An empty Gullfoss in 2006, an overview of Gullfoss, seeing the 2 traps. Brown (not yet gree) grass with a bit of snow in the front
Iceland,  Waterfalls

The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Iceland

After chasing waterfalls all over the world, like waterfalls in Africa, we’re now turning our eyes to the beautiful Iceland. With some 10.000 waterfalls in Iceland, there’s plenty of chasing to be done. With the help of my fellow travel bloggers I’ve made a collection of 21 waterfalls of Iceland worth your time. From the famous waterfalls in Iceland to the less famous ones. A few are waterfalls in Iceland on the Golden Circle, others require an hour hike and a long drive. With 2 days in Iceland you can already see a few of these falls.

Are you still missing some waterfalls? Feel free to comment below and they can be added to the list.

Waterfalls in Iceland

Farðagafoss

Fardagafoss a two-tier waterfalls, seen from a little back
Fardagafoss

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

This lesser known Icelandic waterfall has a pair of drops back-to-back against cliffs, which is beautiful to see. The waterfall is located in the Miðhúsaá-river. It’s in East Iceland, only 5 to 6 kilometers from Egilsstaðir. Coming from Egilsstaðir on route 93 to Seyðisfjörður, is a parking lot on the right side of the road. This is where a path starts leading all the way to Farðagafoss. It’s 20 to 30 minutes hiking one way.

On the hiking path towards the fall you will see another, smaller waterfall and you have awesome views over the surrounding area. You can walk behind the waterfall, there’s a shallow cave. The cave used to be larger and deeper, but it collapsed.

There are 2 legends surrounding the cave. First that a troll used to live in the cave behind the fall, who protected the fall untill the cave collapsed. The second is that if you made a wish after entering the cave, it would come true.

As with almost all Icelandic waterfalls, there’s no entrance fee.

Kirkjufellsfoss

Kirkjufellsfoss by gezondweekmenu
Kirkjufellsfoss by gezondweekmenu

Contributed by Lotte  from gezondweekmenu.

Kirkjufellsfoss is a majestic waterfall located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on the West side of Iceland. It’s across famous Kirkjufell which happens to be the most photographed mountain in Iceland. While Kirkjufell is beautiful indeed, Kirkjufellsfoss gives this iconic mountain a run for its money, especially in winter.  

While Kirkjufellsfoss is impressive year-round, it freezes over during winter creating a splendid piece of natural art. Frozen pillars of ice and snow form an intricate winter curtain, which changes every day. When visiting during summer you may want to consider bringing a bathing suit. On rare warm(ish) days some of the locals spend their afternoons jumping into the waterfall. 

Kirkjufellsfoss (and Snæfellsnes Peninsula as a whole) should definitely feature on any Iceland road trip itinerary. The waterfall (and Kurkjufell Mountain are only a 2.5-hour drive from Reykjavík, though if you intend to cover the entire peninsula give yourself at least one day (but preferably two).  

Litlanesfoss

Litlanesfoss in the snow, seen from afar, Cosette in the foreground, with the waterfall to her left
Litlanesfoss in the snow

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

A beautiful, two-tier waterfall surrounded with hexagonal columns, going in all directions. It pours over these columns. It’s located in the Hengifossá-river, close to the Hengifoss, but smaller. It’s 30 meters tall. The waterfall is in East Iceland, close to the town of Egilsstaðir. On the 933 road (Fljótsdalvegur) is a parking lot, where the hiking path towards Hengifoss starts. Half way on the route, after about 30 minutes, you’ll first see Litlanesfoss.

An information sign and stairs are at the beginning of the hiking path towards Hengifoss. The path rises lots on the west side of the river.

The waterfall has several names like Litlifoss or Stuðhabergsfoss. The last meaning basalt column waterfall. The hexagonal basalt columns are what makes this waterfall so beautiful and unique. There are two other waterfalls in Iceland with these unique geological features, namely Svartifoss and Aldeyarfoss.

