What are the Most Scenic Waterfalls in Iceland?

Iceland is synonymous with many natural wonders. These include the northern lights, glaciers, ice caves, geysers, hot springs, and volcanoes. But it’s the sheer number of photogenic waterfalls that stuns most visitors.

It’s no exaggeration to say that you can find awe-inspiring falls all over Iceland. In fact, it feels as though every stop on the ring road has its own unique, spectacular torrent to witness. 

Our expert team provides walking tours in Reykjavik that showcase everything our city has to offer. But our expertise extends across the country too — our range of day trips and tours in Iceland uncovers the magic in the Land of Fire and Ice.

Your Friend in Reykjavik is always happy to answer any questions you may have, so please feel free to contact us.

For now, though, join us on a tour of Iceland’s most scenic waterfalls.

Gullfoss waterfall Golden Circle Small

Gullfoss: The Two-Tiered Waterfall in the Golden Circle

There are numerous reasons to start our journey with Gullfoss. First, it’s Iceland’s most famous and most visited waterfall. It’s also part of the Golden Circle, so it’s a relatively short drive from downtown Reykjavik.

If you’re unfamiliar with this, we have provided a handy guide introducing everything you need to know about the Golden Circle.

The narrow gorge into which the Hvita River falls is hidden from view on the initial approach, so it appears that a surging river simply disappears into the ground.

It’s only when you reach the canyon’s edge that the full beauty of the 32-meter, two-tiered waterfall reveals itself.

And when it does, it’s a feast for the senses. The constant roar of the cascading water fills the ears; the sheer power and volume of the surging water widen the eyes. It’s easy to get close enough to feel the drifting spray landing on exposed skin.

Gullfoss translates into English as “golden falls” — it’s easy to see why this waterfall is so many people’s number one choice.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland

Seljalandsfoss: The Waterfall You Can Walk Behind!

Located next to Iceland’s famous ring road, around a 90-minute drive from Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss provides an entirely different experience.

On first impression, it’s a tall, narrow, photogenic waterfall flowing over a former sea cliff into a landscape of lush green and stark black. Of course, that’s more than enough to make a highly attractive waterfall.

However, on closer inspection, the cascading water hides a moss-covered cavern that visitors can enter to view the waterfall from behind.

While you may get slightly damp and misty-eyed, this new perspective makes for some spectacular views and photos.

Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland

Skógafoss: Possibly the Perfect Waterfall!

Skógafoss is less than 20 miles east along the ring road from Seljalandsfoss, so it’s easy to view both on the same day.

On a purely aesthetic level, Skógafoss is all but flawless. The cascade is a neat rectangle of water with perfect proportions: 197 feet (60 meters) in height by 82 feet (25 meters) in width. 

And the volume of water pouring over the edge of the ancient sea cliff is just enough to create the all-important steady rumble of thunder, not to mention the refreshing feel of mist on your face.

But there’s more! You can rely on Skógafoss for regular rainbow formations too.

It’s possible to walk close to the waterfall’s base for some incredible photos. But bear in mind that the closer you get, the more you’ll need a waterproof coat!

Dettifoss Waterfall in Iceland

Dettifoss: One of Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfalls

Located in the north of Iceland, Dettifoss is a popular stop-off for people circling the ring road. It’s more rough and rugged than pretty, but Dettifoss creates its spectacle through scale and power.

With an impressive width of 330 feet (100 meters) and a fall of 144 feet (44 meters), Dettifoss dominates its surroundings. It cuts across the landscape, and its deafening roar drowns out all other sounds.

Dettifoss is Europe’s second most powerful waterfall, behind only the Rhine Falls in Switzerland. Such is the allure of this site that it was used in the opening sequence of Ridley Scott’s 2012 movie Prometheus.

Learn more about other filming locations in North Iceland.

Goðafoss: North Iceland’s Legendary Horseshoe-Shaped Falls

Staying in the north and to the west of Dettifoss is perhaps northern Iceland’s most iconic waterfall: Goðafoss.

Both Goðafoss and Dettifoss are part of Iceland’s Diamond Circle tour.

Goðafoss translates into English as “waterfall of the Gods”. This refers to the moment in the year 1000 when Thorgeir Ljosvetningagodi threw his idols of Norse gods into the waterfall, marking Iceland’s transition to Christianity.

On a striking horseshoe-shaped cliff, two cataracts, separated by a large rock formation, plunge 39ft (12 meters). Adding a flourish to the scene, a smaller waterfall flows through the center of this partition.

Even in a country rich in scenic waterfalls, Goðafoss is a contender for the title of most picturesque.

Goðafoss Waterfall in the North-waterfall of the Gods

Discover Even More About Iceland with Insightful Tours and Day Trips!

For every stunning sight in Iceland, there are fascinating stories and incredible facts to share. At Your Friend in Reykjavik, we’d love to give you the full picture of our country’s most famous sites. And while that includes waterfalls, it covers so much more!

Whether you’re looking for Reykjavik tours only, or Iceland tours and day trips that venture further afield, our specialist guides can show you the authentic Icelandic experience.

Are you ready to start your adventure in Iceland? Contact us today for more information about any of our tours and day trips.

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