15 must see waterfalls in Iceland

Land of waterfalls, Land of Adventure as well as fire and ice; start planning for the trip of a lifetime! Along with ice-fields, glaciers and volcanoes, Iceland’s waterfalls are arguably the most spectacular in the world.

August 25, 2022

15 must see waterfalls in Iceland

Land of waterfalls, Land of Adventure as well as fire and ice; start planning for the trip of a lifetime! Along with ice-fields, glaciers and volcanoes, Iceland’s waterfalls are arguably the most spectacular in the world.

August 25, 2022

Land of waterfalls, Land of Adventure as well as fire and ice; start planning for the trip of a lifetime! Along with ice-fields, glaciers and volcanoes, Iceland’s waterfalls are arguably the most spectacular in the world. And there are large numbers of them with backdrops film location scouts would die for.

Take your pick from a wide range of tours and activities in Iceland to create your perfect trip. Whether you’re looking for waterfalls close to Reykjavik, want easy access from the Golden Circle or Ring Road, or would like to venture into the wild interior with a four-wheel drive and a thrilling trek, there’s something for everyone.

How many waterfalls are there in Iceland?

Iceland’s waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes. From a trickle over a rock to the great cascading curtains of water Iceland is famous for, you could argue they’re all waterfalls. If we take in the literal definition of a water ‘fall’, it’s estimated there are around 10,000. What we do know is there are 200 named waterfalls. Each one has its own character and charm. If you see ‘foss’ in a name, you’ll know it’s the site of one of Iceland’s extraordinary waterfalls, always found in out-of-this-world landscapes.

What’s the largest waterfall in Iceland?

The tallest waterfall on the island is Morsárfoss, around 220m in height. It only became visible in 2007 when the glacier of Morsár (Morsárjökull) in southeast Iceland began to melt, stealing Glymur’s thunder to take the number one spot! Meanwhile, Dettifoss in north Iceland claims the island’s most powerful waterfall. While it’s only 45m high, it’s an impressive 100m wide. Feel the ground shake beneath you as it crashes over the precipice. It’s found in the famous Diamond Circle of waterfalls.

Where are the most famous waterfalls in Iceland? The countdown…

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. While you could argue over the order of these awe-inspiring waterfalls, there’s no question that each and every one of them is sublime. You’ll find them across the island north to south and east to west. Many of them are on the Ring Road, or close to it. Others are found in the Island’s interior where you’ll have to drive challenging gravel roads to reach them. Some of them require a walk-in of several kilometres, but they are all worth the effort.

15. Kirkjufellsfoss - West Iceland

waterfalls Kirkjufellsfoss

Just 180km northwest of Reykjavik on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufellsfoss is a relatively modest waterfall but it has one of the most stunning backdrops in Iceland. Behind it, the stand-alone Mount Kirkjufell - Church Mountain - soars heavenward like a great spire. This landscape of sea, mountain and waterfall has a spiritual quality to it; you cannot help but be moved by it.

14. Brúarfoss- South Iceland

Brúarfoss

The island’s waterfalls are often described in superlatives and Brúarfoss is no exception. On the Golden Circle route, It’s also called ‘Iceland’s Bluest Waterfall’ because of its milky-blue glacial waters. To see the ‘Bridge Waterfall’ (the original bridge it’s called after is long gone but the name remains) you’ll have to trek seven kilometres there and back. It’s no hardship, however. Along the way, you’ll pass several smaller waterfalls with Brúarfoss the climax of your watery ramble. This is a place for all those who love splendid isolation away from the crowds. Cross onto the wooden footbridge and drink in the blue.

13. Hengifoss - East Iceland

Hengifoss

Iceland’s third highest waterfall in the northeast part of the island requires a 50-minute trek from the car park, but what a walk through wilderness to a spectacular end-point. The waterfall plunges 39m from the top of great black basalt cliffs with striking horizontal bands of red clay. Scientists have found fossilised trees in the rocks. It’s a geologist’s dream - or indeed one for anyone who loves wild beauty and dramatic landscapes.

