There is something hypnotizing in waterfalls. The foaming water falling with a roar works like a magnet on us and enchants with its mystery. Besides hot springs, waterfalls have also attracted hundreds of tourists. Even though some of them are hidden and almost impassable. Some of them can only be seen from the air view, others will only be accessible from a boat. For all of the waterfalls' lovers, we have some good news. The biggest waterfalls in Iceland are available at your fingertips and are waiting for you to admire them.
Unmissable waterfalls in Iceland
Iceland is home to over 10 000 waterfalls. It is a real land of waterfalls. You will be able to find one in practically every part of the island. Some of them are well known and their photos can be found in almost every tourist guide. Those are compared with the biggest waterfalls in Europe and even in the world. Others are less famous but equally beautiful and worth seeing. Blended into the extraordinary landscapes of Iceland, all of them are captivating, no matter what their volume is. With such a significant number, however, it is simply impossible for you to see them all. The biggest ones in water volume are the most impressive and are on almost every tourist bucket lost.
Literally meaning, the Golden waterfall can be divided into two cascades. Its great location makes it one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland. Gullfoss is part of the Golden Circle route, the most popular one among all tourists coming to Iceland. It is located at around a 2-hour drive from Reykjavik, the capital city. It is located on the Hvita river which comes from the Langjokull glacier. The way the water flows down on the two rock ledges shows the power and the raw force of nature. During the summer, around 140 cubic meters flow down the waterfall every second. Do not be surprised if by approaching the edges too close, you will simply get wet. This, however, will make you feel how powerful this waterfall is and remind you not to take it for granted. There are two viewpoints from which you can observe the waterfall, and you should check them both. The first one will let you have a look at the overall of the waterfall and its surrounding canyon. The other one is located between the two cascades. Make sure you watch where you take your steps as the rocks are very slippery.
Dettifoss is a must-see among the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. It has always been the most popular waterfall among all tourists coming to Iceland. It partially gained its fame thanks to the Prometheus movie directed by Ridley Scott. The starting scene was filmed at the edge of the Dettifoss waterfall.
Around 400 cubic meters flow down the waterfall every second in summer. It should give you an idea of how powerful the cascade is. However, if that does not appeal to you yet, stand a bit closer and touch the surrounding rocks. You will feel it on your own skin. Dettifoss waterfall owes its power to the glacier river Jokulsa a Fjollum, which comes out of Europe's biggest glacier Vatnajokull. It belongs to the Vatnajokull National Park and is around 75 kilometers away from Myvatn.
Once arrived at Dettifoss, which side should you direct yourself to? There are two routes that can lead you to one, or the other side of the waterfall. The easier way is the one which will get you to the Westside. The more problematic one is the route that takes you to the Eastern bank of the waterfall. This one is entirely gravel so remember to check first if the roads are open at the time you are traveling. You will find parking on both sides so you can leave your rental vehicle safe there.
Skogafoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. While it makes a great impression when you stand just in front of the cascade, you will also have an opportunity to look at it from the top. On the right side of the waterfall, there are stairs that lead to the view platform. From there you can see Skogafoss from a very different perspective. It is 25 meters wide and 60 meters high which makes it one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. There is a constant mist that rises at the waterfall. If you are lucky enough and visit Skogafoss on a sunny day, you will see the rainbow which appears thanks to the mist.
It is located near the Eyjafjallajokull volcano- yes, the one that paralyzed the whole of Europe in 2010. It is right next to Skogar village, near road number 1, the Ring Road. It makes it really easily accessible, even with a standard car or an RV. As you know, many of the Icelandic landscapes were used as a background for well-known movies and series. Skogafoss was staring in the "Vikings" and Marvel's "Thor: The dark world".
The second most popular and personally, my favorite waterfall is Seljalandsfoss. It is around 60 meters high. It is located right on the Ring Road, and this place is always full of people. Everyone passing by will stop by to admire this waterfall. No wonder why. This is one of those waterfalls in which you can go behind the cascade. Makes an impression, believe me. This is the greatest attraction of this place and to be honest, I think the waterfall gains much from this perspective. The view from behind the waterfall is really amazing and worth getting completely wet. Make sure you put on a waterproof jacket while visiting the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The experience will be much better in dry clothes. The beauty of this waterfall is one of the reasons why Iceland became such a popular tourist destination nowadays.
Godafoss can be translated as "The waterfall of Gods" and has its place in the history of Iceland. This is where all the gods' figures were thrown when Iceland decided on its conversion to Christianity. Godafoss has the shape of a horseshoe and is divided into three cascades. It is definitely one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland and of course, one of the biggest ones. Godafoss waterfall is located in North Iceland, near Myvatn Lake. If you are visiting Myvatn or Askja, you should definitely add Godafoss to your itinerary.
Haifoss is a 122-meter-heigh waterfall located near the Hekla volcano on the Fossa river. Its drop is steep and mesmerizing. The literal translation of its name, which in Icelandic is spelled as Háifoss is "Tall Falls". Makes sense, right? It does not belong to the most popular waterfalls due to its hidden location. If you approach the waterfall from the south side, you will be able to leave your car in the parking lot nearby. From there, we do recommend to do the Haifoss hike to get below the waterfall. It is around 3.7 km long and is worth all the effort. Do pack properly for hiking. Make sure you take some good hiking shoes with you as there are some rocky parts of the path which can be quite problematic without them.
Each of Iceland's waterfalls is unique in its own way, but you will definitely remember this one. The Gljufrabui waterfall is partially hidden in the rocks. From the outside, you can only see the upper part of the cascade. To be able to see the whole waterfall, you will need to get inside the rocky cave. It flows from the Gljufur river and has 40 meters high, which makes it one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. It is not that easy to get inside the canyon as it might seem. The only way to get to the bottom of the cascade is to follow the path through the river stepping on the protruding stones. Put on some waterproof jacket as you will get wet as the water will splash against the rocks. The view is amazing, especially on a sunny day when the Sun's rays illuminate the falling water drops.