Iceland is one of the most unique and stunning destinations in the world. It has landscapes and scenery unlike anywhere else, and its natural beauty will blow you away at every turn. One of the things Iceland is most famous for is its waterfalls. Tucked around almost every corner, and in every valley and canyon, are spectacular waterfalls of all shapes and sizes.
From the tallest in the country to the most picturesque, to famous tourist attractions and off-the-beaten-path gems, this list highlights 25 of the best waterfalls in Iceland.
Best Waterfalls in Iceland Map
Below, you’ll find the waterfalls listed in this guide. These are among the most famous Icelandic waterfalls to include in your itinerary.
Having a general idea of where each waterfall is can help you plan your itinerary depending on where you plan to visit from north to south, east to west. Distances can be far in Iceland so you want to know which waterfalls you hope to see so as not to miss them before you leave that part of the country.
25 Best Waterfalls in Iceland
It’s estimated that there could be as many as 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland. Although no one has gone out and counted each one officially, you can’t travel very far in Iceland without coming across spectacular waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. And for every waterfall you see, you can be sure there are several more hiding out of sight just waiting to be discovered.
Iceland gets enough rain and snow throughout the year, but especially in spring and summer when the snow is melting or has melted, you’ll find Iceland’s waterfalls at peak flow.
Lastly, you might be wondering as you ooh and ahh through this list about the ending of many of these waterfall names. “Foss” is the Icelandic word for waterfall and paired with the word before it, the meaning of the waterfall’s name becomes clear. For example, “gull” is the Icelandic word for gold. So Gullfoss translates to mean Golden Waterfall.
Whether you’re looking for waterfalls near Reykjavik or further afield, read on to inspire and plan your waterfall-chasing trip to Iceland!
Oxararfoss is likely going to be one of the first waterfalls in Iceland you see. Set in the heart of Thingvellir National Park, this waterfall is close to Reykjavik and along the Golden Circle, making it easy to access even if you’re short on time or visiting in the winter months.
And what Oxararfoss lacks in terms of size and power compared to some others on this list, it makes up for in the delicate and beautiful way it cascades over the rock wall. The waterfall stretches 20 feet wide and falls about 44 feet. At the bottom is a pool of water dotted with large smooth rocks that glisten in the winter when they’re covered in ice.
This small waterfall in South Iceland is one of the must-sees in Thingvellir National Park any time of year. To get there, walk along the path past the wooden viewing platform near the tall Icelandic flagpole. The gravel trail to Oxararfoss will be a little ways further on your left, assuming the visitor’s center is to your back.
Bruarfoss is known as “Iceland’s Bluest Waterfall” – and for good reason! This Iceland waterfall is fed by the Bruara River, whose waters flow from the Langjokull glacier. This glacier meltwater has a stunning, bright blue color, which sits in stark contrast to the dark rocks.
Considered one of Iceland’s hidden gems, Bruarfoss is often overlooked by tourists. While it’s considerably smaller than other waterfalls in Iceland and on the Golden Circle, this is without a doubt one of the most photogenic. It is an ideal destination for photographers, who will love the composition of the natural colors and the stark landscape.
Bruarfoss is located in Southwest Iceland along the well-traveled Golden Circle route about 15 minutes from the Geysir area. However, you must hike to find these secluded falls. From the parking area, the falls are just over 2 miles one-way along a sometimes muddy, trail. You’ll also pass a couple of other smaller waterfalls along the way but continue to follow the signs for the true reward…beautiful Bruarfoss!
ProTip: This is a great way to venture off the beaten path along the Golden Circle. With a couple of extra hours to do the hike, you’ll have customized your Golden Circle itinerary outside of the usual top sights!
Gullfoss waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. Known as the Golden (Gull) Waterfalls (foss), this massive natural wonder is ideally located on the Golden Circle, the country’s most touristed loop. From Reykjavik, you can drive to Gullfoss in about 90 minutes or join one of the many popular Golden Circle tours that depart from the city.
The waterfall consists of a two-tiered drop. On the first tier, the water plunges 36 feet before dropping another 68 feet into a deep gorge, seemingly disappearing into the Earth with only the mist and spray left to wet your face.
One of the best things about Gullfoss is how close you can get, as well as the different viewpoints from which to get a sense of this magnificent wonder. Walk down the path and stand on the side of the falls. Then, walk up to see the falls from overhead.
