Have you ever heard about Skógar? Icelanders are proud of their forest, and Skógar, which literally translates to a forest, can show off with 2 of them.
You have a collection of smaller trees, shrubs, and bushes in a park-like arrangement at the entrance road to Skógar and another small forest covering the hillside behind the old school building. It took me some time until I realized that that is the “forest”… and I was living right in front of it for three months. But as they say, “sometimes you don’t see the forest for the trees.”
Anyway, if you’ve missed the experience of walking among trees, now is your chance.
Also, Skógar has a few hidden treasures in tow, which you may not discover when you are just out on a hunt to tick all the boxes with must-see destinations. You’ll learn more about them here and in the next posts.
How to find Skógar?
Skógar is located about 150 kilometers south of Reykjavik along the N1 and is best known for its waterfall Skógarfoss. Skógar is located approximately 150 kilometers south of Reykjavik along the N1 and might be better known for Skógafoss, one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. It is also closely located in the south of the Eyjafallajökull glacier and has been in the area most affected by the volcano eruption in 2010. But since then, nature has returned to a more or less typical look.
And YES! Before you ask, there is still ash around the area. It didn’t only melt away! The black and grey sand, especially left and right of the road and upon the mountains, the stuff among the grass, on the black beach, in your shoes … that’s ash leftovers! Skógar itself consists of 2 Hotels. One hostel, a campsite (you will also get charged if you try to camp anywhere else in and around Skógar because the land belongs to the same people), Skógasafn – the folk museum, Fossbúð – a burger and chips restaurant/shop. Also, there is a population of roughly 25 people during summertime, living in a few scattered houses and farms.
If you plan on staying in Skógar for a night or two, make sure to go food shopping beforehand. The closest shops are either in Hvolsvöllur or in Vík!
Important note – restaurants in the south close at 9 p.m.
So if you plan on staying in Skógar, be aware that the next best shopping possibilities – meaning smaller supermarkets – are either in Vík which is about 45km south along the N1, or Hvolsvöllur, about 40km north of Skógar. In both towns, you’ll also find the closest Vinbuð (off license) and swimming pools. So come prepared or at least be aware of the travel time.
The museum might be the place to go to if you are unfortunate with the weather. When it comes to Skógasafn, which was founded in 1949, opinions are divided. For some, it is a rather massive collection of random stuff from former times; for others, it is a beautiful collection of items reflecting the history of the area. Best is to go there and to make up your own mind.
If you go, you might meet Þórður Tómasson, who is the founder and has been and still is the curator of the museum since its opening in 1949! In that sense, he became a coryphée himself – and somewhat of a celebrity in the area. He is at least 90 by now and still active in greeting his visitors as far as we know.