Top 10 Waterfalls in South Iceland - Hotel Rangá

Top 10 Waterfalls in South Iceland

Iceland is famous for its collection of stunning waterfalls, and Hotel Rangá is perfectly located for waterfall exploration. We have selected our top 10 favorite waterfalls in South Iceland. Many of these waterfalls are easy to access via rental car and most require only a short walk.

Skógafoss waterfall is only a 45 minutes drive from Hotel Rangá

Because many of our employees are locals in the area and we work with almost all official luxury travel service providers in Iceland we at Hotel Rangá have authority when it comes to choosing the most unique places to visit in South Iceland. This time we are sharing with you our top 10 waterfalls to visit in South Iceland, some are hidden gems and others well-known, but we believe they should all make it to your Iceland Travel Bucket list.

1 Árbæjarfoss Waterfall

Árbæjarfoss Waterfall is only a 12-minute drive from Hotel Rangá in South Iceland, 1 hour and 30-minute drive from the capital Reykjavik. The road is not paved, so it is necessary that you take a 4×4 vehicle. As you drive, you will have a great view of the volcano Hekla, one of Iceland´s most powerful volcanoes.From the parking lot, there is a short and easy walk—approximately 7 minutes—to the waterfall. You might notice concrete walls on the side of the waterfall—this is a salmon ladder, a series of steps designed to enable salmon to bypass the waterfall and move upstream to their breeding grounds. 

 

We created a Instagram story on Árbæjarfoss waterfall which you can find on our profile @hotelranga. We also shared this same video to our YouTube Channel for travelers that do not use Instagram.


2 Gljúfrabúi Waterfall

The waterfall Gljúfrabúi is a 23-minute drive from Hotel Rangá and located just off the main Ring Road that runs around Iceland. We highly recommend that you bring waterproof shoes or boots to visit this waterfall, as you must wade through a stream to access the falls.

 

 

When the water level is low, there are stepping stones that you can use to keep dry; however, if the water level is high, you might get a bit wet. After you travel along the stream into an opening in the cliff face, you will see the waterfall Gljúfrabúi.

The sight is truly incredible—water cascades from above as you stand below surrounded by walls of stone.


3 Gluggafoss Waterfall

Gluggafoss Waterfall is just a short 23-minute drive from Hotel Rangá. To access the waterfall, take Ring Road 1 until you reach Road 261 at the village of Hvolsvöllur in South Iceland. Drive 20 km until you reach the waterfall which is well-marked with a sign.

 

Gluggafoss waterfall in Fljótshlíð Valley, South Iceland
Gluggafoss waterfall in Fljótshlíð Valley, South Iceland

From the parking lot, there is a short and easy hike until you reach the waterfall. First, you reach the lower waterfall and will notice a small path to view the waterfall from behind.

 

We have helped organize weddings for adventures couples at Gljúfrabúi Waterfall, for pictures we recommend our blog post: Picturesque Weddings in the South of Iceland

 

You can also access the higher waterfall where you will see that the river has created several holes in the rock, making “windows” where the water flows through. This is how the waterfall gets its name, as the Icelandic word Gluggi means window.

 


4 Skógafoss Waterfall

Skógafoss is located approximately 45 minutes from Hotel Rangá by car. The waterfall is just off Road 1 and is very easy to access. From the parking lot, there is a short and easy hike to the waterfall. We recommend that you bring a raincoat, as the power of the falls produces a lot of spray—and many amazing rainbows.
Don´t forget to check out our Waterfall Wednesday posts on Instagram @hotelranga

According to an old Icelandic folktale there is treasure hidden behind the waterfall; however, we don´t recommend that you go looking for it! If you want to view the falls from another perspective, climb the 370-step staircase on the right-hand side. A small viewing area places you directly over the waterfall, and you will see beautiful views of Iceland´s south coast.

Skógafoss waterfall
Skógafoss waterfall

5 Drífandi Waterfall

To access the waterfall, take Ring Road 1 until you reach Road 261 at the village of Hvolsvöllur. Drive 20 km until you reach the waterfall which is well-marked. From the parking lot there is a short and beautiful hike through a small forest.

On the way, you will pass a statue of the poet Þorsteinn Einarsson (1858-1914), who grew up in this area—the trees were planted in his honor. Drífandi cascades down a small cliff and turns into a lovely stream that flows through the forest. This is a lovely spot to picnic and relax when there is good weather.

 


6 Kvernufoss Waterfall

Kvernufoss waterfall is located only 40 minutes from Hotel Rangá, just off Road 1. First, you must drive past the Skógafoss waterfall and park in front of Skógar museum. There is a short and easy 10-minute walk to the waterfall—the path begins behind the museum where you will cross a small fence.

 

Kvernufoss waterfall
You will walk through a beautiful gorge that leads you to the waterfall which cascades from a cliff into a small pool below. In the summertime, you can even walk behind the waterfall—but only if you bring a raincoat.

7 Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is one of Iceland´s best-known waterfalls because visitors can walk behind the waterfall and see its beauty from an unusual perspective. The waterfall is only a short, 20-minute drive from Hotel Rangá.

Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir

We recommend that you wear good walking shoes and bring a raincoat if you want to walk behind the falls. The view from behind is mesmerizing—you can watch the water pouring down with immense power and speed. If you are lucky, you might even see a rainbow through the spray.

#knowIceland: Speaking of Seljalandsfoss, its cliffs of are believed to have formed Iceland’s coastline, once upon a time.

If you like little facts about Iceland we recommend our #knowIceland blogposts: #knowIceland Fun Facts About Iceland

8 Tungufoss Waterfall

Tungufoss Waterfall is a 20-minute drive from Hotel Rangá. To get to Tungufoss, drive from Hotel Rangá through the village of Hvolsvöllur and take a left on road 261.

Tungufoss Waterfall
Photo by Ingibjorg Fridriksdottir

Then, take the first left onto road 262 Vallarvegur. You will need to cross a river to access the waterfall, so it is important that you drive a 4×4 car and take care as you make the crossing. There is a short and easy hike to the waterfall, just 5 minutes.

The waterfall is truly off the beaten path—the view of clear waters racing past huge river rocks is worth the trek.

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9 Urriðafoss Waterfall

Urriðafoss waterfall is only 20 minutes from Hotel Rangá. To access the waterfall, drive west from Hotel Rangá to the river Þjórsá and you will find a parking lot right off highway 1, just after you cross the river on the left-hand side.

There is a short and easy hike to the viewpoint from the parking area. Even though there are 5 dams in the Þjórsá river—consequently diminishing its volume by up to 50%—Urriðafoss is still the most voluminous waterfall in Iceland.

10 Ægissíðufoss Waterfall

 

Ægissíðufoss waterfall is a beautiful waterfall near the town of Hella. To reach the waterfall, drive west from Hotel Rangá for approximately 8 minutes and turn left onto Route 25 heading south. After about 3 km, you will see a sign for the falls. Drive down the unpaved road to the parking area. From there, you must walk for approximately 1 minute until you will spot the waterfall.

The falls are in the middle of the Rangá River and offer a beautiful vista for visitors. There is a popular fishing spot just below the falls, so if you visit in the summertime you just might see a fisherman landing his catch.

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