Let me be perfectly clear – waterfalls in Iceland are like skyscrapers in Manhattan or cows in Texas or clowns at a circus. They are not rare. They are not scarce. There is no chasing them. The are everywhere. They are not elusive, even in the dead of winter. They vary from slow and delicate to huge, roaring powerful rushes of water. They are mere meters off the highway, hidden in the national parks and in people’s backyards.
This purpose of this post is to give you a visual of the locations of the most popular waterfalls, and some of our favorite waterfalls all over Iceland. This blog’s mission is to help you make the most of your coveted vacation days, so this post is just that: a quick reference to Iceland’s waterfalls, how to find them and what to expect once you are there.
Gullfoss – This is probably Iceland’s most visited waterfall since its location is on the famed Golden Circle. Tour buses stop here and let hundreds of visitors check out Gullfoss and the neighboring geysers. Gullfoss means “Golden Falls” because the water looks golden when the sun is shining down on the cascading liquid. We were not lucky enough to see the Golden color, but she was still pretty impressive. Expect crowds, but expect to be awed nonetheless.
Seljalandsfoss – This waterfall is incredibly easy to find. It is very visible from Route 1 and there are usually cars parked on the road. This waterfall is a point of interest because it is a.) close to Reykjavik and b.) you can walk behind the falls and view the water from a different angle. Rainbows are also highly likely if you catch this fall on a sunny day like we did. Again, do not expect to have this place to yourself (at least in summer), but do expect to have your socks blown off and a little mist in your face.
Skogafoss – Skogasfoss is just a few kilometers passed Seljalandsfoss. This waterfall is impressive, but my favorite part is the hiking behind, or above, the waterfall. There is a great staircase that gets you most of the way up the hill. The rest is a well-trodden dirt path. And, just like Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss is almost impossible to miss from Route 1.
Dettifoss – Dettifoss is the most voluminous waterfall in all Europe. This means that more gallons or liters of water fall over these rocks each year than anywhere else in Iceland and Europe. Approaching the waterfall you begin to understand how this is possible as you can hear the roar and see the spray from a good distance away. The sound plus the visual of the rushing water is really something to see for yourself. While it is not near Reykjavik, it is easy to find if you are driving the Ring Route.
Godafoss – We actually did miss Godafoss during our trip. It is a pretty famous waterfall, one that I wrote on our itinerary. However, while we have a plan, we do not stick to it perfectly and we just drove right past this beauty; such is life! I have said that I want to return to Iceland, so I’ll make sure to stop by next time, even though it is pretty far north!
Nameless, but Beautiful – There are so (so!) many waterfalls in Iceland. Some are just trickles, others gushing rivers falling hundreds of feet. While there are some fan favorites, I liked the less popular falls for their tranquility. Their beauty is the same, but there is something special about having a beautiful spot in nature to yourself for a few moments. Here are some of the no-named, or lesser-known waterfalls we liked the most.