Krýsuvíkurfoss is one of two waterfalls in the Reykjanes area, also known as the Southern Peninsula (Suðurnes). There is little information online about Krýsuvíkurfoss, and it has no official name. Krýsuvíkurfoss is located east of the iconic Krýsuvíkurberg sea cliffs, in which locals derived the waterfalls name. The other waterfall also remains unnamed, but the name Vestarilaekurfoss has been suggested.
Krýsuvíkurfoss is the ending of the Eystri-Lækur stream as it falls into the Hælisvík bay. The waterfall’s visibility is very dependent on weather. Eystri-Lækur is a small stream, but with enough snowmelt or rain, Krýsuvíkurfoss can become a gorgeous waterfall. Even when the waterfall is not visible, the sea cliffs are a sight to behold. These cliffs are also home to around 57,000 seabirds.
The height of Krýsuvíkurfoss is not officially recorded, but the Krýsuvíkurberg cliffs can reach upward of 131 ft. It is safe to assume Krýsuvíkurfoss is over 100+ ft in height.
History of Krýsuvíkurfoss:
There is not much known history to Krýsuvíkurfoss itself, but the cliffs of Krýsuvíkurberg tell a geological story that’s prehistoric. These sea cliffs were formed from distinct layers of lava that had settled from volcanic eruptions long past. You can find five layers on the west side of Krýsuvíkurberg and up to 10 layers on the east where Krýsuvíkurfoss is located.
Krýsuvíkurberg is also the location of folklore mixed in with some historical truths.
History records that in 1627 Iceland was raided by pirates from Algiers. These Algerian pirates were known as “Turks” due to Algeria being under the large Ottoman Empire. The first attack recorded was on the Westman Islands, and the second attack was at Grindavík, west of Krýsuvíkurfoss. Icelanders and Danes were captured and sold into slavery in North Africa.
Legend has it that Krýsuvíkurberg was also the scene of a minor attack by the “Turks.” There are different accounts of this tale, but all involve three pirates killing a woman or two and chasing a shepherd back to his home in Krýsuvík. There the three pirates were killed. One story suggests the townspeople attacked the pirates. Another tale takes a more mystical twist having the pirates cursed by a priest. This spell forced the pirates to fight amongst themselves until they were dead.
The path the pirates allegedly took on the shore from Hælisvík bay is known as Ræningjastígur or the Bandit’s Path. In a meadow around Krýsuvík, three mounds are still visible today, reported to be the graves of these Algiers pirates.
The trail to Krýsuvíkurfoss is 3 miles, out and back, with little to no foot traffic. The best time to hike is between April and November. As mentioned above, the waterfall’s visibility is dependent on the weather. The prime time to hike this trail is during thawing season or after rainfall. The southern coast of Iceland can get heavy rain and winds, so it’s best to plan accordingly.
The beginning of the trail starts at the Krýsuvíkurberg Cliffs. A public parking lot is available, but it will require travel on a gravel road to get there. See more information below to find the parking lot.
Krýsuvíkurfoss is only viewable from hiking or from cruising the coastline via boat. A 4wd vehicle is recommended to traverse the gravel road leading to the Krýsuvíkurberg Cliffs parking lot. Depending on the gravel road conditions, the drive could be around an hour from Reykjavík.
Google does not list Krýsuvíkurfoss on its maps, but you can find directions to the beginning of the gravel road here. There will be a sign pointing to Krýsuvíkurberg off Route 427.
The embedded AllTrails map below will lead you down the gravel road until you reach the parking lot.