Sjavarfoss (Fossarrett)

Hvalfjordur, West Region (Vesturland) / Capital Region (Höfuðborgarsvæði), Iceland

About Sjavarfoss (Fossarrett)

Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2007-06-21
Date last visited: 2021-08-05

Waterfall Latitude: 64.35311
Waterfall Longitude: -21.45193

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Sjavarfoss (Sjávarfoss; pronounced “SHAU-var-foss”; labeled as “Fossa” on our map) was an unexpected waterfall we noticed while driving along Hvalfjörður on the way to Glymur.

Despite its fairly small size (by Iceland standards), it got our attention enough that we took the time to pull over and walk towards it.

Sjavarfoss_010_06212007 - Sjávarfoss

Upon doing that, we noticed there appeared to be ruins (or at least some maze of rocks) near the car park as well as lots of wildflowers fronting the falls.

Although there was a sign nearby the car park describing what we were seeing on our first visit back in June 2007, I wasn’t fluent enough in Icelandic to be able to read it and make sense of it.

Nonetheless, the site certainly looked historical and important, and on our second visit in August 2021, there was an actual trail that went over a (slippery) semi-circular bridge and among the ruins.

If indeed, this place held some historical significance, then it would certainly add even more to this waterfall’s intrigue.

Sjavarfoss_022_06212007 - Some kind of organized ruins or piles of rocks near Sjávarfoss that looked historical, but I wasn't sure if that was indeed the case
Some kind of organized ruins or piles of rocks near Sjávarfoss that looked historical, but I wasn’t sure if that was indeed the case

After all, it would beg the question why the structures were there in the first place, and how would the waterfall be used?

Mixing waterfalls and history didn’t seem to be commonplace, and perhaps they might even have a saga for it.

In any case, according to my GPS logs, we only needed to walk around 200m to the base of the waterfall from the pullout, which is now a car park with a picnic area (see directions below).


Sjavarfoss resides in the Southern Region near Akranes, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Hvalfjarðarsveit. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

Sjavarfoss_001_08042021 - When I took my Mom to the Sjávarfoss waterfall in August 2021, I noticed this sign that definitely wasn't there before  Was Sjávarfoss now called Fossárétt (Waterfall Fold or Waterfall Pen, according to my Icelandic dictionary)?
Sjavarfoss_003_08042021 - Context of Sjávarfoss backed by some rainy weather further towards the head of the fjord
Sjavarfoss_007_08042021 - Mom approaching the semi-circular bridge fronting the ruins before Sjávarfoss during our 2021 visit
Sjavarfoss_011_08042021 - Closer look at the rock-stacked corrals fronting Sjávarfoss
Sjavarfoss_013_08042021 - Mom getting closer to the base of Sjávarfoss
Sjavarfoss_018_08042021 - Context of Mom checking out Sjávarfoss
Sjavarfoss_021_08042021 - Broad look across the front of Sjávarfoss
Sjavarfoss_031_08042021 - Frontal view of Sjávarfoss right from its base
Sjavarfoss_038_08042021 - More angled look across the base of Sjávarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Sjavarfoss_043_08042021 - Context of Mom heading back to the car after having had her fill of Sjávarfoss
Sjavarfoss_044_08042021 - Looking further up the small valley towards some cliffs backing the old corrals at Sjávarfoss
Sjavarfoss_015_06212007 - The short grassy 'trail' leading past the ruins and closer to the Sjávarfoss waterfall
Sjavarfoss_005_06212007 - Context of some purple wildflowers fronting the stream and the Sjávarfoss waterfall
Sjavarfoss_006_06212007 - Yellow flowers before Sjavarfoss
Sjavarfoss_013_06212007 - More purple flowers blooming before Sjavarfoss
Sjavarfoss_011_06212007 - Contextual view of Sjavarfoss from the river

While driving on Route 47 along Hvalfjörður towards Glymur, it was about 12km east of the turnoff for Route 48.

Alternatively, if coming the other way, it’s roughly 7km west of the turnoff for Glymur.

Sjavarfoss_004_08042021 - Looking back at the context of the car park and picnic table for Sjávarfoss
Looking back at the context of the car park and picnic table for Sjávarfoss

This drive was roughly under an hour northeast of Reykjavik.

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Exploring the area around the base of Sjavarfoss

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Tagged with: hvalfjordur, west region, vesturland, iceland, waterfall, reykjavik, paddock, kjos

Visitor Comments:

Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...

Sjavarfoss May 15, 2013 9:45 pm by Anne Marie - I was told by our Icelandic guide this ruins were just coral fences, used to keep the sheep inside after the round up in autumn. Today they use modern corals, so this abandoned one looks like some archeological remain. The only thing I wonder is how they get the sheep there since it is surrounded… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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