Situated along Route One at the foot of Skógafoss, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, the small town of Skógar makes for a perfect pitstop on a road trip through Iceland. The inhabitants number around 30, and while the town has a limited number of stores and attractions, the beautiful green slopes and cliffs that envelop it mean you won’t run out of natural sites to explore. As an extra treat, you can enjoy a walk through one of Iceland’s rare forests, Völvuskógur. This is quite fitting, seeing as ‘Skógar’ translates as ‘forests.’
The main attraction of Skógar is Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s most splendid waterfalls. When the water cascades off the cliffs, it falls a staggering 60 metres before hitting the pool of water below with remarkable force. Make sure to bring waterproof clothes, as the mist created by the impact of the waterfall can get you quite wet.
Stay: Hotel Skógar
Situated on the town’s main strip, Hotel Skógar is conveniently close to the local grocery store, the famous Skógafoss waterfall, and the Völvuskógur forest. Open year-round, the hotel offers clean, basic rooms with views of stunning nature. It also has a restaurant, favoured among locals for its excellent cuisine.
Eat: Gamla Fjósið
If you’ve ever wondered where your food comes from, Gamla Fjósið (Old Cow-house) is worth a visit. Located just a 10-minute drive from Skógar on Route One in a farm building, this atypical restaurant sources its meat from the farm itself. At this farm, the modern, Western interaction with animals is challenged: you are faced with live cows before slaughter, instead of picking up their remains in a grocery store. The restaurant is a reminder of the process behind every meal of meat.
Visit: Skógar Museum
Skógar Museum holds one of the largest displays of artifacts in Iceland. Split into three parts, the museum houses a folk and heritage section, an open-air space, and a technical museum. It’s perfect for curious visitors who want to see what life in the Icelandic countryside has been like throughout the ages.
Swim: Seljavallalaug Outdoor Pool
A short drive from Skógar, you’ll find this little pearl. One of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland, this outdoor pool is situated amongst the gigantic rock formations and streams of a secluded natural valley. Entrance is free, but bear in mind that there are no toilets, and make sure to do your business before arriving at this small, intimate place—for everyone’s sake.
Starting at the base of Skógafoss, this nine-hour hiking trail leads over the mountains to Þórsmörk. Named Fimmvörðuháls, or “Five cairn pass,” the hike traverses a range of landscapes, including Highland desert, fresh lava, a magical forest, a spot where two glaciers meet, and numerous waterfalls. It’s one of the most popular hikes in Iceland for a reason and one of the most beautiful pars of Skógar.
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