When arriving in Iceland or even while planning a trip here, it can be daunting to choose where to go, what to see, which top destinations to visit, and what waterfalls to visit. There are many to choose from here. A lot of them are easy to access while driving around Iceland in your rental car, others require a hike to reach but well worth the effort. To help you choose which ones to visit, we have a list for you of ten great waterfalls in Iceland, in no particular order.
Seljalandsfoss is 65m/213ft and might be one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland. No wonder, as it’s just 10 seconds away from the ring road, a parking lot just below it and it is very beautiful. If you drive south on the ring road, you will see this waterfall roughly after you have been driving for one and a half hours. Weather permitting, you will see the fall on your left side before you pass the right turn taking you to the ferry to Westman islands. We recommend you go there very early during the day or very late for this is a very popular destination here. If you go there during the day, you might be unlucky to have to share the waterfall with a ton of other tourists.
GPS Coordinates: 63°36’57.07″N 19°59’32.53″W
This magnificent waterfall differing from so many other around the world. This is just not one waterfall but a whole bunch of them, cold, ice clear water seeping through every crack in the lava field creating an absolutely stunning sight. Just above Hraunfossar you have Barnafossar too. Not only is this place stunning in so many ways, it’s also surrounded with a few great camp sites. It’s easy access from the parking lot but keep an extra eye on your kids, especially when walking over the bridge to Barnafossar (a 1 minute walk tops). I the area you have a few interesting places to see so you can easily spend a night or two in the area.
GPS Coordinates: 64°42’5.70″N 20°58’43.59″W
Skógafoss is also just by the ringroad, just a short drive further from Seljalandsfoss. Perhaps one of the more beautiful waterfalls here. You can watch the waterfall from different perspectives too, time permitting. Many people likes to walk up the waterfall on the right side of it and walk along the river above which is also fantastic but a bit of a hike. Try to walk to the bottom of the waterfall to get the full feel of it. It’s quite impressive to stand so close a waterfall but be prepared, you might get wet so bring a raincoat! In that area you also have a camping site so you might want to plan a night there and hike above the waterfall in your own pace.
GPS Coordinates: 63°31’37.31″N 19°30’38.65″W
Of course we can’t write about Icelandic waterfalls without mentioning the big ones. Gullfoss is within the Golden circle so we guess it’s the waterfall that receives the most amount of visitors every years but Gullfoss is big so there is plenty of room for everybody.
This is a very mighty waterfall with huge amount of water cascading down the gorge below. It’s quite impressive to walk close to the waterfall. During wither the path leading down to the waterfall might be closed due to icing. Please don’t walk there when the stop signs are up.
GPS Coordinates: 64°19’30.14″N 20° 7’30.49″W
If you are driving up north then Goðafoss is a must. Goðafoss, the falls of the gods is, our little Niagara falls. A big, horseshoe shaped waterfall, split in two. It’s about 12m/39ft and 30m/98ft wide. In the year 1000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After his conversion Þorgeir threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall.
It’s an easy half a kilometer/0.35miles walk to the waterfall from the parking lot and definitely well worth it.
GPS Coordinates: 65°41’9.36″N 17°32’18.29″W
When it comes to sheer water volume then Dettifoss is Europe’s biggest waterfall. A massive amount of water plunges into the gorge below with an deafening noise. Truly impressive to witness it up and close.
Dettifoss is not far from Goðafoss nor any other of the interesting places around there like Mývatn, Dimmuborgir and Ásbyrgi. Depending on the season, the road leading to the parking lot 1/2km away from the waterfall might be closed. If you are going there during any other season than summer, make sure the road is opened for traffic before committing yourself to the trip. Up to 2011 the road was classified as an F-road but is now passable in ordinary cars.
GPS Coordinates: 65°49’7.97″N 16°22’45.17″W
Slightly off the beaten path of the Golden circle, you will find Brúarfoss. It lies between Þingvellir and Geysir and lies on the north side of a summer cabin area. Once you passed a blue sign on your right with an arrow pointing to the left (you have a field on your left), take that left turn and pass the summer house area. There you will see a very small parking lot. Park your car and follow the trail.
It’s not one of the biggest ones but its charm is incredible. The color of the water is just surreal, really beautiful and the place is far from the big tourists crowds. You are driving a rental car, use the possibilities and go there. Easy access but not the easiest one to find.
GPS Coordinates: 64°15’53.74″N 20°31’0.24″W
Read more: F-roads in Iceland
This is one of the higher waterfalls in Iceland. Reaching an impressive 122m/400ft. To get to Háifoss from Reykjavík drive east on the ringroad, after Selfoss take a left turn on road 30 and drive to Árnes, where you make a right turn on road 32. Just before you reach the power plant Sultartangi turn left on a gravel road and that takes you to Háifoss.
When you reach Háifoss, you get a bonus for next to it, you also have Granni, another waterfall just next to Háifoss. A truly beautiful canyon well worth visiting.
GPS Coordinates: 64°12’25.39″N 19°40’48.88″W
This waterfall is not far from Háifoss and is also well worth the visit. The split waterfall provided shelter and grazing for horses during times when people traversed over the highlands by horse. This was the perfect stop to revitalize the travelers, hence the name “Help waterfall”. Brave locals can also been seen swimming below the fall. It’s easy access to. The parking lot for the fall is only 800m/0.5miles from road:32 which is a fully paved road. Both Hjálparfoss and Háifoss lies in Þórsár valley, by the roots of Hekla so you will see the signs of Hekla everywhere. Very wild and beautiful landscapes. The whole valley has interesting formations all around the place and you also find one of the more prettier camping sites in Iceland in that valley too.
GPS Coordinates: 64° 6’51.95″N 19°51’12.94″W
The highest waterfall in Iceland. It reaches a staggering 198m/649ft but it also takes a bit of an effort to get there. The ride from Reykjavik to the start of the trail is not long and takes you along the beautiful fjord of Hvalfjörður. You drive to the very bottom of that fjord and make a right turn and drive 2.45km/1.52miles to the parking lot. The hike to the fall is stunning but should not be attempted by people who are uncomfortable with heights. Many also wear helmets walking this trail which is not a bad idea. At one point you cross the river on a firmly bolted log that has a steel wire above that you hold tight to while crossing the log. You can also get to the top of Glýmur with a stunning view of the waterfall. The hike takes around 4 to 5 hours, round trip
GPS Coordinate at the right turn: 64°23’7.97″N 21°21’18.34″W
GPS Coordinates to the parking lot: 64°23’7.09″N 21°17’41.38″W
This is only ten of the many waterfalls we have here in Iceland. You will see waterfalls all over the country when you drive around in your rental car. You can also just Google and see if there are more waterfalls you want to visit. Whatever you choose, we know you will have a fantastic time!
Read more: Roads in Iceland
Happy exploring! #GoIceland
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