entirety of the view is difficult to capture, but another sloping tier over the main rounded drop can be seen from a distance, with water rolling down. A curtain of many narrow water streams cascades down the rock formation into a small, flat pool of water. The water is scarce in ratio to the huge volcanic rocks and cliffs but does not cease to make a quaint, yet scenic sight to please onlookers.

A faint path can be seen winding towards the foot of the waterfall, providing an easy, few-minute passage for a closer view. It starts next to a camping site near the bridge, over the waterfall stream. The camping area seems to be adjacent to the falls, and can easily be crossed. Visitors enjoy hiking near the riverbed to reach the base of the falls. At the base the best shots may not be accessible if you are a photographer, so capture your perfect shots as you head towards the waterfall. Whether for photography projects, camping, taking a small detour, or just for stretching your legs during a long drive, Stjórnarfoss makes a beautiful stay, and is worth the stop!

You can find another campsite in Kirkjubæjarklaustur that is more modern and includes more facilities. but the campsite in Kleifar, next to Stjórnarfoss waterfall is in our opinion more charming. On good weather summer days, locals love to go and swim in the waterfall. 

Stjórnarfoss waterfall - Kirkjubæjarklaustur South Iceland

How to Reach Stjórnarfoss Waterfall

The Stjórnarfoss Waterfall is easily accessible just off of the popularly known Ring Road. The isolated area may become confusing to locate among the system of roads right near the falls, but if you navigate well, you’ll get there easily.

If you head east on the ring road, you will notice a signboard indicating a road to Geirland, also known as road 203. Turn right on road 203 and once passed, you will end up at a gas station near a roundabout. Head a short distance of about 0.5 miles, down Road 203. You will be able to spot the spectacular falls from a distance and once your cross the bridge over the river, you will land directly in a parking area for the campsite. You can now park your vehicle and decide how you wish to approach the falls for a closer view.

If you have routed your trip otherwise and are about to reach the little village Kirkjubæjarklaustur, take a left turn onto Road 203.  Simply drive that road to an end and you will notice the waterfall right away.

Though there is a possibility that you may have the Stjórnarfoss Waterfall all to yourself as there are not many people around, its natural beauty is preserved and makes a magnificent spot to enjoy the landscape.

Stjórnarfoss waterfall - Kirkjubæjarklaustur South Iceland

Stjórnarfoss waterfall on a map

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