The Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall is a hidden gem nestled in the beautiful landscape of East Iceland. We should say Waterfalls, as the Iceland “-ar” plural suffix suggests.
This is a fairy-tale-like location, with seven different waterfalls in rapid succession. Actually, I think this waterfall would first well in any Rivendell or fantasy-like sort of scenario!
Klifbrekkufossar is also quite an off-the-beaten-path location. Getting there requires a relatively long detour from the ring road, driving on a tough gravel road to Mjóifjörður, Mjóafjarðarvegur – road 953. The drive is doable in a 2wd car, it just requires some carefulness.
The best time to visit Klifbrekkufossar is from June to September. However, May and October could also work, depending on the weather.
Anyway, is Klifbrekkufossar worth the long drive? Absolutely, if you ask me. Beautiful scenery and a location away from the crowds of South Iceland.
Some of the upper steps of the waterfall.
Overview of the Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall Hike
This is more of a short walk than a proper hike, but the terrain can be muddy and slippery if it recently rained. Nevertheless, the short trail can be steep in places.
The hike time mentioned below does not include a relaxing rest to just enjoy the scenery :)
How to get to Klifbrekkufossar and Parking
Getting to Klifbrekkufossar requires a long drive on a tough gravel road. While the road can be suddenly closed in case of bad weather during the shoulder seasons, you do not need a 4WD to get there.
The mountain pass on road 953 to Mjóifjörður in late May.
I drove there in a 2WD Caddy CamperVan during an 8-day ring road trip. You’d just need to drive carefully, especially around the mountain pass that ends in Mjóifjörður. Also, make sure to check the road conditions on road.is before driving there. If you are looking for car rental options, I can recommend Blue Car Rental for cars and CampEasy for Camper Vans.
- Driving Directions: You can turn directly into Mjóafjarðarvegur from the Ring Road. Before Egilsstaðir, if you are coming from the south, or after, if you are coming from the north. From Egilsstaðir it will take a little less than an hour to get to Klifbrekkufossar in a standard 2WD car.
- Parking: there are a few, small pullout areas next to the road, with space for a few cars.
- Public Transport: none, but there is a ferry running between Neskaupstaður and Brekka. Alternatively, you can book a private tour of the whole area
Mjóifjörður, just above Klifbrekkufossar
The Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall Trail
There actually isn’t an official or marked hiking trail around Klifbrekkufossar. However, you will see a trail on the side of the road, heading up to the first waterfall.
The first waterfall; the trail is on the right-hand side
I hiked up to the fourth waterfall where any traces of a trail disappeared. Still, it would be technically possible to continue although the further up you got, the less you’d see of this multi-layer waterfall. Unless you really want to see each one of them up close.
You can also walk up the other side, to some of the Waterfalls, at least. However, I did not see any obvious way to get high up on the other side, but I know it is possible – I just could not find an easy way to access it or I might have missed it.
Anyway, this is a location worth spending some time at, just looking at the waterfalls and enjoying the soothing sound of the water falling while looking at the vast fjord in from of you.
The Klifbrekkufossar Hike Photos and Photography tips
With seven different waterfalls, Klifbrekkufossar provides plenty of opportunities for landscape photography. Again, this is a bit of a fairy-tale location and that style of dreamy landscape photography works well here.
Also, make good use of the haze or water spray around the waterfalls. It can help create a natural glow around the waterfalls that fits well with that sort of “magic” or “fantasy” look this waterfall is suited for.
Additionally, with that many waterfalls, it is easy to get several different compositions or looks out of a single location. This is a fun location to shoot at for that very reason too.
In terms of foreground, there isn’t much to go by here. Therefore an ultra-wide lens may not be the best lens to use here. I pretty much used my 24-70mm lens and it covered all of the photos I wanted to take. However, a longer telephoto lens would work great too.
Also, the waterfall does not get much direct sunlight, if not in the morning. assuming the sun is not hiding behind the clouds, of course.
Map of the Klifbrekkufossar Hike
Here is the map of this hike.
Where to stay
There are a couple of accommodations available in Mjóifjörður, further down into the Fjord Although it makes sense to stay there only if you are planning to visit the area further; it would take another 40 minutes to drive down the fjord to Brekka.