Iceland is waterfall country, and no trip to this other worldly spot is complete without stopping by a waterfall or two. From haunting and dramatic to peaceful and serene, all waterfalls in Iceland have their own flair (you can even walk behind one of them!). Here are the most beautiful waterfalls you simply cannot miss on a tour of Iceland.
Iceland waterfalls facts
1. What is the largest waterfall in Iceland?
Trick question. Iceland’s tallest waterfalls are Morsárfoss and Glymur, measuring at 748 feet high and 649 feet high, respectively. In volume, Gulfoss is the largest waterfall in Iceland—in the summer, its average water flow is about 5,000 cubic feet per second.
2. How many waterfalls are in Iceland?
There are around 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland (yup, not a typo).
3. When can you see waterfalls in Iceland?
All year round! To see them when they’re roaring the loudest, visit between late-May and September.
4. Do waterfalls in Iceland freeze?
Larger waterfalls keep flowing, but some can freeze in the winter months (making for some fantastic ice features and the perfect excuse to plan a winter trip).
5. Which waterfall can you walk behind in Iceland?
What a timely question! Read on to find out…
The can’t-miss waterfalls
As powerful as it is pretty, Gullfoss (translated to Golden Falls) is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. Located on the Golden Circle, Gullfoss may be the natural wonder of all natural wonders on the route. The brownish water, fed from a glacier, gives the fall its nickname. On sunny days, the shine makes the sediment-filled water look golden. The fast-flowing water descends over 100 feet in two tiers—falling from 36 feet, then abruptly 69 feet over a second tier. It’s one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe, so don’t be surprised if you feel the water spray as you walk nearby.
Often referred to as “the one you can walk behind,” Seljalandsfoss is hands-down one of the best places to visit in Iceland. Even the drive leading up to the mystical wonder along the South Coast’s lush farmland and jutting glaciers is unreal. With a drop of 200 feet and jaw-dropping rainbows on a sunny day, Seljalandsfoss is possibly the most photogenic waterfall on the planet. And yes, you will take the short walk behind the falls led by your Tour Director on all of our Iceland tours. So, get those cameras ready (and that rain jacket zipped!).
“Going behind the waterfall, the group’s all hooting and hollering about all the water falling on you, it’s really special,” said staffer Simon.
Just a short drive around the corner from Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Skógafoss is the same height as its neighbor, but its sheer power makes it stand out. If you get close, be prepared to get drenched—Skógafoss has been tossing over millions of gallons of water for thousands of years. Get a unique angle of the falls by hiking up a staircase to a viewpoint with your Tour Director on our Golden Circle and Ring Road tour. You’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Iceland’s South Coast.
Goðafoss, the Waterall of the Gods, sits between Lake Myvatn and Akureyri just off the Ring Road in northern Iceland. It’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, and some believe its fitting nickname comes from its sheer beauty. However, according to Icelandic legend, when Christianity was made the country’s official religion in the year 1000 A.D., statues of Norse Gods were reportedly tossed in the waterfall. Goðafoss stands out from other Iceland waterfalls because of its unique, half-circle shape. The waterfall is also part of a 7,000-year old lava field, which features incredible natural formations you won’t see anywhere else in the world.
Hraunfossar & Barnafoss
West Iceland features two of the country’s hidden gems. Hraunfossar and Barnafoss are both fed from meltwater of Langjökull, the second-largest glacier in Iceland. On one part of the river, you have the elegant and flowing Hraunfossar. The peaceful series of waterfalls span a little over a half-mile. Hraunfossar, or Lava Falls, flows out from under a lava field rather than over the Earth’s surface.
If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, all you have to do is take a short walk upstream. Barnafoss is dramatic and haunting, with rapids squeezing through tight-packed cliffs and crashing over rocks. The contrast in landscapes of these two neighbors just shows why Iceland is one of the most unique places on the planet.