It’s no secret that Iceland doesn’t have a shortage of water, but do you know how many magnificent waterfalls in Iceland there are? In this article, we guide you through the top 10. The benefits of water are legion. It has been scientifically proven that minerals in the sea air reduce stress. The negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain and improve mental energy and alertness. Those are specially present at waterfalls.
If this is the case, we can understand why Icelanders are considered to be some of the happiest people on earth. It has been recorded that there can be up to 10 000 waterfalls in Iceland.
Most famous waterfalls in Iceland
Don't worry, you don’t need to set aside years to visit them. We’ve broken these down into the 10 best waterfalls in Iceland.
1. Haifoss Waterfall
Haifoss is a popular stop on the Golden Circle road trip route.At an impressive 122 meters, Haifoss has earned itself the title of one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland. When first discovered this giant was actually believed to have been the tallest in all of Europe.
But, as with any king, it was bound to be dethroned at some points with usurpers locally and throughout the rest of Europe. Haifoss is somewhat of a hidden gem since it cannot be reached by car easily. The gravel road that will take you there is somewhat challenging, but you can still get closer if you've booked a 4x4 rental in Iceland: simply leave your car at the parking area and walk to the waterfall to enjoy this marvel of nature!
2. Gullfoss Waterfall
Gulfoss literally means “Golden Falls”. It is definitely the golden child of waterfalls when it comes to famous waterfalls in Iceland. It’s actually known as one of the top 30 things to do in Iceland. Gulfoss is one of the two-tiered waterfalls of Iceland and drops 32 meters into a narrow, but deep, canyon.
This is also what causes one of its claim-to-fame photo ops with a misty spray rising from the depths that often produces rainbows on sunny days. Unlike some of the other waterfalls, Gulfoss waterfall is easily reachable and is just a short footpath down to the platform from which you can experience the waterfall in all its glory.
3. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
When it comes to infamy, this waterfall almost feels like the one that saw all the attention the others were getting and had a “hold my beer” moment. Seljalandsfoss waterfall today is officially one of the most photographed of all the falls in Iceland.
The biggest reason for this is that there is a space behind this narrow, 60 meter-tall tower of water that visitors can walk behind.
4. Dettifoss Waterfall
This one is for all the sci-fi fans out there. Not only is it one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland, but it was also featured in the famous Ridley Scott movie, Prometheus. What makes Dettifoss so impressive (excluding its 5 minutes of cinematic fame) is that it’s the biggest waterfall in Europe by volume and definitely the most powerful waterfall in Iceland.
The waterfall is situated in the Vatnajokull National Park in the Northern part of Iceland. It spans a remarkable 100 meters in width whilst pumping out a staggering 200 cubic meters of water every second! The saying “Hear me roar!” has never been as applicable to any waterfall. The water itself is also quite unique since it has a grey-white colour because of the sediment-rich runoffs.
5. Skogafoss Waterfall
This is one of Iceland’s most famous glaciar waterfalls and one of the most dramatic with its 25-meter width and 60-meter height. And for those who personally know the “double rainbow guy” of YouTube; please tell him not to go to Skogafoss.
The excitement might simply be too much as photographers flock to this spot to take photos of the double rainbows that form in the spray on sunny days.
6. Gljúfrabúi Waterfall
If you like to take the road less traveled, Gljúfrabúi will be right up your alley. The fact that locals refer to it as “the hidden waterfall” should tell you that this is not your run-of-the-mill tourist attraction.
To reach this hidden gem, one has to wade into a small stream and go through a narrow opening in a cliff. It will feel like you have entered a wonderland as mossy rocks surround you on all sides with the waterfall pouring down on you from up high.
7. Svartifoss Waterfall
The name translates to “Black Falls” and you only need to take one look at this unique waterfall to understand why. This waterfall flows against the backdrop of cliffs comprised of Hexagonal Basalt columns. These pillars that look like black stone Legos were used to create this magnificent scene.
Svartifoss is situated in Skaftafell which is a nature reserve within Vatnajökull National Park. The fall cannot be reached by car and you’ll need to take a 2.5-kilometre hike from the Skaftafell visitor centre. But don’t worry, it’s a fairly relaxed walk on a clearly marked trail.
8. Hengifoss Waterfall
This is yet another one of the most interesting waterfalls in Iceland. Hengifoss takes the bronze when it comes to the race of being the tallest waterfall in Iceland and clocks in at 128 meters. What makes this waterfall so significant is the bright red clay surrounding the gorge that the waterfall cascades into.
For those who have any interest in archaeology, this will also be a must-see. Scientists have discovered fossilised trees within these rocks! As an added bonus, the waterfall lies in East Iceland. The area is known for its quirky little towns so your waterfall visit might end up being a day trip filled with stops along the way.
9. Dynjandi Waterfall
When it comes to tiered waterfalls in Iceland, Dynjandi really stepped up its game. This waterfall is so multi-tiered that it’s often referred to as a veil or wedding cake. The waterfall flows over 30 to 60 meters of multiple layers of rock winning it the title as largest waterfall in the Westfjords.
Visiting the Dynjandi Waterfall is also like a buy one get six free offer since the 15-minute hike to the falls will have you pass six others that are worth taking a breather at.
10. Hraunfossar Waterfall
What’s better than just one waterfall? Multiple waterfalls! And that’s exactly what Hraunfossar offers. Small streams pour over the edge of the Hallmundarhraun lava field and flow into the Hvita glacier river. These streams with the vegetation at the top almost make it seem like waterfall trees etched against the dark rock. If you just need a spot to relax and take in the beauty, this is the place to be.
Visiting Waterfalls in Iceland
If you’re planning waterfall excursions on your next visit to Iceland and are not part of a tour group, you won’t be able to rely on public transportation to get to these spots. They are all pretty far apart and some require a 4x4 vehicle. For any/all vehicle enquiries you are welcome to contact us here. And once we meet, feel free to ask us about the other 9990 waterfalls in Iceland ;-)