4. Faxi or Faxifoss
One of the lesser-known southern Iceland waterfalls is Faxi. This waterfall is approximately 12.5 miles from Gullfoss and 7.5 miles from Geysir, making it a great addition to any Golden Circle and Reykjavik itinerary.
Also known as Vatnsleysufoss on local maps, Faxi is a wide waterfall fed by the Tungufljot River. The river is home to many salmon and in the spring you just might see them using the salmon ladder to the left of the falls as they swim upstream.
To get to Faxi, take the Golden Circle route near Geysir going away from Gullfoss. Once you reach the parking lot, there is a small path that will lead you to the waterfall and its viewing points. Make sure you have your camera ready even for the short walk because the surrounding landscapes are worth every click and you just might spot an Icelandic horse!
ProTip: Always check the time it will take to make an excursion off of Iceland’s main roads. Unpaved, rough roads take longer to travel on. So even when the distance seems short, the drive will take longer on gravel roads.
Haifoss is among the tallest waterfalls in Iceland. Its waters drop an incredible 400 feet before plunging down onto protruding rocks into the canyon below. Steep rocks and the stunning landscape of the Thjorsardalur Valley surround the waterfall to make it truly a sight to see.
If you visit when the roads leading to Haifoss are open, it is an adventurous addition to any Golden Circle road trip. Plan at least 3 hours roundtrip for this excursion.
Haifoss can only be reached by 4×4, particularly because of the last rough and gravelly road (Route 332) leading to the parking area. You can also hike the last several miles to the falls if your car isn’t suitable for the road.
Hjalparfoss is an impressive waterfall in southern Iceland. It is a bit off the main tourist route, but this waterfall is not hard to get to. And if you’re in search of Haifoss waterfall, you’ll pass by Hjalparfoss along the way so can get 2 for the price of 1 with this excursion!
Set in the lava fields near the Hekla Volcano, Hjalparfoss is where the Fossa River and the Thjorsa River join. The beautiful result is the combining of the falls into a dark pool of water. Because of this Hjalparfoss will be one of the most unique Iceland falls you come across on your trip.
To get to Hjalparfoss, travel from the Golden Circle to Routes 30 and then 32. Continue along Route 32 until you reach the parking area for Hjalparfoss.
Seljalandsfoss is one of the best waterfalls in Iceland. It is just under 2 hours from Reykjavik and is a top stop to make for anyone traveling along Iceland’s southern coast or driving Ring Road. The waterfall is along Route 1 (a.k.a Ring Road) and can be seen even before you pull into the paid parking lot.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall has a towering and breathtaking drop. Its waters pour over the rocky cliff and fall nearly 200 feet before landing in the pool below. This fantastic sight is one of the Iceland waterfalls on everyone’s to-visit list!
Take the time to explore this waterfall from almost all sides. Thanks to a recessed cave behind the falls, you can not only get up close and personal, but you can walk behind the falls. Just be sure to have your raincoat and waterproof shoes to stay dry.
Gljufrabui is a small waterfall just next to Seljalandfoss and literally off the beaten path. If you’re facing Seljalandfoss, there’s a signposted path to the left leading you to the canyon where you can find Gljufrabui. The walk is easy and takes just a few minutes. You know you’re in the right spot when you come to a small stream with a canyon to your right.
It does take a bit of effort to reach the falls inside the canyon, but trust me, it’s worth it!
Depending on the time of year you visit, you’ll need to hop from stone to stone and even possibly wade through a small stream to reach the inside of the canyon. Here you’ll find yourself surrounded by mossy rocks with the falls tumbling before you. Visiting Gljufrabui will make you feel as if you’ve discovered the magical setting of an Icelandic fairytale.
Skogafoss is a force of nature not to be missed! One of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, Skogafoss stands nearly 200 feet tall. At 82 feet wide, its waters flow over what used to be an ocean cliff with awe-inspiring force.
Walk to the front of the falls and you can feel and see its power…as well as get a little bit wet! You can also walk around the falls to take in the different views and angles. It’s an absolute can’t-miss whether you’re driving Ring Road or exploring the best of Iceland’s south coast.