See Hengifoss on this superb multi-day tour.

12. Háifoss - South Iceland

Háifoss

Drive east of Reykjavik into the remote interior of the island to marvel at one of Iceland’s most spectacular waterfalls. You’ll need a 4-wheel drive to negotiate the gravel road in the highlands, but Háifoss, or "High Waterfall" is well worth the bumpy ride. Follow the River Fossá a short walk from the car park to the site, dropping down through the canyon to Háifoss and the neighbouring Granni waterfall. Be prepared to get wet - and be prepared to be dazzled by the surrounding nature, raw and majestic.

11. Dynjandi - Westfjords Iceland

Dynjandi

Located in the spectacular far northwest, Dynjandi - meaning thunderous - is a series of waterfalls in the wilds of the Westfjords. You’ll pass several waterfalls to reach the top of Dynjandi - a superb hike in dramatic terrain. This is a place for nature lovers and photographers.

10. Ófærufoss - South Iceland

Ófærufoss

Ófærufoss waterfall is situated in the wild Eldgjá canyon - The Canyon of Fire - between Landmannalaugar and Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Access is restricted to the summer months and requires good driving skills on the interior gravel road with a river to ford. But it’s truly worth the trip: one of the largest volcanic canyons in the world, Eldgjá is 270m deep and 600m wide. This tour-de–force of nature was created by Iceland’s largest flood basalt eruption in 934.

9. Hraunfossar - West Iceland

Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900m from Hallmundarhraun, a lava field that flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under Langjökull glacier. Not far from Hraunfossar is Barnafossar - The Children's Falls. Despite its innocent-sounding name, the story behind it is as dark as Icelandic folktales get. Two boys misbehave, cross the waterfall via a natural lava-bridge, fall in and drown. The mother puts a curse on the bridge that collapses in an earthquake soon after. Moral of the story: nature is a force to be reckoned with. Oh, and no misbehaving!

See Hraunfossar waterfalls on this tour.

8. Gljúfrabúi - South Iceland

Gljúfrabúi

It’s only a two-minute drive from the ever-popular Seljalandsfoss, but Gljúfrabúi has the feel of a forgotten place. Gljúfrabúi, meaning canyon dweller, is a small waterfall just off the Ring Road, west of Vik. It‘s partially hidden behind a cliff rock, only reached via a narrow canyon where the waterfall plummets into a small pool. It feels as if you’re entering a secret world far from the ‘madding crowd’. Wade through the stream, squeeze between the cleft of rock and enter a magical place of elves and trolls. It requires a level of fitness and dexterity to reach the waterfall but for those who are nimble of foot, this is an ethereal place that will fill you with wonder.

7. Dettifoss - Northeast Iceland

Dettifoss

Fed by the tumultuous glacial river of Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Dettifoss is located in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park in northeast Iceland. At 45m high and 100m wide, it’s the most powerful waterfall in Europe, a fact not lost on those who meet this one in person. You might recognise it from the film Prometheus. The brute force of the waterfall and the bleak beauty of the rock-strewn terrain is the perfect location for the science fiction horror film.

See Dettifoss waterfall on this multi-day tour.

6. Glymur - Southwest Iceland

Glymur

Relegated to second place after the discovery of Morsárfoss, Glymur is still a force to be reckoned with a dizzying height of 196m. Honestly, who can keep up? Glymur is situated in Hvalfjörður, a short drive from Reykjavik. To hike to the top, however, you’ll need to set aside 3-4 hours, perhaps longer, but with each corner you turn, you’ll find your surroundings growing in majesty and power. Look down into deep canyons, peer into caves and ford turbulent waters with the aid of a wire. The pièce de résistance is, of course, the end-point with the Glymur seemingly plunging into the abyss.