Litlanesfoss, dropping down between hexatoganal basalt columns
Litlanesfoss

Rjúkandi

Rjukandifoss by Dr Jam Travels
Rjukandifoss by Dr Jam Travels

Contributed by Džangir from Dr Jam Travels.

Rjúkandi waterfall (Rjukandafoss) is probably the most interesting waterfall worth visiting in the eastern part of the country. It is located half an hour north of Egilsstaðir. It is close to the Ring road. You have a parking lot where you can sit on the bench and admire the waterfall. If you choose to climb to the top you will need around 10 minutes to climb a few 100 meters upwards and there you can sign into the logbook.

Usually, people just drive by because it looks like many waterfalls by the road, but still, it is worth stopping. The best time to visit this place would be from May until September. The whole run of the waterfall is 139 meters and with 2 drops it reaches almost 100 meters high. It is usually described as Tiered (Water drops in a series of distinct steps or falls) Horsetail (Descending water maintains some contact with bedrock) waterfall.

Hengifoss

Hengifoss, thundering down a sheer cliff
Hengifoss

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

With 118 meters Hengifoss is one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland. It’s located in the Hengifossá-river. The fall drops down over a sheer cliff. You can see different layers and colors in the cliff. Layers of black basalt and red clay, take turns showing themselves to visitors. They’ve come to being from compressed ash, during several volcanic eruptions.

For the location see Litlanersfoss, which is located on the way to Hengifoss. The hike towards Hengifoss is 2 kilometers, and takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Not everyone completes the whole hike since it’s rather strenuous. Also don’t be like me and fall in the water, when crossing the river. The water is cold and it was snowing at the time.

Hengifoss isn’t visible from the road, but can be admired from the other side of the lake, near Vallholt farm. Hike in the morning for best light!

Gljúfrabúi

Gljufrabui by Parenthood and Passports
Gljufrabui by Parenthood and Passports

Contributed by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports.

Gljúfrabúi is one of the more unique waterfalls in Iceland. Although just a short walk from the very popular Seljalandsfoss waterfall, this hidden gem is vastly overlooked by tourists. This is primarily because the beautiful waterfall isn’t visible unless you’re willing to walk through a small stream and through a narrow crevice between two cliffs. Gljúfrabúi waterfall cascades down moss-covered walls into a small cavern. In the center, a massive boulder serves as a great place to climb up for the perfect photo perspective of the treasured secret waterfall.

If you have as little as 4 days in Iceland, Gljúfrabúi is an easy addition to any itinerary, as it is located right off the highway along the country’s southern coast. To access it, you can park at Seljalandsfoss and follow the marked path in front of the famous waterfall approximately 600 meters to get to Gljúfrabúi, often referred to as Iceland’s secret waterfall. If planning to visit Gljúfrabúi, be sure to wear a raincoat and water-proof boots. You will have to wade through the shallow, running stream as you make your way through the cleft to get to the waterfall. While you will emerge covered in mist and possibly with soaking wet socks or shoes, the breathtaking view inside the cavern is well worth the effort!

Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar, seen from the left, the several waterfalls flowing in the river
Hraunfossar

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

A special series of waterfalls are the Hraunfossar, on the north shore of the river Hvítá. Hvítá means white river, and Hraunfossar stands for lava waterfalls. Over an area of 900 meters to 1 kilometer many streams pour down, coming from the lava under the lava field Hallmundarhraun into the river.

These are no thundering waterfalls, but calm cascades of clear, turquoise water that comes from underneath the moss covered lava and falls down in the river over a series of steps.

The waterfall is in the west of Iceland. On route 518, 6 kilometers west of Húsafell, are two of the most known nature phenomenons in Iceland, namely Hraunfossar and Barnafoss.

Hraunfossar is the one of the two, you can make the most beautiful pictures from, in my humble opinion.

There’s no entrance fee for either Hraunfossar or Barnafoss. Hraunfossar is the first waterfall you come across when following the hiking path from the car park.

