#skogar

Skógar is a tiny hamlet on the south shore of Iceland right by the Ring Road.  Although best known in Iceland for most of the 20th century for its regional primary and middle school serving the surrounding rural area, today it is mostly recognized for the stunning waterfall Skógafoss. The waterfall is one of the best-known landmarks in Iceland and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. Skógar also was one of the first places in Iceland offering a hotel accommodation for tourists during summer like most district schools, at that time.  It was quite common that the dormitory was used as a hotel during the summer season. Like the building at Skógar, the School buildings and dormitory were beautiful well designed and good buildings. It is still a hotel, but now an all year round as both communication and the educational system has changed in Iceland.

A one of a kind museum and another waterfall

For many reasons the small hamlet Skógar and Skógafoss waterfall has developed into a large-scale tourist attraction in Iceland.  The whole area is stunning with the waterfall, green hills and the glacier in the background. Skógar also has a long history of interest among visitors and tourists offering accommodation long before others in the rural area in Iceland.  The popular hiking trail Fimmvörðuháls, leading between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull glacier and Mýrdalsjökull glacier to Þórsmörk, starts at Skógar.  There is also another waterfall Kvernufoss in the neighborhood becoming increasingly popular. But last but not least is the Skógar cultural and heritage museum where you can see local artifacts related to the living conditions in Iceland for many centuries.  It is one of the most interesting museums in Iceland and opens all year round.

Access to Skógar is as simple as it gets in Iceland

If you are driving on the Ring Road Skógar and Skógafoss is almost impossible to miss.  The waterfall and the hamlet are quite visible from the Road Nr. 1.  It is located between the village of Hvolsvöllur and Vík at the west end of Sólheimasandur.  Anyone visiting Skógar should take the time to visit Kvernufoss waterfall and the museum.  Skógar also has excellent accommodation, a great camping site and wonderful hiking trails up the hill by Skógarfoss waterfall. 

Skógar is a tiny hamlet on the south shore of Iceland right by the Ring Road

In a walking distance, east of the famous waterfall Skógafoss in the Southern Region in Iceland is a beautiful waterfall that few people visit. The name of the waterfall is Kvernufoss, and it is about 40 meters high.  Although the waterfall is visible from a narrow-angle from the main road, it is almost hidden in a beautiful gorge. The fall is in the river Kverná tracing its origin to the south slopes of Eyjafjallajokull, and the gorge also bears the name Kvernugorge or Kvernugil.  Not only is the waterfall beautiful but also the narrow gorge. The path to the waterfall is only about 600 meters.  It is a joy to walk as the whole surrounding becomes a bit isolated and quiet as you approach the waterfall. It is a combination of palagonite cliffs, rocks, and vegetation. 

Seljalandsfoss little sister

The waterfall bears many similarities to the famous Seljalandsfoss and could easily be its little sister. Like the famous Seljalandsfoss, you can also walk behind this waterfall although everything is smaller and more narrow. The walk behind and near the waterfall is quite slippery, and attention is needed along with good hiking shoes.  It is not an easy walk and might not be wise in the winter unless equipped with ice spikes.  But for serious photographers, it is an excellent challenge. Because of the narrow gorge, the best time of day to take photos would be in the middle of the day if the sky is clear.  This way you get rid of the sharp shadow. 

Access is easy and simple

Access to Kvernufoss is quite simple as it is located a few hundred meters from the Ring Road Nr. 1. If you drive to Skógar and Skógafoss, the best option is to skip the turn to Skógafoss after turning from the Ring Road north towards Skógar and head to the Skógar museum. From the parking lot at the museum, you walk to the east over the fence and onto an almost unclear path as this is not a mainstream tourist attraction.  This route will take you to the gorge and from there it is impossible to miss the waterfall Kvernufoss.

Below is the location of Kvernufoss on the map of Iceland

Kvernufoss bears many similarities to the famous Seljalandsfoss and could easily be its little sister

Fimmvörðuháls, the Five Cairn Ridge, is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland.  Although quite challenging, and even dangerous, many Icelanders and visitors walk this 22 km and 1000 meter high track every summer. Obviously, it has something to offer.  It is a spectacular hike with stunning views and many natural wonders: waterfalls, craters, canyons, glaciers and breathtaking landscape.   In 2010, a small eruption started on the track almost by the most challenging part of the track, Heljarkambur or Crest of Hell.

Most of the hikers walk from the well-known waterfall Skógarfoss to Þórsmörk. At the peak, the track is on the east side of Eyjafjallajokull and west side of Mýrdalsjökull.  Both glaciers house powerful volcanos that can erupt with short notice.  Even the most notorious volcano in Iceland's history as well as geological history, Katla in Mýrdalsjökull, has been due for a long time. 

In 1970, a group of eleven hikers started the trail in good weather determined to walk to Þórsmörk. There was nothing exceptionally unusual about the weather or the condition.  On the top near Heljarkambur, a severe weather hit the mountain and three of the hikers became exhausted and died within hours.  The rest of the group made it to Básar in Þórsmörk with enormous hardship and difficulties.  The story is a constant reminder of the unpredictable weather that two glaciers can produce. It is also a reminder of the necessity to prepare to hike over Fimmvörðuháls thoroughly and take all the percussion possible. 

The track is only accessible from late May until September and is only for highly trained and experienced hikers at any other time of the year.   

Although quite challenging, and even dangerous, many Icelanders and visitors walk Fimmvörðuháls 22 km and 1000 meter high track every summer.