Top 5 Waterfalls of Iceland

by Nicetravel Team | November 16th

  • Gullfoss - a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland

It is estimated that there are around 10.000 waterfalls in Iceland. They are located almost on every corner of the island and their diversity delights many foreign and domestic travelers. In Iceland you can find the most powerful waterfall in Europe, waterfall that you can walk behind or one that looks like taken from a child´s drawing. Due to the climate changes, new waterfalls are being formed while others are disappearing.

It is impossible to describe all the waterfalls of Iceland, so we decided to present our TOP 5 list. Each of the waterfalls you will find below is the pearl in its category. Let’s find out which one is the tallest, the widest, the most popular or powerful.

  1. Þingvellir National Park
  2. Gullfoss – the Golden Waterfall
  3. Haukadalur Geothermal Area – home of famous Geysir

The most powerful waterfall – Dettifoss

On average there is 400 m³ of water flowing per second, sometimes reaching up to 500 m³ during the summer months.  Glacial waters that origin in Vatnajökull glacier (the biggest glacier in Europe) on the northern side of the large icecap, drop down from 44 meters to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. The Dettifoss waterfall is the most powerful waterfall you will find not only in Iceland, but also in the whole of Europe. The power produced by the water flowing through Dettifoss reaches up to 85 megawatts – if there was a power station build there that would be enough to supply electricity for around 50.000 households. Luckily it will never happen since the whole area is a part of the Vatnajökull National Park. The power of the waterfall makes a great impression – the mist from the falls is even visible from several miles away. Standing on the top of the waterfall by the thundering waters cascading into the canyon is an experience you will most likely never forget. Therefore, it is not surprising that Dettifoss has been used as a movie set for many international film productions. For instance, it was captured in the opening scene of Ridley´s Scott Prometheus.

Dettifoss is located a long distance from Reykjavík in the Northern part of Iceland, and that is why there are not so many visitors there. We stop at this waterfall during our 7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour.

Recommended Tours – 

Explore many amazing natural wonders of the South Coast of Iceland, including Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss and the Black Beach of Reynisfjara.

 13.300 ISK

Tour available for all year

Explore the amazing nature of the West of Iceland, relax in Krauma SPA and watch northern lights

 44.900 ISK

Tour available for all year

The most popular waterfall –Gullfoss

More than every second person visiting Iceland goes on a tour to see Gullfoss – the Golden Waterfall. The reason why Gullfoss is so popular among visitors is the fact that is located on the famous Golden Circle route (see article about Golden Circle Route). The well-prepared infrastructure and a short distance from Reykjavik make this place easily accessible for a countless number of people every year. Even though it is easy to get there all year round, Gullfoss is also one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. There is a reason why the pictures of the Golden Waterfall are visible on most of the postcards from Iceland. Waters of Hvítá (White) river drop down from 32 meters passing by two cascades to end up in a stunning canyon. This is the place you should not miss while in Iceland.

The widest waterfall –Hraunfossar

To be more precise, Hraunfossar is not a one single fall, but consists of a series of waterfalls spread at a distance of around 900 m. The waters flow out of the Hallmundarhraun, a lava field that was formed around 1000 years ago during a massive eruption of volcano lying under a Langjökull glacier. Hraunfossar are very often called “Lava Waterfalls”. Rivulets streaming from the lava field create one of the most breath-taking views in Iceland. The waterfalls pour into the Hvítá River from ledges created by less porous rock in the lava.

While visiting this place you should know that within a walking distance you will find another interesting waterfall – Barnafoss. Its name, “the waterfall of the children,” comes from an accident tale which is said to have taken place here in a previous century. Two children from a nearby farm fell into the water from the bridge while crossing falls. The bridge was later destroyed by a mother who spent the rest of her life in grief.

The most intriguing waterfall – Seljalandsfoss

This is of course the most intriguing waterfall from our personal point of view, but we believe that many will agree with us.  Seljalandsfoss is located in the Southern Iceland just fewer meters away from Ring Road. The reason why we find this waterfall the most intriguing is because it can be fully encircled by foot during summer months. If you decide to take a walk on the path behind the falls, please be prepared to get soaked and always be very careful – it can be slippery there. During winter the path behind Seljalandsfoss remains closed due to the safety reasons, but it does not mean that is not worth to visit this place at this time of the year. The single cascade falls from 60 meters tall cliff and even from the distance looks magnificent. Seljalandsfoss is located beneath the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and its waters origins from the glacier that covers volcano´s caldera.

The tallest waterfall – Morsárfoss

Most of the people living in Iceland would say that the tallest waterfall on island is Glymur.  That was in fact true until 2011 when Morsárfoss was measured. With a total height of 228 meters, it is now the tallest waterfall in Iceland leaving Glymur (198 m) far behind. Morsárfoss was formed in 2007 when Morsárjökull glacier (an outlet of Vatnajökull glacier) had started to melt down. It took 4 years to measure the waterfall. It is nearly impossible to reach this place and extremely dangerous. So far only expedition of scientists has made it.

There are thousands of other interesting waterfalls in Iceland and many of them are worth seeing. While visiting Iceland it is impossible not to see a few.

You might also like –