After travelling around Iceland for ten days earlier this year with my family, I’ve come to know Iceland as not only the land of fire and ice, but the land of waterfalls. Lots and lots of majestic waterfalls!
As waterfalls can be formed through melting glaciers, it comes at no surprise really that Iceland has been blessed with so many magnificent waterfalls. These powerful cascades can be found all over the island, even in the most unlikely of places. There are so many that you couldn’t possibly see them all in such a short space of time… but you can definitely give it a good go. I’ve put together a list of 14 must-see waterfalls in Iceland, and I suggest you try to see as many as you possibly can!
Want to know where to find these waterfalls? Click here for the full interactive map!
Öxaráfoss is probably the first waterfall you’ll come across if you’re driving along the Golden Circle route. Located within the Þingvellir National Park, it’s a short walk to the waterfall from the car park (one of the few places you have to pay for parking in Iceland).
Gullfoss is one of the more famous waterfalls in Iceland due to its location in the popular Golden Circle route. There’s always the worry with tourist spots that they won’t live up to the hype, but Gullfoss completely lived up to expectation! It gave us a sense of what we could expect from Iceland. I was impressed by its sheer power, and we even got there in time to spot a rainbow. Always a bonus!
Not the most impressive waterfall but worth a visit nevertheless, especially as you can eat your lunch overlooking the falls! Urriðafoss is the most voluminous waterfall in the country, and requires driving down a short gravel road to see in all its glory.
There’s a reason why the south of Iceland is such a popular route for tourists, and it all begins with Seljalandsfoss! This stunning waterfall is unique in that you can actually walk behind it. Remember to take a raincoat, as you’ll get soaked! This was definitely one of my favourite waterfalls in Iceland.
Walk five minutes to the left of Seljalandsfoss and you’ll be rewarded with yet another magnificent waterfall! Gljúfrafoss is hidden inside a rock crevice, so you’ll have to walk over a small stream to get inside. You’ll definitely get your feet wet, but once through the crack you’ll have an incredible view of the waterfall within the interior of the cave.
Another gem of the south coast is Skógafoss! You’ve probably come across a picture of this waterfall before. There are stairs to the right where you can walk up and get a birds-eye view. Trust me, Skógafoss looks magnificent from every angle!
Hengifoss & Litlanesfoss
It’s a little more effort to get to Hengifoss (a 2 hour walk to be precise) but it’s definitely worth it! The third highest waterfall in Iceland is surrounded by a colourful rock face made up of red clay and layers of basalt rock, which highlight previous volcanic eruptions! On the way you’ll pass another waterfall; Litlanesfoss, which is surrounded by impressive basalt columns.
I love the sense of excitement that comes with hearing waterfalls before you can see them, and that has never been more prominent than with Dettifoss, as water plunges over the edge of Europe’s most powerful waterfall! It takes around a thirty minute drive from the ring road to reach the car park, and a further half an hours walk to reach the waterfall.
Whilst you’ve probably heard of Dettifoss, it’s lesser-known neighbour Selfoss is also much worth a visit! The two share the same car park and are located about 700m apart. I couldn’t help feeling that Selfoss had a little extra something special when I visited.
You can’t miss Godafoss if you’re travelling all the way around the ring road. With a name that translates to ‘Waterfall of the Gods’ you can expect great things. The name derives from an interesting piece of history; in the year 1000 statues of the Norse Gods were thrown into this waterfall when Christianty was made the official religion of Iceland. It’s now seen as a symbol of the countries conversion and it’s mighty impressive!
Kolufossar Falls can be found in the northern region of Iceland, more precisely in the Kolugljufur ravine. The legend goes that this was once home to the giantess Kola the troll – hence the falls being named after her! Don’t you just love a back story?
Dynjandi is the crown jewel of the westfjords! When we first spotted the waterfall in the distance I was doubting its grandeur, but as we got nearer I understood exactly why it makes an appearance on the usual lists of top-10 things to see in Iceland. Dynjandi is a series of seven different waterfalls, each one before acting as a precursor to the main event. It’ll be hard not to be impressed with this waterfall as the water powerfully cascades down each tier!
Kirkjufellsfoss in the Snæfellsness peninsular isn’t the most magnificent waterfall, but it has one of the most beautiful back-drops! The combination of the waterfall and the Kirkjufell mountain provides photographers with the perfect setting for a stunning picture. If you’re heading to the west, don’t miss this one!
Have you experienced any other waterfalls in Iceland that I’ve missed?
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