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Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 9:00am by Lolo
80 miles and 1.75 hours from our last stop


Seljandafoss before the crowdsSeljandafoss before the crowdsReykjavik had been great, but we were anxious to set out on our journey along the Ring Road. We decided to go in a counter-clockwise direction, which meant we would be doing the highly touristed sections along the Southern Coast first before getting to the quieter and more remote Eastern, Northern, and Western sections of the island.

SeljandafossSeljandafossSo today, we would see two beautiful waterfalls and a lovely black sand beach with basalt columns and sea stacks off the coast before settling in for the night in a campground in Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland

Our first stop along the Ring Road was Seljalandsfoss, just 1 hour and 40 minutes from Reykjavik, so you have to get here early to beat the tour buses. As you can see from me being the only one on the trail, our 9:00 arrival was good enough to get the falls to ourselves, if only for a brief period.

The most distinguishing feature of Seljalandsfoss is a pathway that stretches from the front of the waterfall around to the back, where there is a cave-like rocky overhang where you can see through the falls.

Behind the fallsBehind the fallsIt’s very wet back there, but fortunately we had on rain pants and rain jackets. I, however, had no protection for my phone, so I had to let Herb be in charge of behind the waterfall photos.

The source of this lovely waterfall is the river Seljalandsá, which has its origins underneath the glacier Eyjafjallajökull. This is the glacier that erupted in 2010, sending a plume of volcanic ash over 9 km into the sky, disrupting air travel across all of Western Europe for almost a month. Volcanic activity is a real thing in Iceland, sort of like hurricanes are in Florida, and wildfires in California, a natural disaster that people have learned to live with.

Another interesting fact is that the tall cliff that the waterfalls flows over once marked the country's coastline. The sea is now located across a stretch of lowlands visible from the waterfall.

So, we learned our first Icelandic word today: "foss," which means waterfall, and there are over 10,000 fosses in Iceland. With a population of only 372,000 people that means there is a waterfall for every 37 people. Imagine that in the U.S.

Oh, and one last fun fact. This waterfall, along with a multitude of South Iceland’s most famous natural attractions, can be seen in Justin Bieber’s music video for his song ‘I’ll Show You’.

Next stop - Skogafoss.

Seljalandsfoss location map in "high definition"

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