Close to the town of Skogar and the Skogar Museum, Skogafoss is just 25 minutes further along Ring Road from Seljalandfoss and is easily accessed from Iceland’s Ring Road.
ProTip: Skogafoss also marks the beginning of the Fimmvorduhals hike which passes through epic Icelandic scenery to Thorsmork. This 1-2 day trek is one of the most famous summer hikes in Iceland.
10. The Waterfall Way
If you look to the right of Skogafoss, you’ll notice a staircase with hundreds of steps climbing to the top of the waterfall. These lead not just to a viewpoint overlooking the waterfall but also to the starting point for the Waterfall Way (a.k.a Skogafoss Waterfall Hike). Trust me, the climb is worth it and actually the toughest part of the hike!
Walking through the gate at the top of the waterfall and onto the trail feels like you’re opening a door to another dimension of Iceland. A gorgeous landscape unfolds in front of you, with hills and grassy meadows, as well as mountains in the distance. And to top it off, the Skoga River winds its way perfectly through the valley creating 20+ waterfalls should you decide to walk the entire trail.
Most visitors come to see Skogafoss and then continue on their way. But if you have even a little time, hike the trail for as little or as long as you want and discover a world of waterfalls and natural beauty. This will easily be one of the most spectacular places you’ll see in all of Iceland!
Kvernufoss might not be the most famous waterfall in Iceland but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as beautiful as the other waterfalls on this list. Its location is on private property and because of this many people pass on visiting. But if you’re visiting Skogafoss, it’s easy to visit and well worth a little extra time.
From the Skogar Museum car park, follow the trail (there is a blue sign to show the way). You’ll go over fences and then along a path with the river stream on your right. Once you arrive, you can walk behind the waters of Kvernufoss, giving you an incredible vantage point of this amazing waterfall.
ProTip: It’s important to remember that because this waterfall is on private property, visitors should stay on the trail and leave no trash behind. Other trails and natural sights on privately owned property have been closed because visitors were not respectful. It would be a real shame if Kvernufoss suffered the same fate.
One of the most intriguing waterfalls in Iceland is Svartifoss. It is in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, part of Vatnajokull National Park. This waterfall is a must for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The name Svartifoss translates to “black waterfall,” which makes sense once you see the black hexagonal basalt columns that surround the clear water. Seeing Svartifoss from the viewpoint, the natural effect is undeniably incredible.
To reach Svartifoss, you must hike from the Skaftafell Visitor Center. It’s just under 2 miles round trip if you use the same trail out and back. The hike does climb steadily upward but it’s not overly challenging. You’ll also see a few smaller waterfalls along the way.
For more of a hike, there is a 3.5-mile loop hike starting from the visitor’s center. It’ll take you to Svartifoss, through the natural landscape, and past a historic Icelandic turf house before returning you to where you started.
Hengifoss is one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls. It stands at an impressive 420 feet tall and plunges down a mountain of basaltic strata. The waterfall’s incredible natural beauty makes it one of the top sights in eastern Iceland. Even though other waterfalls in Iceland have basalt rock, it’s the striped red clay layered between the basalt that gives Hengifoss a truly unique appearance.
This waterfall in east Iceland is not far from Egilsstadir, the main town on this side of the country. You can see Hengifoss from a distance from the road but it’s best to make the hike to see the waterfall up close. Along the way, you’ll get to see a hidden and lesser-known waterfall, Litlanesfoss, too.
The 3-mile out-and-back trail begins in the Hengifoss parking lot off Route 931 and takes about 2 hours to complete. It’s a fantastic way to get out of the car to explore East Iceland’s spectacular scenery. You’ll want to keep your camera handy throughout the hike because the views around every turn are amazing!
Klifbrekkufossar is a series of small waterfalls in East Iceland. They aren’t the tallest or most powerful, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked! The 7 tiers of water sit perfectly cascade through lush green vegetation and over dark stone cliffs.
Getting to Klifbrekkufossar will require a bit of a detour from the Ring Road. At Egilsstadir, take the unpaved Route 953 south to Klifbrekkufossar. The road to Klifbrekkufossar is rough, remote, steep, and gravelly terrain. You will need a 4×4 to tackle this summer-only drive.