5. Goðafoss - North Iceland

Goðafoss

With a sweep across thirty metres, the curtains of Goðafoss in northern Iceland cascade off curved rock along the tempestuous River Skjálfandafljót. It’s a spectacular sight. Watch the seething froth of water. Listen to its thunder. No wonder it’s called the Waterfall of the Gods. There’s a story behind its name, however: Þorgeir the lawspeaker threw his Norse god idols into the waterfall when he became Christian in the year 1000.

See Goðafoss waterfall on this multi-day tour.

4. Svartifoss - South Iceland

Svartifoss

Situated in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park, this is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The waterfall is surrounded by columnar basalt that formed when a thick lava flow cooled down, creating contractional joints. The hike to the waterfall, surrounded by glacier tongues and glorious mountains, is nothing short of spectacular, but it's Svartifoss that provides that dramatic finish.

3. Gullfoss - Southwest Iceland

Gullfoss

Gullfoss is the most famous waterfall in Iceland, yet in the early 20th century, plans were made to dam it! Luckily, the landowner refused to sell, saying: "I don't sell my friends." The pressure to give Gullfoss up continued, but in a true David versus Goliath legal battle, the owner’s daughter eventually claimed victory. Gullfoss, meaning The Golden Waterfall, gives its name to The Golden Circle, a 230km route taking in some of the greatest geological landmarks in Iceland, yet within easy reach of the capital. Check out Gullfoss, Thingvellir National Park and The Geysir Geothermal Park in our selection of Golden Circle Tours. Visit Gullfoss waterfall on all our Golden Circle tours and marvel at the glacial-blue waters as they sweep towards two drops before plunging into the bowels of the earth. Here you’ll feel the mighty force of nature. Discover more in your ultimate guide to the Golden Circle in Iceland.

2. Skógafoss - South Iceland

Skógafoss

Skógafoss is just as famous as our number one waterfall - drumroll - Seljalandsfoss, and it’s only a 30 minute drive away to boot. Two of the best for the price of one! While you can't walk behind this waterfall like Seljalandsfoss, there’s a fascinating story in which an old chieftain hid his treasure here. Skógafoss marks the beginning of the Fimmvörðuháls walk over to Þórsmörk. Fimmvörðuháls erupted in 2010, just before the infamous Eyjafjallajökull eruption. The eruption wasn't nearly as violent as the one that followed, and is generally referred to as a "Tourist Eruption". The waterfall was used in the films Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Find out more in your ultimate guide to the south coast of Iceland and visit Skógafoss waterfall on one of our South Coast tours.

1. Seljalandsfoss - South Iceland

Seljalandsfoss

On The South Coast route, Seljalandsfoss waterfall tumbles 60 metres off the clifftop. It’s hugely popular because of its accessibility - just off the Ring Road, and even more so because a path runs directly behind the waterfall. A few decades ago, the waterfall spread out more over the edge but during a glacial flood in 1976 the cliff edge was chipped, making it even easier to walk behind. Stand inside the curtain of water, feel its invigorating icy spray (you’ll need a waterproof) and feel your heart pumping with the roar of cascading water. See Seljalandsfoss waterfall on our south coast tours. Seljalandsfoss has its origin in the glacial River Seljalandsá and Eyjafjallajökull, whose infamous volcano erupted in 2010, causing aviation havoc across Europe. You’ll find everything you need to know about the south coast of Iceland and Seljalandsfoss in this ultimate guide.

Where to start with so much choice? It’s time to spend evenings mapping out your ideal waterfall tour. Do you prefer highland isolation or coastal accessibility? Do you like your waterfalls dropping from great heights or wide and thunderous? Is it a waterfall’s backdrop as much as the cascade that inspires you? Do you relish the drive-in on gravel roads or the trek through wilderness? With an exciting range of day tours & excursions in Iceland, taking in many of the Island’s most enticing waterfalls, your job has just been made easier.

REYKJAVIK EXCURSIONS BLOG

Get inspired! Information and tips and must see places in Iceland, fun facts, customs and more.

Northern Lights in Iceland: Your Guide

In this post, you can discover everything you need to know about seeing the aurora borealis in the land of fire and ice.

