Klifbrekkufossar: The Spectacular Seven-Tier Waterfall of East Iceland

Embark on a journey off the beaten path with our guide to Klifbrekkufossar. Discover the enchanting allure of these hidden waterfalls, tucked away in Iceland's scenic landscapes.


blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

Are you ready to dive into the magical world of Klifbrekkufossar? In this blog, we're going to explore every nook and cranny of this enchanting seven-tier waterfall nestled in the heart of East Iceland.

We'll guide you through the best routes to get there, the optimal times to visit, and the exciting activities you can indulge in. Plus, we'll share tips on where to stay and how to capture the perfect photo of this majestic natural wonder.

So, lace up your hiking boots, and let's embark on this journey together to uncover the allure and beauty of Klifbrekkufossar! Ready to get started? Let's go!

Understanding Klifbrekkufossar in East Iceland

Klifbrekkufossar stands as a testament to the Earth's sculpting power. This enchanting waterfall is formed by the cascading waters of the Mjóifjörður River as it tumbles down a series of seven tiers. Picture this: a majestic stairway of water, each step revealing a new dimension of natural wonder.

What makes Klifbrekkufossar even more remarkable is its height. So, how tall are we talking? Picture a towering waterfall that reaches a staggering 90 meters (295 feet) into the Icelandic sky. That's almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty! 

This multi-tiered structure creates a mesmerizing visual spectacle that's a dream come true for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. Klifbrekkufossar is among the best waterfalls in Iceland, waiting to be explored.


The Geological Forces at Play

Now, let's talk about the geological forces that have shaped Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall. This geological marvel owes its existence to the powerful interplay of volcanic activity, glaciers, and the ever-shifting Earth's crust.

The Mjóifjörður region, where Klifbrekkufossar is nestled, has a rich history of volcanic activity. Ancient volcanic eruptions laid the foundation for the rugged landscapes that define East Iceland. As molten lava flowed and cooled over millennia, it sculpted the valleys, cliffs, and rocky outcrops that frame the waterfall.

But there's more to the story. The retreating glaciers from the last Ice Age left their mark on the landscape, carving deep valleys and fjords like Mjóifjörður. As these glaciers melted away, they left behind rivers and waterfalls, including the stunning Klifbrekkufossar.

Klifbrekkufoss location

The Journey to Klifbrekkufossar: Getting There

Klifbrekkufossar, also known as the "climbing slope waterfalls," is situated on the Mjóifjörður side of the mountain pass at Mjóafjarðarheiði. The waterfall's name refers to the mountain slope that leads from the main road in Fagridalur valley to road 953, heading to the fjord Mjóifjörður.

Reaching Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall is a journey as captivating as the destination itself, weaving through some of Iceland's most picturesque landscapes. From Reykjavik, the nation's capital, it's a drive of approximately 650 kilometers (410 miles).

Head east on Route 1, passing through the vibrant city of Akureyri and continuing towards the remote fjords of East Iceland. Once you reach the town of Egilsstaðir, turn onto Route 953. Access to the waterfall involves a 17-kilometer (10.5 mi) drive to the bottom of the fjord, followed by another 18 kilometers (11 mi) to the fjord's mouth. The route includes a narrow road under a steep mountain slope.

A point to note: there's no public transport going to Klifbrekkufossar, and you will need a 4x4 to get there. We recommend renting the Suzuki Jimny to navigate the narrow gravel road that leads to the waterfall. The Suzuki Jimny is also ideal for exploring the rugged terrain around Klifbrekkufossar and other nearby attractions.

Car Rental Iceland

Timing Your Visit: When Can You Go

The timing of your visit to Klifbrekkufossar is crucial. Due to Iceland's challenging weather conditions, the waterfall is only accessible during the summer months, specifically from June to September.

During these months, the mountain pass leading to Mjóifjörður, the narrow fjord where Klifbrekkufossar is located, opens up. However, come winter, the mountain pass shuts down due to heavy snowfall and icy conditions, rendering the waterfall inaccessible.

