The Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall is an off the beaten path experience in North Iceland. The waterfall is accessible on a 2h detour from Godafoss and offers alien-looking landscapes with strangely shaped basalt columns and a 20 m high waterfall with glacier waters. Here is my guide to help you plan your visit to the falls. 4WD required.
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About the Aldeyjarfoss waterfall
Like Godafoss, the Aldeyjarfoss waterfall, situated on the Skjálfandafljót River, is fed by the Vatnajökull glacier. The water flows into a narrow passage before dropping 20 meters into a wide basin.
The drop is not that impressive, but the surrounding landscape brings drama which is why it is one of my favorite waterfalls.
The interest of this waterfall, like Svartifoss in the Skaftafell park, is in the surrounding amphitheater of basalt columns. Although those columns are not as straight and defined as the ones of Svartifoss, I think Aldeyjarfoss is more fascinating with different shapes and layers in the rock walls.
I do recommend the boring drive off the beaten track to admire the unique ‘architecture’ of this waterfall.
How to get to Aldeyjarfoss location - drive
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How to get to Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall - Option 1 - Self Drive - 4WD ONLY
First portion of the road - easy. Just be careful with the sheep!
- From Godafoss, drive up Road 842 along the river – 40 km of a dirt road where the scenery is not really good
- Then turn left when the waterfall is indicated on F26 Road only allowed to 4 WD and drive 5km. You can open the gate of the farm but do not forget to close it after! The sign indicates river crossings but do not worry it is only after the waterfall if you decide to continue on F26 to the highlands.
- I saw some people with non 4WD cars parked at the crossroad and finishing on foot
- Plan 2h – 2h30 for the whole loop from and back to Godafoss/Road1
Need to rent a car for your road trip in Iceland?
- You can choose from some great local companies - Iceland has a lot of specificities and their offerings are adapted - you can compare cars and prices of quality local brands on this expert Icelandic website
- Otherwise you can compare offers from international companies on RentalCars.com
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
How to get to Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall - Option 2 - Tour
If you don't want to rent a 4WD, you can join a great day trip that goes to the Central Highlands along the Skjálfandafljót River. It departs from Akureyri and follows the river to show you the waterfalls: Godafoss, Aldeyjarfoss and Hrafnabjargafoss. Plus some fun off road driving in North Iceland - CHECK OUT PRICE AND BOOK YOUR TOUR
Walk the waterfall of Aldeyjarfoss
- You will spot the waterfall parking area easily with the toilet cabins.
- Far from the tourist trail, you can end up like me enjoying it just by yourself
- Amenities: toilets
- It is a 10/15 min walk from the parking to the view of the waterfall. There is a path, but I spotted it too late. I just walked across in the rocks.
- Before getting down, enjoy the views of the bare surrounding landscapes
- Wear good shoes and check out my complete article with detailed suggestions and tips on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
Drop & Pool of Aldeyjarfoss Iceland in pictures
The drop is only 20 meters, but because it is so narrow, it is quite powerful. The rushing sound and the splash are quite impressive. Photos can't give justice to this waterfall.
After the pool, the waterfall flows in a narrow canyon that flattens out quite quickly.
A closer look at the basalt columns
As I wrote above, the most interesting part of the Aldeyjarfoss waterfall is the surrounding land. It is part of a lava field, named Suðurárhraun, which was originally formed by eruptions, around 9500 years ago. Sadly, I was not able to capture the bare landscape that created, for me, the feeling of being on another planet.
Below are some close-up picture of the basalt columns. I love how it created layers. At the bottom the basalt columns are straight but above they got compressed into different shapes creating intriguing scultpures.
The water of the Aldeyjarfoss waterfall flows from the Vatnajökull glacier so I decided against trying to find a place to swim-freeze 🙂
However, this particularity makes the water milky blue. You can see it well on the picture below of the river section above the waterfall.
Accommodations near Aldeyjarfoss
If you want to photograph the waterfall with best light at sunrise and sunset or during the night with the northern lights, you need to stay close by.
On the Road from Godafoss to Aldeyjarfoss you can find:
- Bardardalur - the closest option, small holiday homes - Check out photos and latest prices
- The Kidagil Guesthouse - just a little bit further with nice rooms and a good restaurant - Check out photos and latest prices
- The Sandhaugar Guesthouse, still on the same road, but a bit closer to Godafoss - Check out photos and latest prices
And near Godafoss so 1hour from Aldeyjarfoss:
The Fossholl Guesthouse, right on Route 1 near Godafoss. This way I was able to enjoy sunset at the waterfall and the stars at night with the rushing water.
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Would you take the detour to see it?
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