16 AMAZING Waterfalls in Iceland Well Worth the Journey

The best waterfalls in Iceland are the stuff of myths, legends, history, and folklore. The island nation is well known for its dramatic landscapes. It is known as the land of fire & ice, so naturally, there are a plethora of waterfalls. There are so many waterfalls in Iceland it’s nearly impossible to count them all.

So, how do you find the best Icelandic waterfalls? This post covers the best waterfalls in Iceland and where exactly to find them. I should also note that in Iceland, nature is free, so you don’t have to pay anything to see these beautiful waterfalls up close!

Our Favorite Waterfalls in Iceland

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall

Kirkjufellsfoss With Kirkjufell In The Background With A Long Exposure Photgraph

This waterfall may be the smallest, but its location near the 463-meter-high Mount Kirkjufell sets it apart. It’s a hotspot for photographers as they can capture the waterfall with the iconic mountain in the background. Being on the Snæfellsnes peninsula yet so close to Reykjavik, it’s also one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland. Come here at sunset, and you’ll be bumping shoulders with the outer tourists all vying to get their show, so we recommend sunrise!

If you’re looking for the best time to visit Iceland, it must be summer, as the midnight sun creates an amazingly long “golden hour.” You’ll need a wide-angle lens to capture the best possible photo of both Mount Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss. The scenic viewpoint was featured in the Game of Thrones series, and ever since, it’s been a hot spot for tourists.

Hraunfossar Waterfall

Hraunfossar Waterfall With Fall Colors

Hraunfossar translates to “Lava Waterfalls.” It’s hard to convey the beauty here as Hraunfossar combines creeks and large and small cascades streaming out of the lava over a distance of about 900 meters. A cascading waterfalls are formed from the Hallmundarhraun lava field and pour into the river Hvíta. The result is peaceful and serene. You can see the similarities if you visit Plitvice Falls in Croatia.

These are some of our favorite waterfalls in Iceland and we were lucky enough to catch them as the birch trees turned orange.  They are located near the small, but lovely town of Husafell. The surrounding area is one of the few areas in Iceland you can still experience a forest.


The Canyon And Hangandifoss Waterfall In Iceland

Hangandifoss is part of Múlagljúfur Canyon, one of the most stunning sights in Iceland! Múlagljúfur is located in the country’s southeastern part of the Vatnajökull National Park near the famous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. However, Múlagljúfur is far from famous, as it requires some work.

The powerful glacial river Kaldakvísl created the canyon, which has been carving through the volcanic terrain for centuries. The constant flow of water has shaped the deep and rugged walls of the canyon, resulting in a breathtaking natural spectacle. The only way to witness this beautiful area is to hike to it. Don’t worry—it’s not a tough hike and is one of our favorites in all of Iceland!

In under an hour, you can see this beautiful canyon and the magnificent Hangandifoss in the distance. Don’t just stop there, though. There’s a part that leads you closer to the back of the canyon, and of course, this gives even more amazing views.

Gullfoss Waterfall

A Rare Sunny Day Of Gullfoss Waterfall - Golden Circle Drive

Gullfoss is the most popular waterfall in Iceland and one of the largest. The waterfall is a stop on the Golden Circle route along with Geysir Hot Spring and Þingvellir National Park. Watching the Hvítá River drop down a deep ravine is a mesmerizing sight. Bring your favorite travel camera and a rain jacket, as the waterfalls produce a thick mist and frequent rainbows.

You can easily access the falls from a large parking lot with a pathway and steps that allow visitors to walk along the edge of the mighty waterfall. There’s also a cafe, gift shop, and restroom nearby. Chances are you’ll be joined here by a few tour bus groups, so try to avoid midday if you want to avoid the crowds.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Cameron Sits On A Bridge Alone In Front Of Seljalandsfoss Waterfall In Iceland

Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, and for good reason. The massive 65-meter-high waterfall allows you to hike behind the falls for a unique perspective. You’ll want to bring rain gear if you decide to stand behind Seljalandsfoss, or you will 100% get soaked. It’s also important to note that in the winter times, the path behind the waterfall may close due to slippery and uneven surfaces.

