Reykjavik Excursions Blog
  • Skógafoss, ísland, iceland, waterfall, nature

Waterfalls in Iceland

Have you seen them all?

7/7/2017 Blog

Iceland is a very rugged land with vast uninhabitable areas, dotted with high mountains and glaciers. It makes an ideal landscape for waterfalls that are in abundance in the country.

The following list shows you eleven of Iceland's many waterfalls.

Dettifoss - Northeast Iceland. 

The waterfall is in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park and is said to be the most powerful waterfall in all Europe due to its height and width (45m high and 100m wide). You might know it from the film Prometheus. 

Hraunfossar - West Iceland

These are a series of waterfalls that are formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres out of the Hallmundarhraun, a lava field that flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under Langjökull glacier. 


Not far away from Hraunfossar is Barnafossar (Children's waterfall). The name comes from a folk tale about two boys who lived on a nearby farm. The story goes that the boys‘ parents had gone to church with their workers and told them to stay at home. The boys got restless and decided to go after them and take a short cut over the waterfall on a natural bridge. However, the boys became dizzy on it and fell into the waterfall. The distraught mother put a curse on the bridge when she found out and said that no one could cross the bridge without drowning. Not long after the bridge collapsed in an earthquake. 

Seljalandsfoss - South Iceland

This beautiful waterfall , which has its origin in the glacial river Seljalandsá, has a drop of about 60 metres. What makes it extra special is that you can walk behind it - we recommend you bring a waterproof coat with you if you want to go behind it.


In the television series The Amazing Race 6, Seljalandsfoss was used as a waypoint for the first leg of the trip.

A few decades ago, the waterfall spread out more over the edge but during a glacial flood in 1976 the cliff edge got chipped. It's not all bad though, it is easier to walk behind it now than it was before.

Skógafoss - South Iceland

Skógafoss is equally famous to Seljalandsfoss and only a few minute drive away. You can't walk behind this waterfall but the story goes that an old chieftain buried his treasure behind it. Some say a young boy found the chest many centuries later but it was empty.

Skógafoss marks the beginning (or the end) of the Fimmvörðuháls walk over to Þórsmörk. Fimmvörðuháls famously erupted in 2010 before Eyjafjallajökull. The eruption wasn't nearly as violent as the one that would follow, and it was generally called a "Tourist Eruption". 

The waterfall was used in the films Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Goðafoss - North Iceland

The name of this waterfall means the waterfall of the Gods . It is said the waterfall got its name after the law-speaker Þorgeir threw his Norse god idols into the waterfall when he became Christian in the year 1000. 

Gullfoss - Southwest Iceland

Probably the most famous waterfall in Iceland and is part of the Golden Circle tour. In the early 20th century, there were speculations about using the waterfall to generate electricity. It is safe to say everyone is glad that was not done.

Háifoss - South Iceland

Háifoss or High Waterfall is near Hekla volcano and drops from a height of 122m. It is the fifth highest waterfall in Iceland.

Glymur - Southwest Iceland

Glymur was for a long time thought to be the highest waterfall in Iceland with a cascade of 196m. Now a waterfall in Morsárjökull glacier (in Vatnajökull) is believed to be Iceland's tallest waterfall with a cascade of 220m.

Glymur is situated in Hvalfjörður. It‘s not difficult walking up to it, but it is near impossible to see the waterfall in its entirety except by walking the river itself. It is not advisable though because people have died there due to falling rocks.

Ófærufoss - South Iceland

The waterfall is situated in Eldgjá, which is between Landmannalaugar and Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Eldgjá is the largest volcanic canyon in the world; 270m deep and 600m wide. In 934 was the largest flood basalt eruption in historical time. The waterfall is on two tiers and over the lower waterfall used to be a natural stone bridge that collapsed in the spring of 1993. 

Gljúfrabúi - South Iceland

Gljúfrabúi is a small waterfall a short distance to the north of Seljalandsfoss. It‘s partially hidden behind a cliff rock, but it‘s possible to reach it by entering the narrow canyon where the waterfall plummets into a small pool. 

Svartifoss - South Iceland


This waterfall is situated in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park and is one of the most popular sightings there. It is surrounded by columnar basalt which forms when thick lava flow cools down and contractional joints form. The size of the columns depends on how quickly the lava cools.

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