Gullfoss

Gulfoss by Moyer Memoirs
Gullfoss by Moyer Memoirs

Contributed by Michelle from Moyer Memoirs.

Gullfoss has achieved the iconic status of being one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland.  It is a beautiful waterfall in Iceland running deep within canyon walls that were formed in the last ice age.  It is located on the famous Golden Circle Itinerary route about 2 hours from the capital city of Reykjavik. 

The wild waters of the Gullfoss fall in a tiered waterfall that resembles a three-step staircase.  The Hvita River first plunges 36 feet for the first waterfall tier. The voluminous water then quickly turns 90 degrees and then rushes in a perpendicular tier for another 69 feet fall into the final rushing water deep in the gorge below.  All the while, this waterfall exhibits the full power of nature and sprays a mist that gently embraces the surroundings and often leads to magical rainbows that add to the overall beauty.

Gullfoss is a free public space without an entrance fee.  In order to protect its surrounding area and ecosystem from harm and development, it was made into a nature reserve in 1979.  The fury of Gullfoss is always open and can be viewed at any time.  The Golden Circle roadway is well-maintained for all vehicles for easy accessibility to Gullfoss, even in the winter.  There is a viewing section located in the lower parking lot area, as well as a boardwalk and a staircase to access the high viewing area to get a better view of the top tier.

This unique exhibition by nature should definitely be in a top spot on your list of waterfalls to see in Iceland.

Gulfoss, waterfalls in Iceland
Gullfoss

Barnafoss

Barnafoss, a wild roaring waterfall surrounded by brown rocks
Barnafoss

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

As calm as Hraunfossar is, so wild is the Barnafoss. The river Hvítá pinches violently through a narrow gorge, in this way forming the Barnafoss. At the bottom of the waterfall are the remains of a natural bridge.

The waterfall is 50 meters upstream from Hraunfossar in the west of Iceland. For directions check the part above on Hraunfossar. There’s a pedestrian bridge connecting the two waterfalls. The bridge has a perfect view on the Barnafoss, the swirling water making its way through the gorge.

There’s a myth surrounding the waterfall. Two kids, who lived nearby on the farm Hraunsás, fell down from the natural bridge and drowned. After that the mother demolished part of the bridge in her dispair. Hence the name Barnafoss, which means children’s waterfall.

Svartifoss

Svartifoss by Sharing the Wander
Svartifoss by Sharing the Wander

Contributed by Cynthia from Sharing the Wander.

Svartifoss Waterfall, meaning “Black Falls”, is within Skaftafell National Park.  You can’t see the waterfall from the road, you’ll have to hike in to see this beautiful waterfall. There is no charge for the hiking in the park.

The trail begins with a steep uphill from the Skaftafell Visitors Center, which is located about a 20 minute drive from the town of Hof. The full loop to see Svartifoss and continue on to Sjónarsker viewpoint is about 3 km, but it will probably take you 2-3 hours depending on how often you stop to take photos.

Svartifoss is a narrow waterfall plunging down 20 meters among dark hexagonal basalt columns It’s a unique sight- creating its’ own small basin in the middle of the park.

You first see the waterfall from above, then can climb down to the base, sit, and view to it up close. As you cross the bridge and continue on towards the Sjónarsker viewpoint you will have another stunning view looking back at the waterfall. After taking in views of snow-capped mountains, continue on to see some small turf houses- some of the very few remaining in Southern Iceland.

Heading to Iceland with Kids? Check out 10 Amazing Things to Do in Iceland with Kids.

Kvernufoss

Kvernufoss by Honest Travel Stories
Kvernufoss by Honest Travel Stories

Contributed by Cristina from Honest Travel Stories.

Why is Kvernufoss my favorite waterfall in Iceland? It’s not the biggest one, it’s not the most famous, and it’s not the easiest to reach. But in my opinion, it’s the most beautiful one, as it makes you feel you have reached fairyland. The fact that it’s not so well-known also makes it perfect if you want to have a place only to yourself in your Iceland ring road itinerary.