But it’s all worth it once you arrive at Klifbrekkufossar. Looking at the falls from the road you can’t help but wonder if you stumbled upon that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Fardagafoss is a beautiful waterfall near Egilsstadir in east Iceland. It has a forceful stream of water and sits nestled in a green valley surrounded by a rocky gorge. You can also go behind Fardagafoss for a “behind-the-scenes” view, as well as see what’s left of an old lava cave.
To see Fardagafoss up close, you’ll need to set out on a short, beautiful hike. This 1.5-mile out-and-back trail heads steadily uphill through the river valley and past another waterfall before seeing clear views of Fardagafoss. If you want to continue to the base of the falls, continue to follow the trail up and then use the chains bolted to the rock to help you descend to the bottom of the waterfall.
The Fardagafoss hiking trail is easily reached from Route 93, just a few miles east of Egilsstadir.
Selfoss waterfall is in northern Iceland. It is close to other spectacular waterfalls, including the thundering Dettifoss waterfall (which is just a 10-minute hike away along a signposted path), and makes for a great day trip from Myvatn or Akureyri or as the starting point for a Diamond Circle drive.
The waterfall is in the Jokulsargljufur Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in Iceland, part of Vatnajokull National Park. It stretches 328 feet wide and stands 36 feet tall. One unique feature of Selfoss is the smaller cascades of water that flank the main waterfall. In spring, these smaller streams may just be waking up from their winter freeze.
You can view the falls from both the west and east sides, but the west side access point has a visitor’s center at Dettifoss and a paved road. From both sides, you can take in the water as well as the surrounding valley and canyon. And if you visit in spring as I did, be ready for a rogue snow squall to photo-bomb the shot!
Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Iceland and the second most powerful waterfall in Europe, after Rhine Falls in Switzerland. It stretches 330 feet wide and an unbelievable 7,000 cubic feet of water crash over a 144-foot cliff every second.
This waterfall is so powerful that you can feel tremors vibrating through the Earth and the sound of the water is like the pounding of 10,000 stampeding horses. If you visit in spring, you’ll get to see the full force of the waterfall as the snow and ice around it melts.
This waterfall is in Vatnajokull National Park in Northern Iceland and can easily be reached on a day trip from nearby Akureyri or Myvatn or combined with a Husavik whale-watching excursion. The west side access point has a visitor’s center and a paved road. Trails from the parking area lead you to elevated viewing platforms, as well as lead you toward neighboring Selfoss.
Downstream from Dettifoss and Selfoss is the smaller and quite pretty Hafragilsfoss waterfall. Located also within the Jokulsargljufur Canyon, this waterfall has a single stream of water that flows 89 feet into a pool below. This stunning waterfall is well worth a stop on your Diamond Circle itinerary.
A fantastic stop for photographers, the viewpoint on the east side of the canyon over the waterfalls offers breathtaking scenery. From this spot, not only will you get amazing panoramas of the waterfalls, but you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views of the valley and canyon well into the horizon.
ProTip: Dettifoss, Selfoss, and Hafragilsfoss can all be seen from the east side of the Jokulsargljfur Canyon. However, if you visit outside of the summer months, unpaved Route 864 which travels along the east side will likely be closed. I visited in mid-May and this was still the case for me. To see Hafragilsfoss, then, the best option will be to hike to the west side viewing point. Although still beautiful, it isn’t as clear of a look at the waterfall as on the east side.
At 39 feet tall and 98 feet wide, Godafoss is one of the most visited northern Iceland waterfalls. Located right off the Ring Road, this horseshoe-shaped waterfall is easy to get to and is often included on the classic Diamond Circle tour.
You can explore and view Godafoss waterfall from all angles by walking the 1.8-mile hiking loop that takes you around the waterfall area. This easy hike takes about 50 minutes – depending on how often you stop to take photos!
For the best views of the falls, head to the east side where you can take in the full horseshoe shape, as well as walk down to the river bank with its rushing aquamarine-colored water.
20. Aldeyjarfoss & 21. Hrafnabjargafoss
Aldeyjarfoss is a spectacular basalt-columned waterfall on the Skjalfandafljot river, one of the longest rivers in the country. At 65 feet, it is the tallest of three waterfalls, which includes the smaller Hrafnabjargafoss and the most popular Godafoss, along the Skjalfandafljot River.
Hrafnabjargafoss, on the other hand, is one of the smallest waterfalls on this list, standing just 16 feet tall. It has a unique horseshoe shape and several streams plunging over the cliff’s edge.
