Visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall in Iceland: What to Expect + Review

Note to my fellow wanderers: This guide was written from my first-hand experiences. I try my best not to over-glamorize any location I travel to because I want HappyWander’s content to be as authentic as possible. My goal is to provide you real information so that you can have the best possible adventures wandering the world. Enjoy!

If you’re looking for a beautiful walk-behind waterfall that doesn’t get as much glory (which means, considerably less people) as nearby Seljalandsfoss, Kvernufoss waterfall is a great option. Tucked away in a hidden gorge, this enchanting waterfall offers a more secluded and tranquil atmosphere compared to its more famous counterparts. In this mini guide, I’ll review everything you need to know about visiting Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.

Essentials For Visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall in Iceland

In this section I highlight everything you need to know about visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall.

Why Visit Kvernufoss Waterfall?

Why visit Kvernufoss Waterfall, anyway? At 98 feet tall, Kvernufoss is a hidden gem that is tucked back inside a canyon, yet is easily accessible from Route 1. If you’re trying to check the best waterfalls in Iceland off your list, you won’t want to miss Kvernufoss. I personally enjoyed being able to see the waterfall from a distance in the canyon as you approach it rather than just “being there” up close. The delay of having to walk towards it increases the excitement.

Do You Need to Hike to Kvernufoss Waterfall?

The short answer is no, you do not need to hike to Kvernufoss Waterfall. The reason I say “no” to Kvernufoss Waterfall being a hike is that it’s very close to the parking area. The total “hike” walk is roughly 1 mile with minimal elevation (under 200 feet), on a gravel path with grates mostly along the way. It’s too easy and too short to be a hike, but that’s just my opinion!

When is the Best Time to Visit?

You can visit Kvernufoss Waterfall anytime of the year. I visited in May, which seemed to be a great time before things get too busy in Iceland. However, while the landscape was starting to turn green, it still was coming out of its winter freeze. The summer would be a beautiful time to visit Kvernufoss Waterfall, and the winter too for different reasons. However, it is too icy and dangerous to walk behind Kvernufoss Waterfall in the winter.

What Clothing Should I Wear?

I would recommend wearing layers, with your outer layer being waterproof. You can expect to get wet when walking around Kvernufoss Waterfall, especially on a windy day (still, it’s totally worth walking to the side and behind). I’d also recommend waterproof hiking shoes with good traction, as the elements near the waterfall may be slippery. 

Where to Park?

Parking for Kvernufoss Waterfall is conveniently located off of Route 1. Just before reaching Guesthouse Kverna, take a right turn, which will take you to the Skogar Museum, where you can park your vehicle. Here is the Google map:

Here’s the address: GGG5+3X5, 861 Evindarhólar, Iceland

The actual parking lot is spacious and easy to find a spot. Unless it’s extremely busy, you can expect to find a spot here.

Cost to Visit

The cost to visit is 750 ISK, or a little more than 5 USD per car. You can pay using the Parka app, which is commonly used across many destinations in Iceland.

How Long Do I Need Here?

The answer to this question is quite subjective, but I spent less than 1 hour at Kvernufoss Waterfall, which included parking, paying for parking, walking 1 mile total, and taking some photos and videos around the waterfall.

How Far is Kvernufoss Waterfall from Reykjavik?

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is less than a 2 hour drive from downtown Reykjavik (approximately 128 kilometers). Kvernufoss Waterfall often gets overlooked because it’s right down the street from a few of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland, Gljúfrabúi Waterfall and Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

My Experience at Kvernufoss Waterfall

In this section, I will review my experience visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall and what you can expect.

Driving to Kvernufoss Waterfall

Kvernufoss Waterfall is very close to Route 1. Driving from West to East Iceland, I first went and viewed Gljúfrabúi and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, which are very close by on the same backroads. After experiencing those beauties, I headed towards Kvernufoss Waterfall, which is less than a 5 minute drive away. It’s quite a simple drive over with minimal traffic.

Parking Lot

The parking lot is large enough, and compared to Gljúfrabúi and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, there were way less people. You will, unfortunately, have to pay 750 ISK via a website listed on a sign at the entrance of the path. 

Walk to Kvernufoss Waterfall

The walk from the parking lot to Kvernufoss Waterfall is very short, around 1/2 mile. It takes 10-15 minutes to walk to it from the parking lot. You can expect a good portion of the walkway to be gravel with grates, which makes walking super easy:

However there are portions of this trail with just gravel, which still makes for a very easy walk:

The walk is not far, so in a few minutes the canyon will straighten and you’ll see this beauty:

Kvernufoss really is an impressive waterfall that gets very little hype in Iceland. Anywhere else (such as in the Appalachian Mountains near me), this waterfall would be a main attraction:

Walking Behind Kvernufoss

On your approach towards the back side of Kvernufoss, you will most likely get very wet towards the side of the falls if there is any amount of wind happening:

Once you get behind Kvernufoss, you’ll appreciate the power it brings and hopefully appreciate being present in an absolutely beautiful moment. Behind Kvernufoss Waterfall in Iceland

Is Kvernufoss Waterfall Worth Visiting?

Personally, I thought Kvernufoss was a hidden gem of a waterfall that doesn’t get much hype. Some of the major selling points of Kvernufoss Waterfall for me were:

  • Walking Behind: Similar to the famous Seljalandsfoss, Kvernufoss waterfall allows you to walk behind it. In contrast, you won’t be able to walk all the way around it like at Seljalandsfoss.
  • Less Busy: The great thing about having less hype than some of the nearby waterfalls is that there are less people. While I do love people, it’s nice to be in nature with less of them.
  • The Approach: I thoroughly enjoyed that the waterfall was tucked back in a canyon, which made you approach it from a distance. While Seljalandsfoss is great, it is right in front of the parking lot with no build up, no excitement from approaching from afar. They say the best things in life take time, and this waterfall builds on that idea.

Here are some of the things I didn’t love:

  • Paid Parking: This is not uncommon in Iceland, unfortunately. Most scenic spots require paying for parking.

Kvernufoss Waterfall in Iceland

Overall Score

So is visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall worth it? Absolutely! This mini adventure takes less than an hour or so, so why not check it off your list?

I give this adventure an 8 / 10.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall in Iceland

Thank you for joining me on my adventure at Kvernufoss Waterfall! I hope you found this information helpful for planning your Iceland itinerary. Kvernufoss Waterfall is an underrated gem. if you skipped some of the more well-known waterfalls and only saw this one, you’d think it was an AMAZING waterfall. Even after seeing the more famous waterfalls, I still enjoyed Kvernufoss, and I think you will too.

Happy wandering!

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Hello! Welcome to HappyWanders! My name is Anthony, I'm on a mission to live a life full of adventure and to help you to do the same. As an ex-corporate worker and current entrepreneur, I've been working to design a life with more time for adventure and less time for the 9-5 grind. If you're ready for an adventure, you're my type of person!

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