There’s something truly magical about Icelandic waterfalls. There are hidden waterfalls all over the country, most of which aren’t recorded on a map or in a travel blog. But the more popular grand waterfalls are.
We were blessed with clear, sunny skies which cast multiple rainbows over the waterfalls we visited. But it’s the roar of the water that makes some of these waterfalls all the more impressive.
We were told by the Icelanders we met that it’s common for people living there to have a favourite waterfall and that we should choose one as well. I’ve managed to narrow down my list to seven. Here are my favourite Icelandic waterfalls.
If I had to pick, this would be my absolute favourite of all the waterfalls in Iceland. You’ve seen this one pictured all over social media for having the ability to walk behind the waterfall. It was just as magical as I had hoped it would be! The sun cast a double rainbow over the cascading water while we were there. Be careful if you’re walking behind the waterfall as it gets very slippery and always stick to the designated path.
Arguably just as popular as Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss is also pictured liberally across social media. The unique shape of the waterfall makes it a wide cascading curtain of water. The sound of the rushing water is incredible! There is a lookout point you can climb to the right of the waterfall but I think the force and magic of Skógafoss is best experienced from its base.
There’s a reason this waterfall was named after the mighty Norse gods! Goðafoss is a large, wide waterfall in Iceland’s central north and one of the most spectacular to behold. There are designated walking tracks and raised platforms surrounding the waterfall so you can see it from all angles.
Located in Southwest Iceland in the canyon of the Hvítá River, this is one of the most popular waterfalls with tourists. This is the one waterfall that gives Goðafoss a run for its money. A true force of untouched nature, it is best experienced when walking the path that leads closest to the cascading water. You’ll struggle against the wind and spray of water coming off the waterfall.
So you want more power in your waterfalls? Located in in Vatnajökull National Park close to Mývatn, the water of Dettifoss runs off Vatnajökull glacier, giving it a grey-white colour. This waterfall is considered the most powerful in all of Europe. The water here drops about 44 metres so you can expect to get wet from the crashing spray! From here you’ll also be able to walk to nearby Selfoss.
Not as mighty and powerful as Dettifoss, Selfoss is made from river water which falls across 30 kilometres. This waterfall is probably the most difficult to get to because the water’s wide spray makes the rocks slippery.
Also known as Bjarnafoss, this waterfall runs across a great lava plain about 100 kilometres from Reykjavik. The waterfall’s name means Children’s Falls, given after a tragic story in one of the Sagas which tells of two children from the Hraunsás household who drowned in the water. The story goes that the children fell into the water after trying to cross a natural rock stone bridge which their mother destroyed following their deaths.
Last but certainly not least is Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets that stream across lava rock at a distance of about 900 metres. The waterfall is located just downstream from Bjarnafoss. Clear, cold springs of subterranean water seeps through the lava rock, creating tiny waterfalls and rapids which flow into the Hvita River.
Which Icelandic waterfall is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!