Thus, planning your trip during the summer not only ensures safe and smooth travel but also presents Klifbrekkufossar in its full glory. Under the summer sun, the waterfall's cascading waters sparkle, and the surrounding landscapes burst into vibrant hues, offering a breathtaking spectacle.

Trekking and Trails: Hiking Around Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall

Klifbrekkufossar's magnificence transcends the waterfall itself; it's an interplay of nature's elements, a symphony of cascading waters harmonizing with a backdrop of undulating hills, rugged rocks, verdant vegetation, and towering mountains.

While there's no formal hiking path or official parking lot, travelers can easily pull off the road near the waterfall, which is clearly visible from the road. A well-selected perch at the bottom of the falls, particularly the parking area, offers an unrivaled viewpoint to admire all tiers of the waterfall. There's limited additional benefit in scrambling closer to, or around, the waterfall for a 'better' view.

Klifbrekkufoss view

The surrounding lava-formed landscape enhances Klifbrekkufossar's beauty, making it a holistic experience rather than a singular sight. To absorb the waterfall's full splendor, find a tranquil spot by the river, close to the lowest fall, and settle on the grass. From here, relax and drink in the awe-inspiring panorama that unfolds before you.

Photographing Klifbrekku Waterfall: A Photographer's Guide

Klifbrekku Waterfall, with its cascading waters and surrounding natural beauty, is among the top places in Iceland for photography. The following tips will help you capture the majesty of this spectacle:

  • Lighting: The soft, diffused light of early morning or late afternoon adds depth and texture to your shots. Additionally, the summer midnight sun provides unique lighting conditions for striking waterfall images.
  • Composition: For an engaging composition, include foreground elements like rocks or flowers to establish depth. Also, a wide-angle lens can capture the entire waterfall and its surroundings.
  • Long Exposure: This technique creates a silky effect on the cascading water, contrasting beautifully with the static, rugged mountain backdrop. Use a tripod to avoid a camera shake.
  • Explore Angles: Experiment with different angles and viewpoints to add a unique perspective to your photographs. Don't be afraid to get low or close to the water for dramatic shots.
  • Weather Conditions: Changing weather can create a range of moods, from soft and ethereal on sunny days to fierce and powerful during storms. Be prepared for unexpected weather changes while photographing Klifbrekkufossar. 

Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall in Iceland

Nearby Attractions: Exploring East Iceland

After marveling at the majestic Klifbrekkufossar, immerse yourself further in the splendid beauty of East Iceland. This underexplored region is brimming with natural wonders that deserve your attention:

  • Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss: Twin waterfalls nestled within a gorge, famed for their unusual basalt columns and striking red clay stripes.
  • Stuðlagil Canyon: An otherworldly landscape featuring countless hexagonal basalt columns along Jökulsá River.
  • Mjóifjörður: This scenic fjord, which houses Klifbrekkufossar, is itself a spectacle to behold. It's characterized by serene landscapes and a tranquil atmosphere.
  • Papey Island: Accessible by boat from Djúpivogur, this island is home to a large puffin colony, offering a unique wildlife viewing experience.
  • Hallormsstaðaskógur National Forest: Enrich your trip with a visit to the largest forest in Iceland, known for its lush greenery and hiking trails.

Studlagil canyon, Iceland

Staying Near Klifbrekku Waterfall: Accommodation Options

When planning your visit to the majestic Klifbrekku Waterfall, consider these nearby accommodation options to ensure a comfortable stay amidst the tranquil fjord landscapes:

  • Guesthouses: Cozy guesthouses such as Álfheimar Guesthouse offer warm hospitality and home-like comforts, making for a delightful retreat after a day of exploration.
  • Hotels: For a more luxurious stay, hotels like Hotel Eyvindará provide upscale amenities along with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. 
  • Camping Sites: Camping enthusiasts can bask in the fjord's natural beauty at nearby camping sites. The Hallormsstaðaskógur Camping and Egilsstaðir Camping are popular options.