This waterfall is located very close to Skógafoss, and most people tend to ignore it due to this, but please make a slight effort into getting to this lush green paradise. You just have to park your car at the Skógar Museum and then enjoy a short hike for about 10-20 minutes surrounded only by nature.

The hike is very easy to do, but it’s not an idea if you have low mobility, so keep this in mind when choosing your itinerary. Like most waterfalls in Iceland, the access is free of charge, you just have to keep it clean and respect the beautiful nature you encounter.

One of the cool things about this waterfall is that you can even go behind it while taking care of the slippery rocks (especially if you visit in wintertime). It’s a photographer’s dream as well, as it allows you to embrace this beautiful quietness almost alone, an occasion you rarely have while visiting other waterfalls.

Godafoss

Godafoss by The Diary of a Nomad
Godafoss by The Diary of a Nomad

Contributed by Jiayi from The Diary of a Nomad.

Godafoss, nicknamed the “Waterfall of the Gods”, is definitely one of Iceland’s most stunning waterfalls. There’s a waterfall quote that goes, “grace is finding a waterfall when you were only looking for a stream”, and that’s a perfect way to describe Godafoss. In fact, this waterfall is kind of located in the middle of nowhere, and you’ll come across it while driving the Ring Road when you’ll least expect it. 

The water from Godafoss originates from the Skjálfandafljót River, and one really cool thing about this waterfall is that it’s very wide. In fact, it has a width of 30 meters and a height of 12 meters. Godafoss is especially beautiful during the winter, when you can catch the waterfall entirely frozen. If you’re lucky, you can also spot the Northern Lights above these falls! 

Located in northern Iceland, Godafoss is roughly a 45-minute drive from the city of Akureyri. Entrance to this waterfall is free, so it’s definitely worth it to stop by for 10-20 minutes to snap a photo and admire the view.

Godafoss
Godafoss

Sigöldugljufur

Sigöldugljufur by Anywhere we Roam
Sigöldugljufur by Anywhere we Roam

Contributed by Paul from Anywhere We Roam.

Just 1 hour from the popular Landmannalaugar region, Sigöldugljufur is a seldom visited canyon in the Iceland highlands containing a waterfall that conjures images of fairy-tale landscapes and hidden adventures.

A river travelling from Krókslón lake to Hrauneyjalón lake has cut a small canyon through hard black rock. While the proportions of Sigöldugljufur are not dramatic like some of the other waterfalls in Iceland, what it lacks in size it well and truly makes up for in dreamy beauty.

Multiple small waterfalls tumble over the sheer black walls into the river that drifts along the valley floor. At the top, lush green vegetation fights for life against the barren rocky desolation, while mountains towering in the background frame the remarkable scene.

Sigöldugljúfur Canyon is just a 45-minute drive north of Landmannalaugar on the F-208 mountain road. A small gravel carpark on the side of the road is the only indication that there is something here. The rim of the canyon is a quick 10-minute walk from the car park.

Bruarfoss

Bruarfoss by Traxplorio
Bruarfoss by Traxplorio

Contributed by Tristan from Traxplorio.

This waterfall is for many the most beautiful in all of Iceland. And this claim is hard to refute once you’ve seen it with your own eyes. However, if you want to get to Bruarfoss, it’s not that easy. From the capital – Reykkavik, it is a 90 minute drive by car. There is only an unofficial parking lot on the road #37. Once here, you have to put on your hiking boots and start hiking!

All in all you hike is about 3.1km through nature until you finally reach your destination – the mystical Bruarfoss. You will be more than rewarded for your efforts. The color of the waterfall is really exactly as you see it on the picture. You can easily spend an hour there and just enjoy the moment. If you start hiking early in the morning, you’ll also most likely have this magical place to yourself. So just pack something for a small breakfast and enjoy a very special morning in Iceland. Of course, Bruarfoss is also completely free to get to. If you want to learn more about Iceland, check out this Iceland Checklist.

Dettifoss

Dettifoss by The Van Escape
Dettifoss by The Van Escape

Contributed by Agnes from The Van Escape.

