Thousands of people travel to Iceland every year to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle that are the waterfalls that dominate the countryside. Waterfalls are unique in that they captivate the mind. There is something naturally visceral and tantalizing about watching them. Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice, but it could also be called the land of a million waterfalls! Here is a look at the most beautiful waterfalls located in Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss has dominated social media in recent years, and for a good reason. The falls are fed from the river Seljalandsá and initially, it was actually fed by glacier water. Situated on the southern coast of Iceland, these falls are unique due to the height of the cascade and geological features surrounding it. With water plunging down roughly 60 meters (200 feet), visitors can’t help but get the feeling that the water is coming from the heavens. Also, these rapids have the unique distinction of being able to walk underneath them. This affords an incredible photo taking opportunity that you aren’t likely to forget.
Dettifoss is like a thunderstorm; you can hear it before you reach it. Iceland hold’s the distinction of having not only the largest glacier in Europe but also her most powerful waterfall. Walking to the edges of Dettifoss is truly the ultimate experience. Water rushes off the side of a craggy cliff and careens into the waters below. You can’t help but feel like at any moment the earth is going to tear itself in two upon seeing this waterfall plunge into the depths below. At 100 meters wide with a 45-meter drop this thing is a behemoth. Make your way to northern Iceland to see this spectacle in action.
Nestled in southern Iceland, this rainbow producing waterfall comfortably rests at number three on our list. The falls here produce so much mist that rainbows regularly surround the them. Not as powerful as Dettifoss, it is still a massive waterfall. At 25 meters wide with a 60-meter drop, the powerful waters pound into the ground below. This site is my favorite because of the surroundings in which it is situated. Mossy cliffs of emerald green dominate the landscape around the falls, and it gives the entire scene an otherworldly feel to it. Also, for the brave, you can actually walk under the falls at their base. Word to the wise, bring a heavy duty rain jacket and avoid jeans if you are planning to walk under the falls because you are going to get soaked.
Making our way to west Iceland, we find arguably the most interesting waterfall in the world, Hraunfossar. It is not actually one waterfall, but a collection of an assortment of tiny little waterfalls. Directly below the lava fields of Hallmundarhraun these little falls seemingly leak straight out of the earth and into the waters below. This entire area was formed after a volcanic eruption, and as such the rocks in the area take on a porous and spongy appearance. When you first arrive at this site, it can be confusing, because it would seem there is no water feeding the falls. Instead, the water just appears. A truly captivating location in Iceland.
Finally, we have the “golden falls,” also known as Gullfoss. Often regarded as a must-see attraction in Iceland, due to its proximity to the Golden Circle travel route and its size, Gullfoss falls are actually not one, but two waterfalls in one! Everyone loves two for the price of one! Yet again, these falls are glacier fed (picking up on the pattern?). The first falls have a drop measuring 11 meters, while the second part of the falls cascades another 21 meters. Canyon walls surround these falls, and they can reach heights upwards of 70 meters. The falls are less powerful in the winter, but in the summer they can really start to pick up.
Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Iceland
Waterfalls, for most people, are not a common occurrence in everyday life. Here in Iceland, it seems like they are a dime a dozen. But, that isn’t a bad thing. Being this closely tied to nature, I think makes us more grounded. Seeing something as powerful as the Dettifoss falls or something as beautiful as the Seljalandsfoss falls is a constant reminder to stay humble. If you are in Iceland just for a brief time, or you live here, I urge you to spend time at any of the previously mentioned falls. You may find something out about yourself, or life, that you never could see just by watching the water tumble down and contemplating.