Klifbrekkufossar area

Dining and Cuisine: Local Eats and Treats

East Iceland is a haven for food lovers, offering an exciting culinary adventure that complements the stunning landscapes that surround you. Here are a few local dining options that serve authentic Icelandic cuisine:

  • Randulff's Sea-House: Located in Eskifjörður, this restaurant is famous for its fresh seafood dishes, particularly its langoustine soup. Dining here gives you the chance to sample authentic Icelandic fish and shellfish while enjoying the stunning fjord view.
  • Klausturkaffi: For a taste of history with your meal, head to this restaurant in the Skriðuklaustur cultural center. Indulge in homemade cakes and hearty soups surrounded by stunning architecture.
  • Salt Café and Bistro: Located in Egilsstaðir, Salt is renowned for its use of local Icelandic ingredients and its contemporary take on traditional dishes. The reindeer burger is a must-try. 

Klifbrekkufossar access

Respecting Nature: Conservation Efforts 

Iceland's untouched landscapes, which include the breathtaking Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall, are the result of rigorous conservation efforts. These measures ensure that future generations can also experience the untouched beauty of these natural wonders:

  • Respect the Environment: Visitors must remember they are guests in these natural landscapes. Avoid littering and always dispose of your waste properly. This simple act can greatly contribute to preserving the pristine condition of Klifbrekkufossar.
  • Stay on Marked Paths: Sticking to designated paths protects the fragile flora surrounding the waterfall. Veering off the path can cause irreversible damage to the local plant life.
  • Limit Noise Pollution: Keep noise levels to a minimum to avoid disturbing the local wildlife. It also enhances the peaceful ambiance for other visitors.
  • Support Conservation Organizations: Consider making a donation to local conservation organizations, such as the Icelandic Environment Association or the Vatnajökull National Park Fund, to help fund their efforts in preserving Iceland's natural beauty.  

Icelandic landscape

Preparing for Your Adventure: What to Bring and Know

Ensuring a memorable visit to Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall goes beyond simply packing your camera - it also requires appropriate gear and an understanding of local customs. Here's a checklist of what to bring:

  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Icelandic weather can be unpredictable, so layering is key. Don't forget to include rain gear and warm clothing in your pack.
  • Hiking Gear: As Klifbrekkufossar involves some hiking, sturdy shoes, and a reliable backpack are essentials.
  • Photography Equipment: A camera, tripod, and wide-angle lens will enhance your waterfall photography experience.
  • Food and Water: Carry enough supplies to keep you energized during your visit. 

Why Klifbrekkufossar Is Worth Exploring

Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by intrepid travelers. With its serene landscapes, picturesque surrounding attractions, and immersive cultural experiences, it's the ideal starting point for an exploration of East Iceland's wonders. 

Remember that renting a car in Iceland is the only way to visit this incredible waterfall, as it's tucked away from public transport routes. So pack your bags and embark on a journey of discovery to this enchanting destination. Trust us; you'll be glad you did! Happy Travels! 

Klifbrekkufossar area

FAQs About Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall

Is there an entrance fee for Klifbrekkufossar? 

No, the waterfall is free to visit.

Can I swim in Klifbrekkufossar?

No, the water temperature is often too cold for swimming. Plus, it's not permitted to swim in the waterfall to preserve its natural state.

What is the best time of year to visit Klifbrekkufossar?

Summer is the only time that you can visit Klifbrekkufossar.

Are there any other notable attractions near Klifbrekkufossar?

Yes, the nearby towns of Eskifjörður and Seyðisfjörður offer charming cultural experiences, while the Vatnajökull National Park is a must-visit for its glaciers and wildlife.  

Is Klifbrekkufossar wheelchair-accessible?

Unfortunately, the terrain is rugged and not suitable for wheelchair access. However, the nearby town of Seyðisfjörður has a more accessible waterfall, Gufufoss, which all can enjoy.

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