Gljúfrabúi waterfall hidden behind cliff rock in south Iceland.

Fun facts about Iceland: #knowIceland

Iceland is a totally unique country filled with beautiful waterfalls, mighty rivers and even active volcanoes! Keep reading to learn some unique facts about Iceland.

Want to know more about our Nordic island? Here are a few fun facts about Iceland, specifically all the top spots nearby Hotel Rangá. What’s more, we regularly post facts about Iceland under the hashtag #knowIceland on our Instagram page.


Gljúfrabúi waterfall by Matt Cass

Check out @hotelranga on Instagram for more facts about Iceland, and look for our hashtag #knowIceland.

Woman stands behind Kvernufoss waterfall in south Iceland.
Kvernufoss is a “hidden” waterfall that is off the beaten path. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir.

Waterfalls and volcanoes

  • Seljalandsfoss waterfall is not the south coast’s only waterfall you can walk behind. You’ll find Kvernufoss, one of Iceland’s hidden gems, a short hike from Route 1.
  • Speaking of Seljalandsfoss, its cliffs of are believed to have formed Iceland’s coastline, once upon a time.
  • One of our neighboring volcanoes, Hekla, shares her name with almost 500 Icelandic women.
Skógafoss waterfall in south Iceland.
Skógafoss waterfall is only 45 minutes from Hotel Rangá. Photograph by Paige Deasley.

Fun facts about Iceland: Glaciers, vikings and treasure

  • Iceland proudly boasts the largest glacier in the world outside of the Arctic, Vatnajökull.
  • Legend has it the first Viking settler in the Skógarfoss area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. Locals found the treasure chest years later but when they grasped it, the handle came off so the treasure disappeared back into the waterfall. The tale about Þrasi Þórólfsson is one of many folktales in our coloring book.
Columns of basalt at the black sand beach at Reynisfjara in south Iceland.
The black sand beach at Reynisfjara is bordered by columnar basalt.

Iceland’s black sand beaches

  • Have you heard the story of the spindly rock formation Reynisdrangar? They are actually trolls who were dragging three ships ashore when they got caught by the sunrise and turned into stone.
  • In 1973, a DC-3 airplane crashed on Sólheimasandur beach. The cause of the crash is unclear but some sources suggest the plane simply ran out of fuel after the pilot switched to the wrong fuel tank. Fortunately, everyone on board survived the impact.
Háifoss waterfall during sunset in south Iceland.
Háifoss waterfall is 122 meters (400 feet) tall. Photo by Stefan Liebermann.

Tall waterfalls and deep lakes

  • Háifoss, one of our beautiful neighbors, is the third tallest waterfall in Iceland.
  • Háifoss actually used to be called Fossárfoss before it got its name in 1912. Fossárfoss literally translates to “waterfall-river-waterfall”.
  • Recently Jökulsárlón became the deepest lake in Iceland, at over 248 metres (814 ft), as glacial retreat extended its boundaries.
  • The stairs beside Skógafoss waterfall has 183 steps. The view from the top is spectacular, particularly under the midnight sun in summer and spring.
The Krossá River winds between mountains in the Þórsmörk Valley.
The Krossá River winds between mountains in the Þórsmörk Valley.

Fun facts about Iceland: Inspired by powerful nature

  • Nestled between three glaciers on the south coast of Iceland is Þórsmörk valley. Þórsmörk is one of the most popular places to go hiking in Iceland because of the incredible scenery and powerful nature.
  • The architecture of Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavik was inspired by the basalt columns of Svartifoss waterfall, which is located in Skaftafell.

We frequently share fun facts about Iceland on our social media with the hashtag #knowIceland. Find @hotelranga on social media and join our community.

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    A glass of red and white wine beside a vase of lupine at the luxury Rangá Restaurant.