Read Blog

15 must see waterfalls in Iceland

Land of waterfalls, Land of Adventure as well as fire and ice; start planning for the trip of a lifetime! Along with ice-fields, glaciers and volcanoes, Iceland’s waterfalls are arguably the most spectacular in the world.

August 25, 2022

15 must see waterfalls in Iceland

Land of waterfalls, Land of Adventure as well as fire and ice; start planning for the trip of a lifetime! Along with ice-fields, glaciers and volcanoes, Iceland’s waterfalls are arguably the most spectacular in the world.

August 25, 2022

Land of waterfalls, Land of Adventure as well as fire and ice; start planning for the trip of a lifetime! Along with ice-fields, glaciers and volcanoes, Iceland’s waterfalls are arguably the most spectacular in the world. And there are large numbers of them with backdrops film location scouts would die for.

Take your pick from a wide range of tours and activities in Iceland to create your perfect trip. Whether you’re looking for waterfalls close to Reykjavik, want easy access from the Golden Circle or Ring Road, or would like to venture into the wild interior with a four-wheel drive and a thrilling trek, there’s something for everyone.

How many waterfalls are there in Iceland?

Iceland’s waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes. From a trickle over a rock to the great cascading curtains of water Iceland is famous for, you could argue they’re all waterfalls. If we take in the literal definition of a water ‘fall’, it’s estimated there are around 10,000. What we do know is there are 200 named waterfalls. Each one has its own character and charm. If you see ‘foss’ in a name, you’ll know it’s the site of one of Iceland’s extraordinary waterfalls, always found in out-of-this-world landscapes.

What’s the largest waterfall in Iceland?

The tallest waterfall on the island is Morsárfoss, around 220m in height. It only became visible in 2007 when the glacier of Morsár (Morsárjökull) in southeast Iceland began to melt, stealing Glymur’s thunder to take the number one spot! Meanwhile, Dettifoss in north Iceland claims the island’s most powerful waterfall. While it’s only 45m high, it’s an impressive 100m wide. Feel the ground shake beneath you as it crashes over the precipice. It’s found in the famous Diamond Circle of waterfalls.

Where are the most famous waterfalls in Iceland? The countdown…

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. While you could argue over the order of these awe-inspiring waterfalls, there’s no question that each and every one of them is sublime. You’ll find them across the island north to south and east to west. Many of them are on the Ring Road, or close to it. Others are found in the Island’s interior where you’ll have to drive challenging gravel roads to reach them. Some of them require a walk-in of several kilometres, but they are all worth the effort.

15. Kirkjufellsfoss - West Iceland

waterfalls Kirkjufellsfoss

Just 180km northwest of Reykjavik on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufellsfoss is a relatively modest waterfall but it has one of the most stunning backdrops in Iceland. Behind it, the stand-alone Mount Kirkjufell - Church Mountain - soars heavenward like a great spire. This landscape of sea, mountain and waterfall has a spiritual quality to it; you cannot help but be moved by it.

14. Brúarfoss- South Iceland

Brúarfoss

The island’s waterfalls are often described in superlatives and Brúarfoss is no exception. On the Golden Circle route, It’s also called ‘Iceland’s Bluest Waterfall’ because of its milky-blue glacial waters. To see the ‘Bridge Waterfall’ (the original bridge it’s called after is long gone but the name remains) you’ll have to trek seven kilometres there and back. It’s no hardship, however. Along the way, you’ll pass several smaller waterfalls with Brúarfoss the climax of your watery ramble. This is a place for all those who love splendid isolation away from the crowds. Cross onto the wooden footbridge and drink in the blue.

13. Hengifoss - East Iceland

Hengifoss

Iceland’s third highest waterfall in the northeast part of the island requires a 50-minute trek from the car park, but what a walk through wilderness to a spectacular end-point. The waterfall plunges 39m from the top of great black basalt cliffs with striking horizontal bands of red clay. Scientists have found fossilised trees in the rocks. It’s a geologist’s dream - or indeed one for anyone who loves wild beauty and dramatic landscapes.

