Don’t miss this stunning waterfall 10 minutes from the city center.

Iceland is full of some of the world’s most stupendous waterfalls. But what if you only have a day in Reykjavik? Or maybe you just want to get away from the city for a bit to reconnect with nature. You don’t have to miss out. Unbelievably, this beautiful but hidden Reykjavik waterfall is located right in the heart of the capital.

Elliðaárdalur Valley

The last time we were in Reykjavik, our Icelandic friends took us around town to see some less-touristy, more off-the-beaten-path parts of the city. One of our most memorable stops was in the Elliðaár Valley, a verdant, forested recreational park on the outskirts of the city.

Located east of the Breiðholt neighborhood and west of ÁrbærQuiet, it is peaceful, and devoid of tourists. In a matter of minutes, you are transported away from the noise and rush of the city into beautiful nature. Here you can find hiking trails as well as lots of locals out walking, enjoying the wildflowers and the sunshine. On a nice day, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic. We parked and began strolling along the trail, enjoying the nature.

Elliðaá River

Soon we began to hear the relaxing sound of rushing water. The Elliðaá River flows down through the valley and we occasionally paused to take photos of the scenery, while keeping an eye out for wild rabbits and other wildlife. It is one of Iceland’s best rivers for trout or salmon fishing between June and September (but be aware that a license is required).

Kermóafoss Waterfall

Then we came around a corner and arrived at an overlook, and we couldn’t believe what we saw. A massive waterfall with several levels and multiple cascading falls, water plunging down from every direction. I couldn’t believe this was right in the city!

Incredibly, the falls disappeared in the 1980s when a dam was constructed upriver to make it more optimal for salmon fishing. Fortunately, as a result of a dispute, the dam went away and the falls returned in all their glory, for everyone to enjoy.

Visiting Kermóafoss in Winter

The Elliðaár Valley park is open year-round. If you are visiting in winter, it is simply spectacular blanketed in snow. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure you have hiking boots or waterproof shoes with good tread to navigate the snow and icy areas. Also, be careful not to get too close to the edge, as it could be slippery or unstable.

How to Get to Kermóafoss

🚲 On Bike

Getting to Kermóafoss by bicycle is easy, and it is only 15 minutes by bike from the city center. Bicycles are welcome in the park.

🚗 By Car

Kermóafoss is well-marked and easily accessible with Google Maps, but it is not visible from the roads. The drive to the parking lot at Elliðaárdalur Valley is only 11 minutes from the heart of Reykjavík, then you will have a short hike. The parking lot at Elliðaárdalur Valley is a little under a mile from the Kermóafoss waterfall.

🚌 By Bus

If you’re staying in the downtown area, you can get a city bus to reach it (free with your City Card). The most convenient bus will be from the downtown Hlemmur Bus Station to the bus stop Blesugróf. 

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Reykjavik City Card

Reykjavik City Card

The Reykjavik City Card offers free entry to a wide selection of museums and galleries, all geothermal pools in Reykjavík, free unlimited travel by bus (excluding airport transfers), discounts and more.
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Other Hidden Gems around Reykjavik

Þúfa (“Thufa)

Þúfa is an outdoor installation by artist Ólöf Nordal, designed to be a place of peace and meditation. It is a large, grassy, hill near the water with a walking path that spirals to the top. At the summit is a traditional shed for drying fish, a symbolic link to Iceland’s past. Also at the top: a magnificent panoramic view of Reykjavik, including the marina, the city skyline, Harpa concert hall, and the fjords and mountains of west Iceland.

Þúfa is located in Grandi, an area of Reykjavik that is quickly becoming a cultural hub, with trendy shops, restaurants and galleries.

Þúfa Reykjavik
Walking up Þúfa

Geirfugl (The Great Auk)

This evocative sculpture, also by renowned local artist Ólöf Nordal, stands on a rock in the Bay of Skerjafjörður. It memorializes a now-extinct Icelandic bird and alternatively appears and disappears with the tides.

Geirfugl statue (with erupting volcano at
Grindavik in the background, January 2024)

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