I cannot get over the abundance of waterfalls in the southern part of Iceland. We drive along the road and pass waterfall after waterfall streaming down the sides of mountains. At the base of nearly every one is a house with sheep and fluffy little lambs hopping about. Each household has its own private waterfall.
Nearly every one of these waterfalls would be an attraction that draws tourists any other place. Here, there are so many they become commonplace. “Look, another waterfall. And another. And another.” Only the big dramatic ones have parking lots. Which of course, we visited.
The first one we went to was Seljalandsfoss. It’s a 20 minute drive from our Airbnb, but because there are no trees here and our house is on a hill, we can see the fall in the distance from the deck out front. The Photographing Iceland book I bought before our trip warned that you will get wet when you visit this fall and walk around behind it. I reminded the family over and over to bring raincoats, extra shoes and socks, and clothes they don’t mind getting wet. Guess who forgot their raincoat? Yep, me. Luckily it was sunny and warm on our first visit, and I did remember a towel for my camera, so even though I got wet, I wasn’t miserable, and my camera stayed dry. Plus, we saw rainbows!
Within a 1 minute walk of the big fall, which dropped about 60 meters (200 feet), were three smaller waterfalls, lush green grass, and happy yellow flowers.
Just beyond those, another 1-2 minutes along the path, is a hidden fall, Gljufrabui, that drops through a hollow in the rock. Its name means “gorge dweller,” and the fall is tucked away behind a curtain of rock. To see the water drop, you hop along wet stones (or wade) through a stream under an arch in the hillside, which takes you into a hollowed out column full of spray and the thunder of splash. Inside, you can look up 40 meters (130 feet) to see sky through the hole in the mountainside and watch the water cascade down into the mossy cave. It was super wet in there and I didn’t get any pictures because my lens instantly misted up, but this site has some pretty cool photos.
Even closer to our Airbnb is another fall, Gluggafoss, that we happened on when we tried a different route home one day. Unlike Seljalandsfoss, which had restrooms, a coffee stand, and a parking lot full of visitors, Gluggafoss just has an informational sign and space for a few cars to park. There was one person on his way out when we pulled in, so we had the fall to ourselves for as long as we wanted to stay; nobody else arrived while we were there.