See Hengifoss on this superb multi-day tour.

12. Háifoss - South Iceland

Háifoss

Drive east of Reykjavik into the remote interior of the island to marvel at one of Iceland’s most spectacular waterfalls. You’ll need a 4-wheel drive to negotiate the gravel road in the highlands, but Háifoss, or "High Waterfall" is well worth the bumpy ride. Follow the River Fossá a short walk from the car park to the site, dropping down through the canyon to Háifoss and the neighbouring Granni waterfall. Be prepared to get wet - and be prepared to be dazzled by the surrounding nature, raw and majestic.

11. Dynjandi - Westfjords Iceland

Dynjandi

Located in the spectacular far northwest, Dynjandi - meaning thunderous - is a series of waterfalls in the wilds of the Westfjords. You’ll pass several waterfalls to reach the top of Dynjandi - a superb hike in dramatic terrain. This is a place for nature lovers and photographers.

10. Ófærufoss - South Iceland

Ófærufoss

Ófærufoss waterfall is situated in the wild Eldgjá canyon - The Canyon of Fire - between Landmannalaugar and Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Access is restricted to the summer months and requires good driving skills on the interior gravel road with a river to ford. But it’s truly worth the trip: one of the largest volcanic canyons in the world, Eldgjá is 270m deep and 600m wide. This tour-de–force of nature was created by Iceland’s largest flood basalt eruption in 934.

9. Hraunfossar - West Iceland

Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900m from Hallmundarhraun, a lava field that flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under Langjökull glacier. Not far from Hraunfossar is Barnafossar - The Children's Falls. Despite its innocent-sounding name, the story behind it is as dark as Icelandic folktales get. Two boys misbehave, cross the waterfall via a natural lava-bridge, fall in and drown. The mother puts a curse on the bridge that collapses in an earthquake soon after. Moral of the story: nature is a force to be reckoned with. Oh, and no misbehaving!

See Hraunfossar waterfalls on this tour.

8. Gljúfrabúi - South Iceland

Gljúfrabúi

It’s only a two-minute drive from the ever-popular Seljalandsfoss, but Gljúfrabúi has the feel of a forgotten place. Gljúfrabúi, meaning canyon dweller, is a small waterfall just off the Ring Road, west of Vik. It‘s partially hidden behind a cliff rock, only reached via a narrow canyon where the waterfall plummets into a small pool. It feels as if you’re entering a secret world far from the ‘madding crowd’. Wade through the stream, squeeze between the cleft of rock and enter a magical place of elves and trolls. It requires a level of fitness and dexterity to reach the waterfall but for those who are nimble of foot, this is an ethereal place that will fill you with wonder.

7. Dettifoss - Northeast Iceland

Dettifoss

Fed by the tumultuous glacial river of Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Dettifoss is located in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park in northeast Iceland. At 45m high and 100m wide, it’s the most powerful waterfall in Europe, a fact not lost on those who meet this one in person. You might recognise it from the film Prometheus. The brute force of the waterfall and the bleak beauty of the rock-strewn terrain is the perfect location for the science fiction horror film.

See Dettifoss waterfall on this multi-day tour.

6. Glymur - Southwest Iceland

Glymur

Relegated to second place after the discovery of Morsárfoss, Glymur is still a force to be reckoned with a dizzying height of 196m. Honestly, who can keep up? Glymur is situated in Hvalfjörður, a short drive from Reykjavik. To hike to the top, however, you’ll need to set aside 3-4 hours, perhaps longer, but with each corner you turn, you’ll find your surroundings growing in majesty and power. Look down into deep canyons, peer into caves and ford turbulent waters with the aid of a wire. The pièce de résistance is, of course, the end-point with the Glymur seemingly plunging into the abyss.

