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The top 6 waterfalls in Iceland

The top 6 watersfalls in Iceland

Iceland known for being a land of ice and fire and when it comes to water, Iceland is blessed with abundance of it, in any shape and form. There are numerous geothermal swimming pools located around country and abundance of attraction areas containing water in any form including hot springs, rivers, lakes, waterfalls or glaciers. There are over 1000 waterfalls in Iceland and each year a new one appears as a result of melting glaciers. A wide array of waterfalls can be spotted from the ring road, but others are more challenging to get to.

Gullfoss - Iceland's most popular cascade

Every year numerous tourists stream to ‘The Golden Waterfall’ which by many is considered one of the most attractive cascade in Iceland. It is without doubt the most visited waterfall in Iceland, being part of the popular Golden Circle route, which draws the name of the waterfall and traditionally includes attractions site like Geysir and Þingvellir National Park. This mighty two-tiered waterfall is 32 meters tall and flows into the canyon of Hvítá glacier river. It is located in Haukadalur, about 116 km from Reykjavik and only 15 minutes drive from Geysir. It is accessible all year and there is a  viewpoint from the Gullfoss Visitor Center which is open year-round, there is also a staircase leading down to the lower viewpoint of Gullfoss. During winter the path can get quite icey so it is advisable to wear crampons. If you are looking for something more adventurous you can also book a Snowmobiling tour on Langjökull Glacier, the meeting point is located by Gullfoss Parking area.

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Seljalandsfoss - One of the few cascades you can walk behind

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is another popular cascade located along the south shore of Iceland and easily accessible, just a short walk from the main road. It is part of the popular South Coast route, which typically includes other pit stops like Skógafoss waterfall, Black Beach Reynisfjara, Dyrhólaey and Vík. The uniqueness about Seljalandsfoss, is that it is one of the few cascades you can walk behind in Iceland. It is truly an amazing experience, however, don’t be surprised to feel water drissle over you, depending on the wind direction. So, be properly dressed and protect your phone and camera. Also note it can be quite slippery and if there is a mandatory parking fee.

The south coast - friend in iceland
South coast Seljalandsfoss waterfall zoom out friend in iceland
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Gljúfrabúi - a beautiful cascade hidden inside a canyon

Just 10 minutes walk from Seljalandsfoss you find Gljúfrabúi (or Gorge Dweller) hidden away inside a small canyon. Despite the proximity to the popular cascade of Seljlandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi waterfall is often overlooked due to it’s effective hiding place, as it cannot be seen from the road, but it is truly worth the hike. However, it is not as secret anymore, as increasingly more tourists have heard about it. In order to approach the cascade you need to wade a small river of Gljúfrá, which runs through a cleft in the cliff, so bring waterproof shoes a long. The route to Gljúfrabúi cavern is mildy challenging as it can be slippery and you might get wet, so only attempt to reach the waterfall if you are in good physical health and have the right footwear. Unfortunately, most scheduled buses don’t go to Gljúfrabúi, so it is better book a private south shore tour or drive yourself.

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Skógafoss - the beginning of Fimmvörðuháls Hiking trail

Skógafoss is another impressive cascade, with astounding width of 25 meters and drop of 60 meters, located on the south shore and one of the most famous ones. There are two major viewing points, either walk up the staircase and view it from above or make a 2 minutes walk towards the crashing base, but be prepared to get wet. Skógafoss is part of the popular South Coast route and also marks the beginning of the popular hiking route from Fimmvörðuháls over to Þórsmörk valley. If you follow the hiking trail and continue walking above Skógafoss you will find plenty of waterfalls in all shapes and sizes. 

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Svartifoss - surrounded by basalt columns

Svartifoss literally ‘Black Waterfall’ is a 20 meters high waterfall, located in Skaftafell, within the Vatnajökull National Park. It truly deserves a place on the list for its distinct hexagonal basalt columns that resembles pipes of a giant organ. Its unique shape was the inspiration for the columnar architecture of church Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík as well as the ceiling of Þjóðleikshúsið, the National Theatre in Iceland. As Svartifoss waterfall cannot be seen from the road you need to make the effort and walk up to it, but it is really worth the walk. There are several hiking trails around Svartifoss. The Visitor centre in Skaftafell provides information about how to reach this stunning cascade and it is open all-year round. You can either follow the shorter path that leads you to the cascade, about 1.5. km uphill hike from Vistor Centre  (ca. 45 minutes each way) or follow the circular path which is about 5.5 km long.

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Dynjandi - the Jewel of the Westfjords

Dynjandi is a majestic waterfall located in the Westfjords and truly deserves the title of the gem of the Westfjords. It is the largest waterfall in Westfjord, about 100 metres high and has a stunning shape, which widens as it streams further down. Some say it looks kind of like a stunning bridal veil, being about 30 meters wide from the top and widening as it comes down to 60 metres from the bottom. In order to reach Dynjandi waterfall, you must walk uphill some 200 metres passing 6 other smaller waterfalls on the way. The rocky path up to Dynjandi was laid in 1996 and requires a bit of a climb and takes about 15 minutes, but you can rest in between and take some amazing photographs of the smaller waterfalls on the way.

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Recommendations for waterfalls

Took get most out of the tour we recommend a private tour or that you book your own rental car, that way you save time and are able to explore more places.

Golden Circle
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Self-drive tour
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South Coast
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For scheduled coaches or other attractions, click here