Dettifoss is a powerful waterfall in Northeast Iceland on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. The waterfall is 100 meters wide, 45 meters high, and falls into the 100-meter-deep Jökulsárgljúfur gorge. Moreover, due to a combination of flow volume, width, and height it’s one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. The power produced by the water flowing through Dettifoss is on average 85 megawatts.

About a kilometer south of Dettifoss, you will find another Icelandic waterfall – Selfoss. And two kilometers below is the Hafragilsfoss waterfall. So you can see all three waterfalls in one visit.

The easiest route is along the southern section of road number 862. After turning off the popular “number one,” Iceland’s main road, go straight for about 22 kilometers until you turn right to the parking lot.

The parking lot on the west side is approximately 700-800 meters from the waterfall. It takes about 10 minutes from the parking lot to reach the first of the viewpoints. The hike is easy, but it leads through an unpaved road with rocks. So it is worth wearing hiking boots. On the west side is also a marked trail, allowing you to see all three waterfalls.

The parking lot on the eastern side is closer to the waterfall, about a 3 minute walk. The place is wilder, more natural, and there are no safety barriers. You can stand on the very edge of the waterfall. But it’s risky, so visitors should be cautious in order not to slip. It’s a good idea to bring a raincoat as much damp fog and water drops are floating in the air.

There is no entrance fee or parking fee to visit the waterfall.

Selfoss

Selfoss by Country Hopping Couple
Selfoss by Country Hopping Couple

Contributed by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple.

Selfoss Waterfalls is located on the northern part of Iceland in the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.  Selfoss Waterfalls is located only 1 km away from the most famous Dettifoss, that is part of Diamond Circle Route. The height of the Selfoss Waterfalls is only 10 metres, but the width is much larger than Dettifoss, with numerous smaller falls. 

Needless to say, Selfoss Waterfall is a hidden gem in Iceland that is highly overshadowed by Dettifoss.  If you happen to visit Dettifoss do take a short detour (less than 30 minutes) and walk to Selfoss and you will not be disappointed.  Both Dettifoss and Selfoss share the common car park that allows you to view East side of Dettifoss and West side of Selfoss. But, if you want a view of Selfoss waterfalls as a whole, we recommend driving to the east side car park.

Although Selfoss waterfalls is not very popular among the tourists, it is certainly one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Iceland (like the rest of the waterfalls!). 

Öxarárfoss

Öxarárfoss by Mommy And Me Travels
Öxarárfoss by Mommy And Me Travels

Contributed by Tiffany from Mommy And Me Travels.

Öxarárfoss Waterfall is located in southwest Iceland within the Thingvellir National Park along Ring Road.  To gain access to Öxarárfoss Waterfall, you will want to park at Thingvellir visitors center.  There is no fee to access Thingvellir but you will need to pay for parking based on your length of stay.  

Upon entering Thingvellir National Park hang a left down the manmade walking path.  Don’t be fooled by the smaller waterfalls along the route.  Keep walking to the end of the path and you will arrive at Öxarárfoss Waterfall.  The waterfall is beautiful all year around.  If you are there in winter, the waterfall will likely be frozen over.  This freeze makes a beautiful backdrop for winter photos.  

Plan to get to Thingvellir National Park at sunrise.  You will see the beauty of the sunrise, have great lighting for waterfall pictures, and best of all you will beat the crowds from the tour buses.  Iceland is well known for its beautiful scenery, massive waterfalls, and amazing hot springs.  After a couple of hours spent visiting Öxarárfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park, you will still have time for the family to enjoy another adventure along Ring Road.  

Glymur

Glymur by 52 Perfect Days
Glymur by 52 Perfect Days

Contributed by Alexa from 52 Perfect Days.

Glymur is Iceland’s second tallest waterfall, and the tallest waterfall that is easily accessible by foot. Located in the fjord of Hvalfjörður, it stands at a height of 198 metres (650 feet).