Aldeyjarfoss and Hrafnabjargafoss are about a mile from one another and about 25 miles (50 minutes one-way) into the Budardalur Valley in Northern Iceland. They are quite far off the beaten path, and because of this, most visitors only see Godafoss and skip Aldeyjarfoss and Hrafnabjargafoss.
To get to these waterfalls, go south from Godafoss on the gravelly route 842 until it becomes F-26. At this point, if you have a 4×4, you can continue to navigate first to Aldeyjarfoss and then to Hrafnabjargafoss. If you only have a 2WD, then it is possible to park your car in the lot where the road becomes an F-road and hike the last couple of miles to Aldeyjarfoss.
These waterfalls are fairly hard to access and can be visited in summer when the roads are open and well-maintained. In winter, F-roads are closed to the public because they are impassable. Even in the best conditions, F-roads can only be driven in a 4×4.
Dynjandi waterfall is in Iceland’s Westfjords, the most remote area of the country. The Westfjords is a large peninsula 5-hours north of Reykjavik and more than 6 hours west of Akureyri. This part of Iceland is only accessible in the summer.
A dynamic and powerful waterfall, Dynjandi measures nearly 100 feet at the top and gradually widens to nearly 200 feet as the water rushes 328 feet down the rock face. Surrounded by grassy hills and dark rocks, this waterfall is truly a must-see in Iceland.
To see the falls, make the 15-minute trek up to Dynjandi. Along the way, you’ll pass a few other smaller falls. Dynjandi is truly a must-see when exploring Iceland’s Westfjords.
Kirkjufellsfoss is a small waterfall on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, near Mount Kirkjufell, one of the most famous and popular tourist attractions in Iceland. If you’re driving the circular route around the Snaefellsnes peninsula, this stop just outside of the town of Grundarfjordur is a great starting point.
Standing just over 50 feet tall, Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall is actually made up of three waterfalls that flow from the Kirkjufellsa river. The falls are easily accessible, with a paved path accessible from the parking lot. From there, follow the paths to find the best spot to photograph both the waterfalls and Mount Kirkjufell behind it.
This spot has become an absolute must-visit for photographers and visitors, alike. As a result, it can be quite (over)crowded in peak season. Be respectful of the paths and only park in the designated parking area which is on the opposite side of the road from Mount Kirkjufell.
Hraunfossar is a stunning waterfall in West Iceland near Borgarfjordur. It has a convenient location and is less than a 2-hour drive north of Reykjavik, making it a great day trip if you’re short on time. It’s also the highlight of Iceland’s Silver Circle.
Made up of a series of small streams, the waters of Hraunfossar flow through the lava rock, seemingly in hundreds of different spots, and plunge into the turquoise pool below. The contrast of the water along the dark rocks makes this waterfall one of the prettiest waterfalls!
There are paved footpaths and easy-to-access viewpoints. And as a bonus, you can use the paths to also walk to the nearby Barnafoss waterfall, too! Both waterfalls can typically be visited all year long as the road, Route 518, and the parking area are cleared of snow.
The second highest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur stands at an incredible 643 feet tall!
For years, it was considered the tallest waterfall in Iceland until the discovery of Morsarfoss in 2007. Despite being moved to number two, Glymur is still an amazing sight thanks to its narrow falls of varying sizes that plunge down the mountainside.
Getting to Glymur is nothing short of a challenge. Just 44 miles north of the capital, a trip to Glymur also includes a strenuous 2-hour (one-way) hike at extreme heights and along a suspended log over a river with nothing but a wire to hold onto. At the very least, you should be fit and have some experience hiking.
Nevertheless, this hike (either the out-and-back or loop trails) is very popular! So, even if you only have a few days in Iceland, consider a late-spring to early-autumn visit to Glymur.
Waterfalls in Iceland Bottom Line
No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to 1, 2, or 25 waterfalls! At just 25, this list barely scratches the surface of Iceland’s thousands of waterfalls, but it does include the biggest, most powerful, most picturesque, and all-around more incredible waterfalls the country has to offer.
As you plan your Iceland trip, don’t miss the opportunity to add one (or all) of these incredible waterfalls of Iceland to your itinerary.
So, which of these best Iceland waterfalls would you like to visit?
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