Iceland is a mystical land and also goes by the name “Land of Fire & Ice”. Due to the frequent snow, ice, rain and the deep, large glaciers, the waterfalls in Iceland are created from these elements melting and feeding into the many rivers resulting in waterfalls.
What you get as a result, is a large number of very unique waterfalls displaying power and backdrops of various magnitudes. For a small country like Iceland, this is a spectacular treat for visitors and locals alike.
There are over 200 waterfalls in Iceland that come in all shapes and sizes and for a small nation this is incredible in itself let alone the other geological forces of nature.
However, here we are simply going to choose the top 10 waterfalls in Iceland that we think you must see with your own eyes. The experience is awe inspiring to say the least.
Waterfalls in Iceland
Skógafoss – South Iceland
One of the most amazing waterfalls in Iceland. It is one of the biggest waterfalls, powerful and can be heard from a distance as the roaring waters hit the under-pool. It is approximately 20m wide and 60m tall. Translated into English, is is known as the Forest Falls which is situated on the Skógá River in the South Iceland region. There is a hiking/trekking trail on the east side that leads itself between two glaciers – Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. The constant spray of water that the powerful waterfall creates, in the right conditions normally in the summer, produces heavenly rainbows.
Hengifoss – East Iceland
The stunning narrow, but tall Hengifoss is located in East Iceland near Egilsstadir and Hengifossá. It’s 128m high and known to be the third tallest waterfall in Iceland. This area of East Iceland, particularly Hengifoss, is popular among hikers. Once you park your vehicle, the hike begins and it can take up to an hours before you reach the falls. The geological rock formations surrounding the waterfall is primarily made up of basaltic layers.
Godafoss – North Iceland
Also, known as the Waterfall of the Gods can be found between the town of Akureyri and Lake Myvatn which are also places of interest. The waterfall is fed by the Skjálfandafljót River with a height of 13m and a width of 30m including the rocky outcrop in the middle that splits the waterfall into two. The source of the water carried by the river flows from deep within the highlands via the Bárðardalur valley. In winter, Godafoss turns into a magical ice sculpture just as nature intended in the Arctic conditions. It’s simply stunning!
Gullfoss – Southwest Iceland
Probably one of the most famous of waterfalls in Iceland attracting a great number of visitors, yearly. Also known as the Golden Falls and part of the Golden Circle Tour. The Ölfusá River feeds the waterfall which extends from two other rivers – Hvítá and Sog Rivers. It flows for 40km along its path before suddenly plunging into a three step waterfall within a crevice that is approximately 32m deep. As one first approaches the falls, the edge is obscured from view, so that it appears that the river simply vanishes into the earth. The thunderous, roaring sound of the Gullfoss can be heard from a distance.
Seljalandsfoss – South Iceland
Seljalandsfoss is an iconic and probably the most photographed waterfall in Iceland if not the world. The sea cliff, in its former days, has a stunningly large cavern behind the waterfall which you can walk around to get a reverse view of the falls as the water drops in front of you. The waterfall is fed by the Seljalands River and the source of the river begins in the volcano glacier, Eyjafjallajökull. The mossy rocks around the waterfall are contrasting to the white veil of water and ever so perfect for a photographer’s dream shot.
Svartifoss – South Iceland
This amazing and enchanting waterfall can be found in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. Also known as the Black Falls due to being surrounded by dark coloured, lava columns. Svartifoss is spectacular both in the summer and winter. It’s a small and modest waterfall, but the surrounding natural architecture sets it apart from the other waterfalls in Iceland.
Dynjandi – Westfjords
Another name for Dynjandi is Fjallfoss. The incredible waterfall has a height of 100m and has several waterfalls in one. The water flows down the side of a mountain cascading through several mini-falls that makes up the splendour of the entire waterfall. The area around the scenic waterfall is great for some rugged hiking.
Glymur – West Iceland
Glymur is incredible and at one time it was the highest waterfall in Iceland until Morsárfoss suprassed it. It is currently the second highest water with a cascading fall of 198m. The river Botnsá is the source of the waterfall which runs from Hvalvatn Lake to Hvalfell mountain where the waterfall is. This area is great for hiking as you surround yourself with the rugged West Icelandic landscape.
Dettifoss – Northeast Iceland
Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Iceland and it is best accessed from the east bank for the best viewpoints of this magnificent marvel. The main source of the water comes from the Vatnajökull glacier located in the Vatnajökull National Park via the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. The cubic amount of water flow multiplied by the 44m drop creates a thunderous sound that can be heard from afar. The falls is 100m wide and the spray of water rises high above the falls itself illustrating its sheer, ruthless power. A visit is certainly worth it should you be up in the Northern region.
Hraunfossar – West Iceland
It’s by far not the biggest, noisiest or tallest, but it certainly has every bit of majestic charm that it deserves. The waterfall spans about 900m wide and flows out of rivulets from the lava fields above, Hallmundarhraun. The main source of this streaming falls is from an eruption of a volcano that lies under the Langjökull glacier. The waterfall pours into the Hvítá river and flows along turquoise waters which is spellbinding in itself. As far as waterfalls in Iceland go, this is one very unique waterfall and a visit to it would not leave you disappointed.
What’s not to like about the Land of Fire & Ice? Probably just one thing that the slogan should include “Water” too.