Although it is not far from Reykjavík, just 45 minutes, it is not visible from the road, so you need to know precise directions. Once you arrive at the parking area which is located on Route 47 it is about a 2-hour hike from the main road to the waterfall.

The hiking trail is a bit rough in areas, but is marked by cairns with yellow markers as well as signs. The hike itself is beautiful and includes walking through a cave and two river crossing before reaching the ultimate view of Glymur waterfall. It is quite worth the walk and a great day trip from Reykjavík.  

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss by Tidy Minds
Seljalandsfoss by Tidy Minds

Contributed by Maartje & Sebastiaan from Tidy Minds.

One of the most stunning waterfalls to visit in Iceland is the Seljalandsfoss. This magical place should definitely on your Iceland bucket list and is probably always on your itinerary.

Seljalandsfoss is located in the south of Iceland. It’s right next to the Ring Road surrounding the island, so you will most likely pass this spot on your itinerary at some point. As it’s right next to the main road, it’s fairly easy to visit the waterfall. You’ll just leave the Ring Road and park your car at the car parking close to the waterfall. There is no entrance fee.

The waterfall is unique for the way it’s falling down the rocks, leaving an open space behind it where you can walk under the waterfall. It can get quite slippery there, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes with a good grip. You won’t get wet though, as the space behind the waterfall is quite large.

If you’ll visit the Seljalandsfoss, you should also make a short stop at the Gljúfrabúi waterfall. It’s only 100 meters further down the road and hidden between a gorge. You can barely see it and you can only really visit it, by entering the ice-cold water and wade into the gorge.

Seljalandsfoss. Yuri and Cosette on a wooden bridge in front of the waterfall
Seljalandsfoss

Skogafoss

Skogafoss by Offbeat Escapades
Skogafoss by Offbeat Escapades

Contributed by Marielle & Antoine from Offbeat Escapades.

Skogafoss is one of the most well-known waterfalls in Iceland. It is also one of the largest as it reaches a height of about 200 feet. The waterfalls can be found along Iceland’s South Coast, making it a great stop if you are doing a self-drive itinerary to places like Vik and Jokularson. From Reykjavik, Skogafoss is roughly 2 hours away. It is even often included in tour bus itineraries that start from the capital. 

The waterfall is famous for its cascades as you approach it. As a result, you can often find rainbows present when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds. There is also a short hike that can be done right beside the waterfalls. A steep staircase leads up to an observational platform above the cascades, providing amazing views of Skogafoss and its surrounding areas. There is no entrance fee to visit Skogafoss, hence, it’s a great place to go if you want to experience Iceland on a budget.

Skogafoss, a waterfall dropping down over a rock into the rover below.
Skogafoss

Dynjandi

Dynjandi by Meandering Wild
Dynjandi by Meandering Wild

Contributed by Suzanne from Meandering Wild.

Dynjandi is a waterfall that cascades over 100 metres down the cliff face.  At the top it is just 30 metres wide but by the bottom the falls have spread to 60 metres.  For this reason they are described as a veil waterfall.

Besides the main falls there is a sequence of six smaller falls that follow the river downstream towards the fjord which is just a short distance from the falls.  These are seen as the path follows the river from the parking area to the base of the main drop.

The waterfall is located in the Westfjords region of Iceland and is along a gravel road off Road 60.  The nearest towns at Flókalundur or Bíldudalur are about 350 km north west of Reykjavík and about 5 hours of driving time. The area where Dynjandi is located can be cut off in the winter months so it is best to check before setting off. 

Once you arrive at the waterfall there is a large free parking area with toilets and the path up to the waterfalls are clearly marked.  The walk is quite steep and the path is very uneven in places so good boots are needed. To really enjoy Dynjandi you need at least an hour to explore and walk.

This ends up our round-up of 21 waterfalls in Iceland

Which is your favorite? The famous Iceland waterfalls Gulfoss, Skogafoss or one of the lesser known ones. If you can’t get enough waterfalls, check out these waterfalls in South America.

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