The 15 x most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland? Where to find them?
Iceland is known for its breathtaking waterfalls and there are quite a lot of them. We made an overview of the waterfalls that you should definitely pass by during your visit in Iceland.
An overview with the most beautiful "Fossen" that you can find in Iceland, ... do you see a name with Foss (= Icelandic for waterfall) at the back? Then you will definitely be led to a waterfall. Our 15 x favorites + ticket.
Organised tours and excursions in Iceland
Map of the waterfalls
The 20-m high Svartifoss (“black waterfall”) consists of six-sided columns of black basalt (hence its name). You can visit the waterfall via the trail that starts on the left of the information centre. The hike to the waterfall takes about 90 minutes (round trip). Along the way you’ll pass the Hundafoss waterfall.
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is situated on the river Seljalandsá. The waterfall is 60 m high and falls straight down onto the former shoreline, which has formed a small lake in the middle of a green pasture. You can walk along a path behind the waterfall, where you will find a cave that lets you look through the waterfall: a very special view. Please note that the path is slippery.
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is lit up at night, which creates a captivating spectacle.
Close by Seljalandsfoss is the Gljúfrafoss waterfall. Something not many tourists know, is that the 'famous brother', Seljalandsfoss, is only a few hundred meters away. If you are in front of Seljalandsfoss, follow the path to the left. Keep following this path and you will automatically arrive at the entrance of the waterfall. This waterfall is unique because it is situated in a completely mossy, cylindrical chamber inside a rock. It can be reached only through a narrow passage.
Skógafoss waterfall is 60 m high and 25 m wide. It is located in the town of Skógar (“forests”), situated on the Skógá. Just like other waterfalls in this area, the water pours down on what was once the coastline. This line retreated during the last ice age because the soils in the region were pushed up. It can now be found 5 km inland. The former cliffs form a distinct barrier between the lowland and highland.
A legend of rainbows and pots of gold is associated with the Skógafoss waterfall. The story is still regularly told, and it goes as follows: Þrasi Þórólfsson, one of the first Vikings who conquered the country, was rumoured to have hidden a treasure behind the waterfall. Local residents managed to find the chest of gold a few years later, but they could only grab the ring used to carry the chest. The chest disappeared into thin air, and only the ring remained. According to legend it was donated to the local church.
Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall) is a double waterfall situated on the Hvítá (“white”) river. The two sets of stairs are perpendicular to each other. The entire waterfall is about 32 m high and provides stunning views. When visiting the falls, you will immediately notice a lot of spraying mist. Because of this, you can often see rainbows.
Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss waterfalls
Hengifoss waterfall is one of the highest in Iceland. The Litlanesfoss is not as high and is therefore sometimes skipped, which is a shame, considering it is a fantastically beautiful waterfall surrounded by thick basalt pillars. The Litlanesfoss flows into the lower Lagarfljót. This river is 2.5 km at its widest point, and because of this, it looks more like a lake. The Lagarfljót plays an important role in local folklore: there is said to be a monster living in it that is comparable to the monster of Loch Ness.
Near Litlanesfoss you will find Skriðuklaustur, a historical site where you can visit the ruins of a monastery from the 16th century, as well as the home of writer Gunnar Gunnarsson.
Dettifoss, Selfoss and Hafragilsfoss
The Dettifoss waterfall is 44 m high and up to 100 m wide. It is the most powerful waterfall in Iceland. The area around Dettifoss is part of the Jökulsárgljúfur (glacial river gorge) area. From the car park to the waterfall, it is about a 1 km walk to the vantage point from which to view the waterfall.
From the Dettifoss waterfall, you can walk a 1.5 km-long trail to another waterfall situated more upstream, the Selfoss waterfall (not to be confused with Selfoss town!-).
A little farther downstream from Dettifoss, you can find the 27-m-high cascade called Hafragilsfoss. This is harder to reach and only recommended for adventurers who are in good shape and want to defy some steep climbs.
Goðafoss (“waterfall of the gods”) got its name in the year 1000, when Iceland changed from its old Ásatrú religion to Christianity. With this Christianization, Thorgeir Ljósvetningagoði threw the images of the Viking gods into the waterfall, symbolizing that he rejected the old religion.
You can visit the waterfalls from both the western and the eastern shores. The western side is most easily reached from the car park. For the viewing platform on the eastern shore, you have to take a short walk of 1 km from the restaurant until the bridge. As a reward, you’ll get the best view!
The beautiful Kirkjufellsfoss is located on the 463 meter high Kirkjufell mountain. The waterfall consists of three small waterfalls that all come together in the Kirkjufellsá river. If you go all the way down it is possible to walk behind the waterfall.
Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls
Hraunfossar is a 900-meter long waterfall that streams down over the lava rocks. A little farther upstream on the river Hvítá, you can also visit the Barnafoss waterfall (“children’s waterfall”), named after two brothers who drowned here when they walked over a lava stone bridge. It takes about 20-30 minutes to walk through the whole domain.
Dyanjandi or Fjallfoss waterfall
The Dyanjandi (or Fjallfoss) waterfall consists of a staircase of waterfalls. The waterfall can be found in the west fjords. It is certainly one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, precisely because it is so unique.
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