Cameron Stands Behind Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss is just off the Ring Road on the South Coast, well before Vik. It’s a stopping point for almost every tour and can easily be combined with a visit to Skogafoss. This means it’s busy nearly all the time. If you want to beat the crowds and have it to yourself, as we did, I highly suggest arriving after 11 pm in the summer. We showed up at midnight and stayed until 3 am, which was magical.


Cameron Inside The Hidden Gljúfrabúi Waterfall

Also known as Gljúfrafoss, it is a stunning and enchanting waterfall located in Iceland, near the more famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Despite being just a 10-minute walk from Seljalandsfoss, few people venture to it. Gljúfrabúi is often called a hidden gem because it is concealed from plain view.

Visitors need to walk a short distance from Seljalandsfoss to reach the waterfall and enter a narrow canyon through a cleft in the rock – it sounds simple, but it’s easy to miss. Walking through the wet and narrow canyon feels like an adventure in itself. Once you reach Gljúfrabúi, you’ll feel a sense of discovery as the powerful and beautiful waterfall greets you.


Natasha Looks Out To The Glymur Waterfall In Iceland

Glymur Waterfall is Iceland’s second-largest waterfall, and though it requires a hike to reach, it’s well worth it. At around three and a half hours, you can bet it’s a popular journey to see the falls. The views aren’t just at the end, though: you’ll be treated to incredible vistas the whole way. The trailhead starts about an hour’s drive north of Reykjavik. It’s tricky to see from the road, so watch for signage indicating where to turn.

Cameron And Natasha With Glymur Waterfall From A Drone Shot In Iceland

Despite some slightly higher climbs, this isn’t a challenging hike, so all levels should feel welcome to experience it. The waterfall drops into a beautiful mossy green canyon, so bring your camera along to capture this rugged beauty.

You can catch a view about 45 minutes into the hike, but it’s also possible to do an entire loop around Glymur and cross above the falls! To do this full loop you’ll have to enjoy two river crossings, so it’s best to prepare for that with watershoes or rainwear.


Natasha Sits Along The River Banks Below The Íráfoss Waterfall In Iceland

Íráfoss is not one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland. Though it is one of the most beautiful we stopped at, it’s well worth mentioning on this list. Situated on the Southern Coast between Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss is this quiet waterfall where almost no one stops. If you visit, I can guarantee you’ll be one of the only people admiring this waterfall, even in the heat of summer.

Skógafoss Waterfall

Cameron Walks Away From The Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland

If you could picture a waterfall, it would be Skógafoss. The classic shape of this Icelandic waterfall, along with its convenient location and accessibility, make it a hit with everyone. Skógafoss is located right off the ring road before or after the town of Vik, depending on where you come from.

It was easily one of our favorites and most photogenic waterfalls on our Ring Road trip around Iceland. If you want to feel humbled, stand near the waterfall’s base – be prepared to get wet! What truly made the falls unforgettable for us was the ability to stand meters away from the misty base of the waterfall. There’s also a long staircase to the top of Skógafoss, which has the most amazing views, and you can continue hiking if you want.

Skogafoss is a busy one, but we had these falls to ourselves! How? We showed up after 11 pm after the crowds had died down, and there is nothing like having one of the most amazing waterfalls in Iceland all to yourself!

Dettifoss Waterfall

Dettifoss Waterfall Long Exposure

Dettifoss is said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It is monstrous and one of the most impressive natural landscapes in Iceland. You can hike right up to either side of the waterfall, and you’ll feel the ground tremble beneath your feet.

Its remote location in the North of Iceland attracts far fewer visitors than waterfalls on the South Coast. The waterfall was most notably featured in the opening scene of Prometheus; check out the epic visuals from Ridley Scott’s opening.

