Stjornarfoss waterfall is a beautiful waterfall on Iceland’s South Coast, easily accessible on a Ring Road tour.
Travelers interested in marveling at less crowded Icelandic attractions will find the Stjornarfoss waterfall a great stop. You can seek it out as an added stop on South Coast self-drive adventures, such as this 3-Day Golden Circle Tour, this 4-Day Northern Lights Tour, or this 10-Day Ring Road Tour.
If you don't drive, you can also visit it on a private South Coast tour.
The picturesque Stjornarfoss waterfall may not be as famous as its counterparts in the region, but its scenic landscape is worth the visit.
Photo from Flick, Creative Commons, by Gusjer. No edits made.
Best Features of the Stjornarfoss Waterfall
The Stjornarfoss waterfall, Stjórnarfoss in Icelandic, is nearly 49 feet (15 meters) in height. However, it may seem shorter in person because of the stunning dome shape of its cliff.
It may not also be as tall as its distant neighbors, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfall, but its surrounding landscapes make up for it.
The waterfall has two parts, an upper and lower tier. Its cliff’s dome shape makes the lower level more prominent than the waterfall’s upper body. In addition, the waterfall’s upper level is hardly seen if you’re standing close to the water.
If you take a few steps back, you will see the entirety of Stjornarfoss’ beauty. It rivals other South Coast attractions in terms of being photogenic.
The otherworldly volcanic rocks surrounding and towering over the drop of the water are a sight to behold.
South Coast’s Stjorn river feeds the cold waters that cascade from Stjornarfoss waterfall. Before the gentle drop, the water from Geirlandshraun mountain passes through the small canyon connected to the waterfall. This beautiful scene is something you should not miss in the land of fire and ice.
Although the waterfall is within the Icelandic tourist route of the Ring Road, it is not near other major attractions. This feature allows you to avoid crowds gathered at the more well-known and popular South Coast sites.
What’s so Special About this Icelandic Waterfall?
Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Sigurdur Jonsson. No edits made.
This hidden Icelandic wonder is a fantastic destination since it’s usually not included in Ring Road tours. The low traffic flow makes it an ideal stop for you to have a rest and maybe a quick snack to recharge during your trip.
Some travelers stay in the nearby campground, which provides soothing waterfall sounds all night. But you may need permission to stay in the campground as it is private property.
Besides the lack of foot traffic in the area, the waterfall is also known for its photogenic surroundings.
The nearest town to Stjornarfoss waterfall is Kirkjubaejarklaustur. The town of around 500 inhabitants is just two miles (four kilometers) from the falls. A quick stop here for supplies is an excellent choice for travelers taking a long Icelandic vacation along the Ring Road.
How People Experience the Stjornarfoss Waterfall
Tourists have different ways of exploring the magnificence of the South Coast waterfall of Stjornarfoss.
If you don’t mind wetting your feet, getting near Stjornarfoss’ cliff is the best way to experience the attraction.
As you can get so close from different angles and the waterfall has such a pretty shape, it’s the perfect subject for photography. Likewise, on warm summer days, swimming in the pool of water in front of the waterfall is possible.
Another way to see the waterfall is on top of the mossy volcanic rocks. A trail in the area leads up to these geological formations. While on top, you can view the breathtaking view of the entire waterfall, gorge, and valley.
Stjornarfoss waterfall can sometimes attract crowds, especially when people are staying at the nearby campsite. However, you may be the only one there when nobody is camping. When it’s not busy, it can be the best spot for people who want to do peaceful, meditative yoga in nature.
Planning Your Trip to South Coast Waterfalls
Stjornarfoss waterfall isn’t a popular destination, especially for foreign tourists, but it’s a fun option if you’ve rented a car for a day trip along the South Coast.
Alongside the other waterfalls of the south, you may add it as a stop on your visit to Reynisfjara black sand beach and Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.
The most common and convenient multi-day trips where you can visit the Stjornarfoss waterfall are Icelandic self-drive tours, like the 6-Day South Coast Tour with Ice Caving.
How to Get to Stjornarfoss Waterfall and What to Expect
The only way to reach the stunning waterfall is through private land transportation or car rentals. The location is 161 miles (259 kilometers) from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.
Despite the extended distance from Reykjavik, traveling to this location is relatively easy. With a great location along the Ring Road and proximity to a known South Coast town, getting to Stjornarfoss waterfall is convenient.
You’ll find the Stjornarfoss waterfall around a 10-minute drive from the closest town, Kirkjubaejarklaustur, locally known as Klaustur. The town has everything you need for a quick rest, including hotels, shops, restaurants, and a gas station.
If you’re coming directly from the Ring Road going east, take the route up north towards Geirland and exit onto Route 203.
You will cross the Skaftarhreppur bridge from the exit along the road and find the Tjaldsvaedid Kleifar campsite. At the campsite, you’ll be able to find convenient, free parking spaces. The parking lot is available across the street from the campgrounds and the waterfall.
The Stjornarfoss waterfall is just a short walk from the parking lot. It’s possible to see the scenic attraction even from this location if you don’t feel like walking closer. However, it’s up close that provides you with the best experience and photo opportunities.
What to Do Near the Stjornarfoss Waterfall
One of the best parts of traveling to the South Coast of Iceland is just how much there is to see and do. Before or after seeing the Stjornarfoss waterfall, you may enjoy thrilling activities like horseback riding, fishing tours, glacier hiking, ice caving, lava caving, and paragliding.
Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Jonathan Miske. No edits made.
Here are other great Icelandic attractions on the South Coast that you can find near Stjornarfoss waterfall and the town of Klaustur.
Byrdi Sogunnar - The Burden of History by Magnus Tomasson
Systrafoss waterfall and Raudarfoss waterfall
Systravatn – Sisters’ Lake
Songhellirinn – The Singing Cave
Hildishaugur Burial Mound
To make your stay in Iceland more extraordinary, don’t forget to visit these sites. Only a few people are lucky enough to have seen these iconic tourist spots. So make sure to add yourself to the list.