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Top 9 Waterfalls to See in Iceland


Gullfoss Waterfall

gullfoss iceland

Gullfoss waterfall is known to many people as Iceland’s most popular and recognizable waterfall. The name Gullfoss actually means “golden falls”. It was given that name because of the glacial sediment in the water that turns the falls a gold color in the sunlight. The popularity of Gullfoss waterfall could be because of many factors. The top factor would be its close proximity to Reykjavík.

This waterfall is located in south central Iceland and on the White River. The best times to visit Gullfoss waterfall is early in the morning at sunrise or in the evening at sunset. Photo opportunities will be best at these times and there will be less tourist. This waterfall is a wide and fast waterfall and falls 100 feet. It produces a thick mist and you can often see single and double rainbows over the falls.


Glymur Waterfall

glymur waterfall

Photo by Bruno Kneubuhler

Glymur waterfall is Iceland’s highest waterfall. This waterfall is about an hour from Reykjavik. The waterfall itself is 198 meters high and is hidden within a canyon. It is recommended that you rent a car or book a tour to see Glymur waterfall.

To get to Glymur waterfall, it takes about hour of walking and hiking until you reach the falls. It is recommended that visitors be in moderate physical shape when visiting this waterfall. You will be hiking up steep hills, crossing streams, crawling through caves and walking along cliff edges. If you are adventurous, then this waterfall is for you. 


Háifoss Waterfall

The Háifoss waterfall is Iceland’s second highest waterfall and located in south Iceland. The waterfall is 122 meters high. It is recommended to have an SUV, when visiting this waterfall, as the drive can be very bumpy. When you arrive to Háifoss waterfall, it can take 5 – 6 hours of hiking downhill before you reach the bottom of the waterfall. 

When you finally reach the bottom of Háifoss waterfall, the views are magnificent. It is very common to see rainbows over this waterfall. Be careful when hiking down this waterfall as the edges have unstable cliffs. Many visitors spend time taking photos, walking around and eating lunch before hiking back up.


Dettifoss Waterfall

Dettifoss waterfall is the largest waterfall in Iceland and the most powerful in Europe. This waterfall is located in north Iceland. It is 100 meters wide and drops 45 meters to the canyon. We recommend viewing Dettifoss waterfall from the west for the best views, but the waterfall can be viewed from both sides of the river. 

This waterfall is so powerful that you can feel its power from kilometers away. Dettifoss waterfall is popular because it was featured in Ridley Scott’s 2012’s hit film Prometheus. This waterfall is most powerful at the top, but calms down at the bottom. Some people even spend the night at this waterfall in the summertime to capture the best photos of the Dettifoss waterfall.


Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is the most popular and touristy waterfall in Iceland. It is about an hour and a half from Reykjavik and is easy to access. This waterfall drops 60 meters over a cliff. Something very unique about this waterfall is that you can walk around it and behind it. The left side of the waterfall has a set of stairs that allows you to walk up the waterfall. 

If you decide to walk behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall, make sure to wear comfortable and durable shoes, as the stairs can be uneven, rocky and steep. You cannot walk all the way up the waterfall, but probably about a quarter of the way up. You will also want to wear a water resistant jacket, since you may get sprayed with some of the water from the waterfall. A lot of visitors say viewing the waterfall from behind will get you the best views. Rainbows are frequency seen at this waterfall on a sunny day. 


Hraunfossar Waterfall

Hraunfossar waterfall is known as the lava falls. When you translate hraunfossar, it means “lava falls”.  This waterfall is located in west Iceland and one hour driving time from Reykjavik. This waterfall is actually made up of a series of waterfalls that extend over 900 meters across. The Hraunfossar waterfall is not as popular as other waterfalls in Iceland, but has very unique and scenic views. 

The water for the Hraunfossar waterfall actually surfaces from underneath the Gráhraun Lava Field and flows into the Hvítá River. The uniqueness of this waterfall is that it is being carried by lava tubes, so you cannot visually see where the water is coming from. Barnafoss waterfall is also a short distance away. 


Skógafoss Waterfall

Skógafoss waterfall is another popular waterfall in Iceland. It is located in south Iceland and easy to access. This waterfall is 60 meters high and 25 meters wide. There is also a very popular hiking trail located next to this waterfall called the Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail.

There is a legend that goes with the Skógafoss waterfall. Many believe that the first viking to ever settle near Skógafoss waterfall buried treasure behind the waterfall. Maybe that is why there is a saying that there is treasure at the end of a rainbow. Rainbows are frequently seen over this waterfall.

A lot of visitors even choose to camp out by Skógafoss waterfall, as it can be most cost effective. You pay per tent and per person. There are also restrooms, hot showers and an area to prepare food. The Gljúfrafoss waterfall is a short distance away. If you have the time, visiting Gljúfrafoss is a must. It reminds one a bit of a tropical waterfall seen in locations such as Hawaii or Thailand.


Dynjandi Waterfall

Dynjandi waterfall is known as the best waterfall of the Westfjords and is a series of 7 waterfalls. To many people this waterfall is known as “Fjallfoss”. It is located in northwest Iceland. This waterfall plunges over a cliff top and has a combined height of 100 meters and is 30 meters wide at the top and 60 meters wide at the bottom. 

Dynjandi waterfall is a hidden waterfall, but a very picturesque waterfall. It has stunning views at every angle. It is known to be very accessible and tourist friendly. You can also hike up the waterfall and many visitors have called this an easy hike. The best time to visit this waterfall is in the summer. 


Svartifoss Waterfall

Svartifoss waterfall is another popular waterfall in Iceland. It is located in south Iceland and inside the Skaftafell National Park. This waterfall is 12 meters high. Reaching this waterfall is an easy and scenic 40 minutes hike slightly uphill. Along the hike, you will pass 3 other waterfalls. 

Svartifoss waterfall is hidden and surrounded by black basalt columns, hence it’s nickname the “black falls”. There is also a small bridge close to the falls that was built by the National Park. This bridge allows for more photo opportunities from different angles. The views of the Svartifoss waterfall are very picturesque and so is the hike.

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