Rif / Hellissandur / Snaefellsnes, West Region (Vesturland), Iceland

About Svodufoss

Hiking Distance: roadside (distant view)
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2007-06-23
Date last visited: 2007-06-23

Waterfall Latitude: 64.89494
Waterfall Longitude: -23.81186

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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.

Svodufoss_004_06232007 - Svöðufoss backed by the Snæfellsjökull
Svöðufoss backed by the Snæfellsjökull

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).

Svodufoss_006_06232007 - Hólmskelsárfoss, which was near Svöðufoss, but we couldn't get near this one either
Hólmskelsárfoss, which was near Svöðufoss, but we couldn’t get near this one either

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).


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

Svodufoss_002_06232007 - Another look at both Svöðufoss and Snæfellsjökull
Svodufoss_005_06232007 - 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.
Svodufoss_010_06232007 - More distant look at both Svöðufoss and Snæfellsjökull
Snaefellsnes_036_jx_06232007 - Trying to figure out a way to get closer to Svöðufoss when we encountered these sheep by the unpaved road nearby
Snaefellsnes_037_jx_06232007 - Some sheep wondering what we were doing as we were trying to get closer to Svöðufoss
Snaefellsnes_039_jx_06232007 - Here's a view of just the glacier Snæfellsjökull
Road_574_001_06232007 - Another distant look at the Snæfellsjökull as we essentially gave up on trying to get close to Svöðufoss

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 photos on this page, 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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Tagged with: rif, hellissandur, olafsvik, snaefellsjokull, snaefellsnes, west region, vesturland, iceland, waterfall, kerlingarfoss, holmskelsarfoss

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Amateur Photographer (Svodufoss) September 17, 2008 10:48 pm by R Bergstad - In 1989 I saw beautiful Svöðufoss waterfall and was amazed. I shot a photo and here it is. ...Read More

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