15 Best and most beautiful waterfalls of Iceland
Iceland has plenty of waterfalls and it’s probably not even possible to count them. I want to share the top 15 we have seen, but I’m very much aware this list is very subjective. The numbers are to order them, but it’s not a ranking as that would be too difficult. Also, I’m sure everybody has their own preference and also the season of the visit can make a huge difference. What is also special about the 15 best and most beautiful waterfalls of Iceland, is that each of them has something which differentiates them from the other waterfalls.
Located in the Westfjords it’s a waterfall that has way less visitors compared to the waterfalls around Reykjavik or on the South coast. We were lucky to experience Dynjandi alone by ourselves. Before reaching the main waterfall, you will come along several other smaller waterfalls but also worth seeing. Dynjandi has a total height of 100 meters. At the top the width is around 30 meters and near the bottom it’s 60 meters. It consists out of 7 layers which makes it even more special.
Svartifoss is a waterfall in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland. It’s a relative short hike towards the waterfall from the parking lot, however be aware it’s a steep hike. There is a first view point where you can observe the waterfall from distance, but you can descend towards the bottom of the waterfall. It’s surrounded by dark lava columns, which gave rise to its name.
Seljalandsfoss is located in the South Region in Iceland right by Route 1. The waterfall drops 60 meter and finds it’s origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull. The special about this beautifull waterfall is that you can walk behind the waterfall, which is not something you can often do. The steps to get there are slippery due to the splashing water so make sure to be careful. You will catch some water but in our opinion not enough to worry about and you don’t need rain clothes. When you are done visiting this waterfall make sure to continue your hike towards Gljufrabui (see number 12) as it’s only a small hike away. In 2022 we noticed that most people have found this waterfall by now, but back then in 2015, most people just skipped it as they were not aware.
Most people overlook this waterfall when exploring the Golden Circle, so did we back in 2015. However, the advantage to go back to a country is that you can start filling the missing gaps. So in 2022 we ticked the box of Bruarfoss, and you have to work a little bit for it. From the parking lot you have to walk between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on your fitness level. As it had rain the days before our visit, the track was not always that good accessible, but still doable. Along the way to the final part you will pass several intermediate waterfalls which are also worth visiting. The water is so blue that you hardly can believe it’s real. It all adds to the experience. We crossed some people going there and getting back, but at the waterfall itself we were alone. So make sure to add this beautiful waterfal to your next visit!
We explored Hraunfossar for the first time in 2022 and we can be short. What a beauty! In fact this is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 meters. 1 word: impressive! The waterfall is just next to the parking lot but you can hike upstream where you will see the wild river. Make sure to reserve enough time to absorb the beauty of this almost endless waterfall.
Selfoss is located a short hike away from Dettifoss (see number 10). We visited this waterfall in 2015 and the weather was not that great. While writing this, 7 years later, I still remember that Sellfoss made a big impression on me. I hope that one day we can go back to this waterfall when a clear sky, so we can experience the view to their best. This waterfall should not be confused with the town of the same name in the Southern part of Iceland as the Selfoss waterfall is in North Iceland, on the Diamon Circle.
Haifoss, happy to have visited this one in 2022 after we failed back in 2015. With our RV we were unable to visit it. Now that we had a 4×4 we did not hesitate and tried again. You might give it a try with your regular 2WD, but that is on your own risk. It’s one of the highest waterfalls of Iceland and we really enjoyed. Partially because it’s a real beauty, but also because we failed on our first try. You can hike to the bottom of the waterfall, but near the end the trail becomes quite tricky. There is no room for mistakes, and if you do so, you are in the water which flows quickly and must be ice cold. So here as well, I leave it up to you to make a decision.
Probably the most visited waterfall in Iceland. It’s located on the Golden Circle route and has been transformed into a mass tourist location with a huge parking lot, a big shop and a restaurant that can host all the people of the touring busses. Although there were plenty of people, the area doesn’t feel too crowded. There are different view platforms but for some you might foresee a raincoat and the water splashes around. On the left part of the waterfall the water pressure is enormous. The power of water to the max.
Skogafoss drops around 60 meter and if you go close you will get wet. You can also hike up the waterfall where there are some more trails which lead to more smaller waterfalls. We didn’t explore this yet. The hike up has a couple of hundred stairs. The view on the waterfall is dissapointing in my opinion, so if you are in a rush, you can save yourself the effort.
We only visited Dettifoss in 2015 and the weather was not great. We were able to see it from a distance, but taking great pictures was not that possible. The power is incredible and it’s reported to be the second most powerful waterfall in Europe. I won’t bother you with a bad picture as you can find way better on the internet. I hope to visit it on a later trip with great weather so take some nice pictures.
Godafoss is nicknamed the “Waterfall of the Gods”. Some say it comes from it’s god-like beauty, but others say is named after a Viking leader. Godafoss is located in Northern Iceland and definetly worth a stop.
Located close to Seljalandsfoss and hidden in a narrow canyon. Depending of the time you have to go through the river, but there are in meanwhile some stones that will help you to keep your feet dry. Taking pictures is very difficult, so the best is to go there to admire it’s beauty by yourself.
Hjalparfoss is a pair of waterfalls that conjoin. They are easily reachable from the parking lot and mainly the black lava columns give it an extra dimension. You can visit this waterfall when heading towards Haifoss (number 7).
We noticed in 2022 that more and more place start to ask an entrance fee. Mainly in the Southern part via either parking fee or plain entrance fee. The same goes for Faxifoss, however, as we visited it before 9am the guard at the gate was not yet present and the gate was open, so we were able to visit it for free. You can observe it from the top or go down just next to the waterfall. I would not recommend to leave the ring road only for this watefall, as it’s not that impressive. However, as it’s on the road to explore the Golden Circle, you can easily spend a couple of minutes.
Located on the Southern part of the ring road, you can easily reach it and park next to the waterfall. The parking lot has been renewed in 2022. With a flow rate of 360 m³/s, it has the highest average water flow of any waterfall in Iceland, and the second highest in Europe behind the Rheinfall (source: Wikipedia). Interesting here is to read the information panels on how they control the flow of the water, to avoid too much ice formation.