Skagi / Skagafjörður, Northwest Region, Iceland

Rating: 4     Difficulty: 1.5
The beautiful seaside waterfall at Ketubjörg
Ketubjorg (more accurately Ketubjörg; pronounced "KET-oo-byurg") mesmerized us with its 120m cliff dive going right into where Skagafjörður met the North Atlantic Ocean (well, almost due to the fallen rocks at its base). Actually, I am not sure whether this name refers to the waterfall or the cliff in Skagi supporting nesting birds. Nonetheless, this ocean-feeding waterfall reminded us a lot like a much bigger and more rugged version of McWay Falls in California albeit with a little less color.

Since we were literally on cliffs dropping right into the ocean, we saw lots of birds flying about against the frigid winds as if they were hovering in the air both beside us as well as between us and the falls. They really added to the memorable scene as did the many wildflowers blooming on the grassy plateau, which added a little more color to the mostly blackened cliffs and dark waters under the overcast skies.

From the signpost for Ketubjörg (see directions below), we climbed over a stile before walking onto trailless grassy bluffs that rolled and undulated before abruptly ending at the sheer dropoffs into the sea. This was where we were able to get distant views of the waterfall, but we had to be careful not to get too close to the cliff edges given the potential for instability in the cliffs.

While the view of the falls seemed a bit distant from our vantage point, we were still able to have a satisfactory viewing experience without the need for a telephoto lens. Even though we didn't do it, we probably could have scrambled a little more around these coastal bluffs to view the waterfall from different angles and possibly even venture out closer to the top of the waterfall itself.

Overall, we spent roughly 45 minutes away from the car, and this included all the time we spent just enjoying the scenery and watching the birds hover in the sky against the Arctic winds.

Directions: From Blönduós, we headed about 1.6km east of town along the Ring Road (Route 1) turning left onto Route 74. We followed Route 74 for about 7km turning right onto Route 744. Then, we followed Route 744 for about 21km before turning left onto Route 745. We followed Route 745 north for about 26km to a small pullout with a signpost and stile nearby indicating Ketubjorg.

It's also possible to come here from Akureyri, but that would involve driving west for 91km on Ring Road (Route 1) getting off on Route 75 at Varmahlið. Then, follow Route 75 for about 25km as it eventually joins with Route 744. Then, turn left onto route 744 and follow it for about 18km, then turn right onto Route 745 to take it for the remaining 26km to the stile and signpost at Ketubjorg.

By the way, on the latter route between Ketubjorg and Akureyri, we stumbled upon Glaumbær, which were interesting turf farms as well as an exhibit. Glaumbær was along Route 75 about 7km northwest of the Ring Road junction at Varmahlið.

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Closer look at Ketubjörg plunging off the cliff into the fjord and ocean below
About 7km northwest of the Ring Road at Varmahlið (63km from Ketubjörg) are the turf farms at Glaumbær
When we left Ketubjörg and eventually returned to the Ring Road, we were headed to Akureyri where we passed through Öxnadalur, which was memorable for its jagged peaks
Unsealed Route 745 along SkagafjörðurUnsealed Route 745 along Skagafjörður

This beautiful Icelandic horse didn't feel like moving out of the wayThis beautiful Icelandic horse didn't feel like moving out of the way

Sign and stileSign and stile

After walking on some grassy hills, we arrived at the edge of the cliffs which dropped right into the fjord and/or the oceanAfter walking on some grassy hills, we arrived at the edge of the cliffs which dropped right into the fjord and/or the ocean

A bird flying by one of the blooming flowers in the Arctic windA bird flying by one of the blooming flowers in the Arctic wind

Wildflowers before the falls at KetubjörgWildflowers before the falls at Ketubjörg

Julie sits and contemplates the scene at the falls at KetubjörgJulie sits and contemplates the scene at the falls at Ketubjörg

Last look at the falls at KetubjörgLast look at the falls at Ketubjörg

A turf farms almost blending into the ground at GlaumbaerA turf farms almost blending into the ground at Glaumbaer

Another look at the turf farms at GlaumbaerAnother look at the turf farms at Glaumbaer

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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