Iceland’s Most Beautiful Waterfalls

Dec 28, 2015 0 comments

Iceland is often called the land of waterfalls. Indeed, there are literally hundreds of these natural beauties all over the country. From the powerful Dettifoss to the majestic Svartifoss, they are the country’s most recognizable attraction.

Being located between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, Iceland’s climate is influenced by both. The warm North Atlantic climate produces frequent rain and snow, while the near-Arctic location produces large glaciers, whose summer melts feed many rivers. These streams of the water fall over numerous ridges in this volcanic island creating innumerable waterfalls. While all of them are majestic, there are some that are favorites among tourists.



Gullfoss, or the Golden Falls is Iceland’s most popular tourist attraction. The waterfall is located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. About a kilometre above the falls, the Hvita river turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages into a crevice 32 meters deep.


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The Dettifoss, located in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland, is said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It is also the largest waterfall in Europe in terms of volume discharge, having an average water flow of 193 cubic meter per second. The waterfall is so powerful that it makes the surrounding rocks vibrate, the vibrations can be felt by hand. The waterfall is 100 meters wide and have a drop of 45 meters down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.


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The Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland with a width of 25 meters and a drop of 60 meters. Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, rainbows are often seen whenever the sun is out. The waterfall is situated on the Skógá River in the south of Iceland.


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The Goðafoss or “waterfall of the gods” is located in the Bárðardalur district of North-Central Iceland. The waterfalls is short and flat, falling from a height of only 12 meters but having a width of 30 meters. Being very close to the Ring Road, it’s very popular among tourists.


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Photo credit: A/Flickr


Seljalandsfoss is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Iceland, located between two other falls —Selfoss and Skógafoss. This waterfall of the river Seljalandsá drops 60 meters over the cliffs of the former coastline. It is also possible to walk behind the waterfall making for some fantastic photo opportunities.


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Photo credit: Diego Delso/Wikimedia


Hraunfossar or “lava falls” is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 meters out of the Hallmundarhraun, a lava field which flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the glacier Langjökull. The waterfalls pour into the Hvítá river from ledges of the rock in the lava.


Photo credit: Jonathan/Flickr


Photo credit: Aevar Guðmundsson/Flickr


Dynjandi, also known as Fjallfoss or "Mountain Falls" is a series of waterfalls with a cumulative height of 100 meters. The uppermost falls is usually the most photographed one because of its unusual trapezoidal shape. This section of the fall is about 30 meters wide at the top and 60 meters wide at the bottom.


Photo credit: Sigurður Þ Sigurjónsson/Flickr


Photo credit: Gil Eilam/Flickr


Hengifoss in Hengifossá in Fljótsdalshreppur, East Iceland, looks very beautiful because of the surrounding cliff whose basaltic layers are separated by thin layers of red clay giving the mountains a stripped appearance. Hengifoss is also the third highest waterfall in Iceland at 128 meters.


Photo credit: Jürgen Klose/


Brúarfoss or “bridge waterfall” is Iceland’s best kept secret. Many people, including Icelanders themselves, have never heard of this place. It is not visible from the road and there are no signs directing you to it. There is not even a Wikipedia article about this falls.

Brúarfoss derives its name from a natural stone arch that was over the river near the waterfall in earlier times. Legend has it that in the 16th century, the butler in Skálholt ordered the arch to be broken to prevent beggars and vagabonds from entering the Skálholt land. Justice was served when the butler drowned in Brúará River shortly after.

This fascinating waterfall is composed of hundreds of tiny streams and waterfalls running into a deep, icy blue gap.


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Svartifoss  or ”Black Fall” in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, is surrounded by spectacular hanging hexagonal basalt columns. These basalt columns are such a distinctive feature of the falls that it is said to have provided inspiration for Icelandic architects, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík, and also the National Theatre.


Photo credit: Andrés Nieto Porras/Flickr


Photo credit: Ethan Trewhitt/Flickr


The Aldeyjarfoss waterfall is situated in the north of Iceland at the northern part of the Sprengisandur Highland Road. One of the most interesting features of the waterfall is the contrast between the black basalt columns, similar to the ones in Svartifoss but not nearly as pronounced, and the powdery white waters of the fall that attest to its glacial origins.


Photo credit: 500px


Photo credit: Peter Racz/Panoramio


Hjálparfoss or “helping falls” is a unique double waterfall that joins at its base into a very large plunge pool surrounded by some rugged lava formations. Hjálparfoss is located about 30 kilometers east of the village Flúðir in the lava fields north of the stratovolcano Hekla.


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