Iceland, Day 5: Vík and Skógafoss

Most of our day 5 was spent on and around the coastal highway (Route 1). We headed south-west from Skaftafell, and our first stop was the village of Vík í Mýrdal.

Village of Vík í Mýrdal

Vík í Mýrdal (often referred to just as Vík) is located at the southern tip of Iceland, just beneath the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The glacier sits on the top of Katla volcano which gets active from time to time. Last time it erupted about a hundred years ago, and the next eruption is expected to happen anytime soon. This could result in melting of a part of the glacier, which would cause a flash flood in Vík í Mýrdal. In anticipation of such event the residents are prepared in case of emergency to head up the hill to the local church which is located high enough to be safe from a flood.

Church in Vík í Mýrdal

The coast around Vík is quite picturesque, with beaches of dark volcanic sand and rock formations.

Coastline at Vík í Mýrdal

Our next stop was the Skógá River further west on the coast. This river is famous for its multiple cascading waterfalls, especially the last one, Skógafoss. It is one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland. The drop is ~60 m (~200 ft).

Skógafoss Waterfall

Skógafoss is popular among sightseers. It is located close to the coastal highway. There is a large parking lot next to it, and it is almost always full.

There is a trail that starts at the waterfall and heads up the Skógá river. A few hundred stairs at the beginning of the trail take one to the observation deck at the top of the fall

From the observation deck the trail goes up and follows the river. An hour long round trip along this trail covers countless waterfalls of varying shape and size. It was the most spectacular riverside hike I ever had:

Hiking up Skógá River
A 2 hour hike (red) up and down the Skógá River.
Click on the image for the GPS track and for interactive map.

Our last stop was the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, yet further west down the coast. Seljalandsfoss is another amazing waterfall, with the drop about 60 m / 200 ft, and is one of the most visited and photographed falls in the country.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Related galleries: Iceland, South Coast of Iceland

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