Svodufoss

Rif / near Hellissandur / Snæfellsnes Peninsula, West Region, Iceland

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 1
Svöðufoss with Snæfellsjökull as seen from a far distance

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Svodufoss (or more accurately Svöðufoss; I think is pronounced "SVUEW-thoo-foss") looked like a big and interesting waterfall, especially considering it was fronting the Snæfellsjökull ("SNAYE-fells-yuk-ul") Glacier. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to get a better and closer look at this waterfall so I had to settle for the photo you see at the top of this page. I only read after the fact that you're supposed to walk to access the falls, but I recalled seeing many fences erected to mark the surrounding farmlands so it still wasn't clear to me how it would be possible unless there was better signage to figure out how to get closer on foot.

It's interesting to note that the Snæfellsjökull Glacier was the place where the main characters in Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" started their journey. Although we didn't do it, it might be possible to access the glacier via tour (possibly out of the town of Hellissandur to the northwest of the glacier and Svöðufoss waterfall.

Just a kilometer east of Svöðufoss was Hólmskelsárfoss (I previously thought it was Kerlingarfoss). Access was said to be via a real bumpy road, but during our visit, we had trouble getting close to it as well.

While we're on the topic of striking out with these waterfalls, I also couldn't figure out what Svöðufoss meant in Icelandic. However Hólmskelsárfoss may have something to do with "isle", "shells" and "river" (though I'm not totally sure on that one either).




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was the other waterfall about 1km east of Svöðufoss called Hólmskelsárfoss.  As you can see, we weren't very successful finding a way to get closer to this waterfall either.This was the other waterfall about 1km east of Svöðufoss called Hólmskelsárfoss. As you can see, we weren't very successful finding a way to get closer to this waterfall either.
About 28km southwest of Rif is the black-sand beach and bay at Djúpalónssandur.  That white top is the Snæfellsjökull.  The scrap metal came from a trawler that washed ashore here.About 28km southwest of Rif is the black-sand beach and bay at Djúpalónssandur. That white top is the Snæfellsjökull. The scrap metal came from a trawler that washed ashore here.
About 40km west from Rif is the coastal town of Arnarstapi, which is right beneath Mælifell volcano but also features many impressive sea archesAbout 40km west from Rif is the coastal town of Arnarstapi, which is right beneath Mælifell volcano but also features many impressive sea arches
More distant look at both Svöðufoss and SnæfellsjökullMore distant look at both Svöðufoss and Snæfellsjökull

Some sheep wondering what we were doing as we were trying to get closer to SvöðufossSome sheep wondering what we were doing as we were trying to get closer to Svöðufoss

Here's a view of just the glacier SnæfellsjökullHere's a view of just the glacier Snæfellsjökull


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We found this waterfall as we drove between Ólafsvík and Hellissandur as it was visible from the road 574. There was a signposted turnoff a little over 6km west of Ólafsvík then another 3.2km along the rough unpaved road to the distant lookout we had to settle for. The rough unpaved road eventually looped back towards road 574 by the town of Rif (where I also saw a signpost for Svöðufoss pointing towards that rough road).

While driving along the unpaved roads looking for a better way to go to get close to the falls, I was unsuccessful despite repeated attempts and pursuits of various branch roads leaving the rough unpaved loop road.

I also used same the unpaved road to try to get closer to the other waterfall called Hólmskelsárfoss. As you can see from the photo below, we also did not find the proper way (if it exists) to get closer to that waterfall as well.

For some context, Ólafsvík was 64km (about an hour drive) west of the ferry town of Stykkishólmur, 118km (90 minutes drive) northwest of Borgarnes, and 187km (2.5 hours drive) north of Reykjavik.


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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

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




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Amateur Photographer (Svodufoss) 
In 1989 I saw beautiful Svöðufoss waterfall and was amazed. I shot a photo and here it is.

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