5. Goðafoss - North Iceland

Goðafoss

With a sweep across thirty metres, the curtains of Goðafoss in northern Iceland cascade off curved rock along the tempestuous River Skjálfandafljót. It’s a spectacular sight. Watch the seething froth of water. Listen to its thunder. No wonder it’s called the Waterfall of the Gods. There’s a story behind its name, however: Þorgeir the lawspeaker threw his Norse god idols into the waterfall when he became Christian in the year 1000.

See Goðafoss waterfall on this multi-day tour.

4. Svartifoss - South Iceland

Svartifoss

Situated in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park, this is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The waterfall is surrounded by columnar basalt that formed when a thick lava flow cooled down, creating contractional joints. The hike to the waterfall, surrounded by glacier tongues and glorious mountains, is nothing short of spectacular, but it's Svartifoss that provides that dramatic finish.

3. Gullfoss - Southwest Iceland

Gullfoss

Gullfoss is the most famous waterfall in Iceland, yet in the early 20th century, plans were made to dam it! Luckily, the landowner refused to sell, saying: "I don't sell my friends." The pressure to give Gullfoss up continued, but in a true David versus Goliath legal battle, the owner’s daughter eventually claimed victory. Gullfoss, meaning The Golden Waterfall, gives its name to The Golden Circle, a 230km route taking in some of the greatest geological landmarks in Iceland, yet within easy reach of the capital. Check out Gullfoss, Thingvellir National Park and The Geysir Geothermal Park in our selection of Golden Circle Tours. Visit Gullfoss waterfall on all our Golden Circle tours and marvel at the glacial-blue waters as they sweep towards two drops before plunging into the bowels of the earth. Here you’ll feel the mighty force of nature. Discover more in your ultimate guide to the Golden Circle in Iceland.

2. Skógafoss - South Iceland

Skógafoss

Skógafoss is just as famous as our number one waterfall - drumroll - Seljalandsfoss, and it’s only a 30 minute drive away to boot. Two of the best for the price of one! While you can't walk behind this waterfall like Seljalandsfoss, there’s a fascinating story in which an old chieftain hid his treasure here. Skógafoss marks the beginning of the Fimmvörðuháls walk over to Þórsmörk. Fimmvörðuháls erupted in 2010, just before the infamous Eyjafjallajökull eruption. The eruption wasn't nearly as violent as the one that followed, and is generally referred to as a "Tourist Eruption". The waterfall was used in the films Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Find out more in your ultimate guide to the south coast of Iceland and visit Skógafoss waterfall on one of our South Coast tours.

1. Seljalandsfoss - South Iceland

Seljalandsfoss

On The South Coast route, Seljalandsfoss waterfall tumbles 60 metres off the clifftop. It’s hugely popular because of its accessibility - just off the Ring Road, and even more so because a path runs directly behind the waterfall. A few decades ago, the waterfall spread out more over the edge but during a glacial flood in 1976 the cliff edge was chipped, making it even easier to walk behind. Stand inside the curtain of water, feel its invigorating icy spray (you’ll need a waterproof) and feel your heart pumping with the roar of cascading water. See Seljalandsfoss waterfall on our south coast tours. Seljalandsfoss has its origin in the glacial River Seljalandsá and Eyjafjallajökull, whose infamous volcano erupted in 2010, causing aviation havoc across Europe. You’ll find everything you need to know about the south coast of Iceland and Seljalandsfoss in this ultimate guide.

Where to start with so much choice? It’s time to spend evenings mapping out your ideal waterfall tour. Do you prefer highland isolation or coastal accessibility? Do you like your waterfalls dropping from great heights or wide and thunderous? Is it a waterfall’s backdrop as much as the cascade that inspires you? Do you relish the drive-in on gravel roads or the trek through wilderness? With an exciting range of day tours & excursions in Iceland, taking in many of the Island’s most enticing waterfalls, your job has just been made easier.

REYKJAVIK EXCURSIONS BLOG

Get inspired! Information and tips and must see places in Iceland, fun facts, customs and more.

Northern Lights in Iceland: Your Guide

In this post, you can discover everything you need to know about seeing the aurora borealis in the land of fire and ice.

Read Blog