Location: Eastern Region
Height: 525ft + / 160m
Prestagilfoss, also known as the Prestagil Waterfall, is a hidden waterfall tucked away in the Prestagil Ravine. Prestagilfoss is found in a remote area of the Eastern Region of Iceland, near the village Mjóifjörður. Prestagilfoss doesn’t receive many visitors due to its remote nature. Due to snow and ice, the whole area surrounding the village is only accessible by car only during four months of the year. Even the local community is small, as Mjóifjörður has a population of 14 residents.
Despite having little to no information online about it, Prestagilfoss still makes its mark by possibly being Iceland’s 4th tallest waterfall. At the very least, it made our list of the “15 Tallest Waterfalls in Iceland.” Exact measurements on this waterfall may not exist, but topographical maps suggest that the waterfall might be 525+ ft.
Prestagilfoss can be seen at 0:20 in the video above
The stream, Prestagilsá, running from Prestagilfoss flows into the Fjarðará river. Shortly after the merge, the river creates Breiðifoss, followed by Klifbrekkufossar. The series of waterfalls known as Klifbrekkufossar is the more famous waterfall attraction of the area. However, it also doesn’t receive many visitors. Klifbrekkufossar also did make our list in the top “15 Tallest Waterfalls in Iceland.”
Prestagilfoss gets in name from the Prestagil Ravine in which it resides. Prestagil mean’s clergy or priest. So Prestagil ravine could be translated as “the Priest’s Ravine” or “The Gorge of the Priests.” While the name may sound pleasant, the ravine’s folklore shares a darker story.
The accounts vary, but the premise is the same. The stories tell of a giant troll woman or hag trying to seduce two priests in the ravine to gain power over them. One account suggests that it is a witch instead and that she still haunts the ravine to this current day.
Little to no resources online can be found about hiking to Prestagilfoss. If you have any information, please comment below or contact us at [email protected].
Route 953 does have a sign pointing to Prestagil, and parking has been reported hard to find in the area.
Nearest town: Egilsstaðir
Distance from Reykjavík: 410 mi (661 km)
As mentioned above, Prestagilfoss is located near the remote village of Mjóifjörður. However, Egilsstaðir will be the nearest town that has accommodations for travelers. If visiting Mjóifjörður, Pristgalifoss will be along the way on Route 953. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended for this area, and the road is not accessible for most of the year.
While accommodating travelers, Egilsstaðir does not see much tourism due to the time it takes to get there by car. The drive is nearly 8-hours to Egilsstaðir from Reykjavík, and add 40 minutes to reach Pristagilifoss.
Fortunately, there is good news for quicker access. There are regional flights to Egilsstaðir that take only an hour. Egilsstaðir does have car rental options, Hertz, Avis, and Bílaleiga Akureyrar.