Saturday, September 3, 2011

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls, Iceland

Driving on Route 1, or the Ring Road, you are awarded with many cascading waterfalls that are easily accessible. Two worthy of stopping at are Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, both near the town of Skógar.

Seljalandsfoss drops 40 meters (130 feet) over the cliffs of the former coastline on the river Seljalandsá and it is possible to walk behind the waterfall.

Continuing on another 30 kilometers or so along the Ring Road, you next come to Skógafoss, which spills over the cliffs of the former coastline.  After the coastline had receded seaward, the former sea cliffs remained, parallel to the coast over hundreds of kilometers, creating together with some mountains a clear border between the coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland. Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland with a width of 25 meters (82 feet) and a drop of 60 meters (200 feet).

Of course, as there are many legends in Iceland, the legend of Skógafoss says the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure chest filled with gold coins in a cave behind the waterfall. On days when the sun is shining, people say that his gold is glittering through the water. Many have tried to find the chest and once a young, local boy succeeded. He tied a rope to the chest's ring and pulled. He was only able to retrieve the ring and the rest of the chest disappeared. The ring was later used for the church door at Skógar.

Continuing along the Ring Road toward the Vatnajökull glacier, there are even more waterfalls that won't disappoint.

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