Top 10 Must See Waterfalls in Iceland

  • by Irena
  • Good to Know
  • 3 Jul 2017

Iceland's reputation is built upon the breathtaking waterfalls that adorn this island nation, and in this guide, we invite you on a captivating visual expedition to explore the top 10 must-visit cascades...

Top 10 Must See Waterfalls in Iceland

Welcome to Iceland. For those new to this beautiful and magnificent country, we want to give you a countdown  to the TOP 10 must see waterfalls to see during your stay. Lovers of waterfalls or not, no one can deny the pure tranquility and majestic power they give.

10. Dettifoss waterfall

Dettifoss is Europe’s most powerful waterfall

MEANING: Detti (Fall or fall down) Foss (waterfall) ….Not the most creative name choice.
FACT: Dettifoss is Europe’s most powerful waterfall. This waterfall runs from the Vatnajökull glacier.
LOCATION: Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland

NEED TO KNOW: From the parking lot it’s a 30 minutes walk. By the time you reach the falls, you will be completely drenched by the drops and mist blown away from the waterfall… don’t forget your waterproof!

 9. Gullfoss waterfall

The most visited waterfalls of the whole country, as part of the “Golden circle”

MEANING: “the Golden falls”

FACT: The most visited waterfalls of the whole country, as part of the “Golden circle”

LOCATION: Hvítá river in Southwest Iceland

NEED TO KNOW:. A very slippery trail descends to the gorge carved out by the falls and leads to brinks of both the lower and upper tiers of Gullfoss. On sunny days, you can enjoy a shimmering rainbow over the falls. You will probably end wet from the mist generated by this powerful waterfall, but it’s worth it!

8. Hengifoss/ Litlanesfoss waterfalls

This is a two for one and for those experienced hikers.

The top of Hengifoss is about 450 meters above the sea level making this one of the highest waterfalls in the country

MEANING: Hengi “hanging“ Foss”waterfall“

FACT: The top of Hengifoss is about 450 meters above the sea level making this one of the highest waterfalls in the country.

LOCATION: Hengifossá in Fljótsdalshreppur, East Iceland

NEED TO KNOW: To reach the waterfall, you have to pass near a first waterfall,Litlanesfoss, with its surrounding basalt columns, at 2 km from the car park. The hike seems short but it is quite steep!

7. Selfoss waterfall

Selfoss, Iceland holidays

MEANING: Not a sure meaning behind the name but the Town is named after it.

FACT: It is a horseshoe-shaped waterfall, the falls are not very high (11 meters) but gorgeous.

LOCATION: On the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum in the north of Iceland, inside the Vatnajokull National Park

NEED TO KNOW: There is a short straightforward walking path upstream of Dettifoss. Many people will stop at Dettifoss and go no further …

 6. Goðafoss waterfall

Goðafoss, Iceland vacation

MEANING: ”the waterfall of the Gods”

FACT: Nicknamed by some locals as “The Beauty” in comparison to “The Beast” (which is Dettifoss).

LOCATION: Bárðardalur district of North-Central Iceland at the beginning of the Sprengisandur highland road

NEED TO KNOW:  The east side offers the best views for photographers, with paths to the river base, and a good view of Geitafoss, Goðafoss´s little sister. On the west side you can reach the brink of the falls themselves, but due to the parking facilities, this side may be a little busier at peak times.

5. Hraunfossar waterfall

Hraunfossar, things to do in Iceland

MEANING: ”lava falls”

FACT: Consists of countless springs of clear water emerging from under the edge of the Grahraun Lava Fieldand flowing into the Hvítá river

LOCATION:  Highlands, six kilometers West of Húsafell

NEED TO KNOW: This is a very beautiful and not far off the roadside to go to. It is a 2 minute walk and looking at the bright blue water, you can imagine just how cold it is.

4. Dynjandi  waterfall

6 waterfalls, 1 stop!

Hæstahjallafoss, Strompgljúfrafoss, Göngumannafoss,Hrísvaðsfoss, Hundafoss and Bæjarfoss

MEANING: ”the Mountain Falls”

FACT: This is in fact a series of waterfalls, with a cumulative height of 100 meters. 6 cascades connected the glacial water to the sea. The names of the other waterfalls are Hæstahjallafoss, Strompgljúfrafoss, Göngumannafoss,Hrísvaðsfoss, Hundafossand Bæjarfoss.

LOCATION: Westfjords

NEED TO KNOW: This waterfall came from Dynjandisá river, a glacial river that dropped off a cliff, forming a bride’s veil shape waterfall that was approximately 30 meters wide at its top and 60 meters at its bottom. 45 minute hike to the top.

3. Kolufossar waterfall

Kolufossar, Iceland tours

MEANING: ”Kola the troll”

FACT: Kolugljúfur is a beautiful gorge (20-25 m deep and 2 km long) situated in the North of Iceland.You can reach these falls when driving West from Blönduós for about 50 km. Once you reach Kolugil Farm, which stands beside the Víðidalsá river, you are not that far away!

LOCATION: North of Iceland

NEED TO KNOW: The legend tells this was the home of Kola the troll and the waterfall inside this gorge was named after her. Kolufossar is breathtaking, with the numerous falls plunging into a deep gorge.

2. Hjálparfoss waterfall

Hjálparfoss, Trips to Iceland

MEANING: ”the Helping Waterfall”

FACT: Perfect waterfall to see during a horseback ride.

LOCATION: South of Iceland, but at the entrance of the Highlands and quite far away from the coastline.

NEED TO KNOW: From the car park, it is an easy descending walking path to the falls. Hjálparfoss is a double waterfall that joined at its base, where the rivers Fossá and Þjórsá join, with a very awesome view.

1 . Skógafoss waterfall

Skógafoss, Iceland short breaks

MEANING: ”Forest waterfall”

FACT: Width of 25 meters and a drop of 60 meters.

LOCATION: South of Iceland

NEED TO KNOW: A trail leads to the top (via metal stairs to the right of the waterfall) and up to the Skógá river valley. Our most Iceland’s most beautiful and cherished waterfalls.

About the author
In 2010, Irena moved to Iceland, instantly enchanted by its breathtaking beauty. Her deep love for Icelandic culture and the natural surroundings fills her with excitement as she endeavors to convey these wonders to others through her photography and writing.

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