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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Klifbrekkufossar waterfall

Updated: Mar 21, 2022


 Although the prospect of viewing the falls from various spots and angles might seem attractive, there is really only one way to witness its true beauty
Although the prospect of viewing the falls from various spots and angles might seem attractive, there is really only one way to witness its true beauty

Klifbrekkufossar is the name given to eight small waterfalls, one above the other, at the bottom of the Mjóifjörður fjord in the Eastern Region of Iceland. The waterfalls are spectacular, zigzagging for about 90 meters up the hill like a giant white snake. The lava hills on both sides are covered with unusually lush and bushy vegetation which contrasts beautifully with the river and waterfalls. Although the prospect of viewing the falls from various spots and angles might seem attractive, there is really only one way to witness its true beauty: the parking lot at the bottom of the falls. This vantage point is the best way to see the rising levels of all the waterfalls in the same vista and experience the magical harmony of the flowing water with its eight installments, all similar in height.


East Region on map of Iceland
East Region on map of Iceland

There is limited, if any, advantage in getting closer or even climbing around the waterfalls to get a "better" view. This is because, oddly enough, the natural wonder cannot be separated from its spectacular surroundings of lava, hills, rocks, vegetation, and stunning mountains. It is more like a natural concept than a natural wonder. To enjoy the waterfalls to the fullest, you should find a peaceful spot by the river—a few steps from the lowest fall—sit down on the grass, and enjoy.


Fed by multiple sources of water on the heath Mjóafjarðarheiði

The sources spread out like many branches of a tree above Klifbrekkufossar.
The sources spread out like many branches of a tree above Klifbrekkufossar.

The elevated waterbody that feeds the waterfall in the river Fjarðará is a spring fed river combined with direct runoff rivers and streams and therefore rarely contaminated with dirt and various materials like the many glacial rivers in Iceland. The sources spread out like many branches of a tree above Klifbrekkufossar. This makes the river quite clear and clean and gives the waterfalls an incredible feeling of purity. The river accumulates water from many sources in the heath above, which is filled with small springs and lakes and rises to 1100 meters. If you drive farther east in the fjord Mjóifjörður, you will see endless small streams flowing down every slope, all the way to the mouth of the fjord. It is like a leaking water tank.


The waterfall only opens in the summer months

The name Klifbrekkufossar can be translated as “climbing slope waterfalls”. The slope refers to the Mjóifjörður side of the mountain pass at Mjóifjörður heath (Mjóafjarðarheiði) which leads from the main road in Fagridalur valley (between Reyðarfjörður and Egilsstaðir) on to road 953 to the fjord Mjóifjörður. The drive is 17 kilometers to the bottom of the fjord and from there, 18 kilometers to the mouth of the fjord—if you like to drive a narrow road under a steep mountain slope. Unfortunately for waterfall lovers, the waterfalls are only accessible between June and September as the mountain pass leading to the narrow fjord is closed in the winter.


The waterfall should be referred to as a single waterfall

 I have put it on my list of Iceland's 10 most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.
I have put it on my list of Iceland's 10 most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.

Although most often referred to as a series of waterfalls and the name is in the plural, Klifbrekkufossar should be seen as a single waterfall falling 90 meters down a series of ledges. It is by any measure one of the most spectacular sights in Iceland and among the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. I have put it on my list of Iceland's 10 most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.


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