Waterfall Near Reykjavík: Helgufoss

Likely if you’re a waterfall lover, a priority on your travel list is finding the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.  Maybe you even spend hours researching what ones are closest to where you are staying.  So when you find your way to Reykjavik Iceland, what are your options?  Within the city limits, options are not abundant.  However, less than a 30 minute drive from the heart of downtown in the town of Mosfellsbær you will find a true hidden gem.  There you will find the wonderful waterfall near to Reykjavík, named Helgufoss!

Waterfalls near to Reykjavik

Our team has all spent time living in Reykjavík at one point or another.  But eventually we all moved outside of the city limits to be closer to nature.  Likely because that is where we thrive!

In fact, Ann and Davíð always felt strongly about being close to the glaciers and highlands as that is where they primarily spend their time for business and pleasure.  Which brought a move from their apartment in Reykjavík, to a home in the heart Selfoss, to having a summer “honeymoon house” overlooking Iceland’s 4th largest glacier.  To now venturing to build their dream house on the mountain looking over the town of Vik!

Despite not being city dwellers anymore or basing our amazing Iceland wedding itineraries in and around Reykjavík, our team still has a wealth of knowledge to share!  To illustrate, there are 7 lovely waterfalls within 45 minute drive of downtown.  And today we would love to share with you the list and outline one of the prettiest ones…


7 Waterfalls Closest to Reykjavík (45 minutes or less):


#1: Elliðaárdalur

Elliðaárdalur is a tiny river waterfall that in summer is a swimming hole and party area for locals.  Within a 15 minute drive from the heart of downtown Reykjavik.  Google Map Link.


#2: Álafoss is a historical beauty!

Back in 1896 this waterfall on the Varmá River was used to power the wool shop.  Believe it or not there is still a wool shop there too you can buy hand made souvenirs.  Barely a 20 minute minute drive and you’re there!  For instance, here is the Google Map to Álafoss.


#3: Tungufoss

Can be found right off the main road (Route 1) within the town of Mosfellsbær.  There are even remanence of the hydro power “plant” which used this waterfall for power.  The waterfall is less than a 25 minute drive from downtown.  The map to Tungufoss is easy to find and follow.


#4: Helgufoss

Truly a gorgeous hidden gem waterfall that offers additional hiking routes all around too!  Totally within a 30 minute drive of downtown Reykjavik and Helgufoss is this months featured hike!


#5: Þórufoss

Þórufoss is an offbeat waterfall on the way Þingvellir National Park.  Easily found within 40 minutes from the city limits so don’t miss driving to Þórufoss!


#6: Tröllafoss

Tröllafoss is ideal if you love to hike and seek a less touristy waterfall to discover!  Driving to Tröllafoss leads you barely 40 minutes away from Reykjavik.  Note: The 4×4 road is now closed by the landowners so please be respectful and just hike it!  Likely a 30-60 minute hike depending on your pace and if snow on the ground.


#7: Öxarárfoss

Within Þingvellir National Park you’ll find a tectonic plate area waterfall. It can be very touristy but still pretty badass to see in person.  Long ago when we still did weddings at touristy locations, we had a wedding at Öxarárfoss.  Only 45 minutes away from Reykjavik. Öxarárfoss is an easy drive, well marked for parking, and has a boardwalk leading to it!

How to Get to Helgufoss

Finding your way to Helgufoss is not difficult.  Especially if you have your own rental car.  For instance, you will jump on to Route 1 heading North towards Þingvellir National Park.  Next, you will turn onto Route #36 which is named Þingvallavegur.  Then at 4.2 miles (6.9 km) you’ll take a right turn at the sign below.

Further, you’ll drive down this stone road for about .6 miles (1.1 km) until you see big powerlines and a small parking lot.  You’ll park here and begin the hike from this point.

The Trek to the Waterfall

Firstly, Helgufoss does not have ropes, barriers or the feeling of tourism.  Secondly, to ensure this continues, please be a responsible tourist / visitor.  Meaning, be kind and leave no trace!  Thirdly, we would love to share with you a step by step of this hike to Helgufoss and the additional options for furthering the trek…


  • Location: Mosfellsbær (30 minute drive north east of Reykjavik).
  • Google Maps: Parking Lot Link.
  • GPS Coordinates: 64.179703;  -21.532837
  • Distance: .80 miles (1.3 km) round trip.
  • Hike Time: ~10 minutes one way.
  • Terrain: Grassy, Muddy, Rocky, and with rain Slippery.
  • Height of Helgufoss: 40 feet (12 meters).
  • Additional Hiking Options: Gljúfrasteinn – Grímannsfell – Helgufoss Loop – Full hike is approximately 6 miles.

Hiking Directions to Helgufoss

Hiking to Helgufoss Waterfall begins with leaving your vehicle.  Next, you’ll approach signs and a path.  Depending on what route you intend on taking (short hike to the waterfall or the longer) you can look at the maps here.  Then you’ll climb over the 5 step ladder to the other side.  You’ll continue down the grassy well marked path.

Follow the yellow trail makers for about 5-6 minutes and then you head down into the canyon area.  Watch your step because the rocks can be tricky and the trail can be slick with mud.  Lastly, you’ll be greeted with the gorgeous view of the winding river to the right and the sweet little waterfall to the left.  Savor it!!  If you’re feeling more adventurous, hike to the top of it!

Helgufoss Wedding or Elopement

Finding yourself inspired to discover this sweet little place for your Iceland wedding or elopement adventure?  Helgufoss is within a protected area so in advance permission / permit is required.  It’s best to hire a local Iceland wedding planner to help secure this for you and / or your group.

Enjoy visiting this amazing spot during your journey to Iceland!  Maybe even see more offbeat things to do in Iceland on our blog too!  In conclusion, feel free to contact us if you’re looking to elope in Iceland and crave exploring private locations…  As our Iceland Wedding Planner team crafts unforgettable five senses experience driven weddings!

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