Goðafoss Waterfall

godafoss waterfall in iceland

Goðafoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland, but in my opinion, it certainly is not its most impressive. The waterfall in the Northeast is still spectacular, as it’s 30m wide and 12m high. What makes the waterfall significant is its historical importance. In 1100 A.D., the law speaker converted from the Old Norse religion to Christianity. In doing so, he cast his old deities into the waterfall, giving the waterfall its new name. Goðafoss or “Waterfall of the Gods.”

Goðafoss is well worth a stop on any Route 1 journey. There’s a parking area nearby and from there you can easily walk around the falls. We got lucky and saw kayakers braving it down the massive fall while we were there! There’s a rest stop nearby, but not much else, so come prepared with food if you want to have lunch at the Waterfall of the Gods.

Bruarfoss Waterfall

Bruarfoss Waterfall In Summmer

You might come to realize that names in Iceland are quite literal. Brúarfoss means “Bridge Fall” because, at one point, a natural stone bridge had formed over the narrow gorge formed by the waterfall. The glacial waters here are a deep blue, and the waterfall is prized for its beauty. Locals have even declared it “Iceland’s bluest waterfall,” which is saying something!

Bruarafoss is not as well known as other waterfalls, as it’s not easily accessible from the main road. It’s located in the west of Iceland and is less than an hour and a half from Reykjavik, so if you’re up for an adventure and want to check out a place many others don’t know about, head here!

Svartifoss Waterfall

Waterfalls in Iceland - Svartifoss

Svartifoss is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland, and basalt columns surround it. The waterfall is located in Vatnajökull National Park, the largest national park in Europe. You must hike around 30 minutes from the Skaftafell Visitor Center to reach the park. It’s roughly 1.5km with a slight incline, so just about anyone should be able to make the hike that passes two other waterfalls. The hike is well worth the views, as you can see from the photo!

Háifoss Waterfall

Taking A Photo Of The HaiFoss Waterfall

Háifoss is the fourth-highest waterfall in Iceland. It’s impressive as the water rolls off the 122-meter sheer cliff to the Fossa River below. In the photo above, you’ll see the waterfall “Granny” to the right of Háifoss. I don’t want to show you the whole thing so you can be surprised when you get there. If you suffer from vertigo, you won’t want to get too close to the edge here – it’s a long way down. It is possible to hike down if you know the way.

While visiting nearby Landmannalauger, we convinced our guide to take us to Háifoss to grab some photos. I’m happy he did because our rental camper van would not have done well on the worn road there. The road up to the waterfall is rough for low-clearance vehicles. While it is nothing compared to the roads we’ve seen in Africa, we did see a stranded couple after busting their car’s oil pan. So, I would ensure a proper 4×4 or high-clearance vehicle to make the trek to Háifoss.

Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall

Waterfalls in Iceland - Aldeyjarfoss

This is the second waterfall in a stunning series on the Skjálfandafljót river. It’s similar to Svartifoss, as it has more dark-colored basalt columns. The black basalt columns, mixed with the white waters of the fall, create a beautiful scene. It all adds to Iceland’s allure and rugged beauty. The waterfall is accessible on a two-hour detour from Goðafoss and requires a 4×4. Due to its inaccessibility, you could show up and be completely alone!


Natasha Stands In Front Of THe Öxarárfoss Waterfall In Iceland

Öxarárfoss is a charming and petite waterfall that graces the landscape of Thingvellir National Park. To reach this delightful sight while exploring the park, follow the meandering gravel and boardwalk trails just a short walk from the parking area. A visit to Öxarárfoss is a brief yet rewarding experience, taking just a few minutes to behold the beauty of the cascading waters.

Map to the Best Waterfalls in Iceland

Map of Waterfalls in Iceland
click for an interactive map

Plan For Your Trip

About Cameron Seagle

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past decade. During this time, he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling, he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Scotland, Indonesia, Mozambique, Peru, Italy, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

Leave a Comment