Strange plumes of smoke rising from the ground, craggy lava fields, erupting geysers, colossal glaciers, perpetually sprouting rainbows; these are just a few of the reasons why I’m obsessed with Iceland.
I could be here all day writing about the gazillion other reasons why I love this small yet unimaginably diverse country, but I’m going to draw your attention to just one single reason: waterfalls in Iceland.
Iceland is a paradise of waterfalls, they may not be among the world’s tallest, but they are some of the most visually striking ones I’ve ever seen, as well as the most powerful, so this makes them infinitely more exciting than the usual types that spring to mind.
I really want you to see them, so here’s a list of the ones which I think are particularly special:
A geologist’s dream. Nestled inside Vatnajokull National Park, Svartifoss is notable for its distinct balsalt (volcanic) columns. Its unique appearance inspired the building of Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik, so for this reason it’s one of my favourite waterfalls in Iceland, an example of the omnipresence of Mother Nature throughout the whole country, even in urban areas.
Can you see the similarity?
This waterfall is part of the Golden Circle tour which makes it the most visited waterfalls in Iceland. At first, all that can be made out is the ferocious waters that seemingly disappear into the abyss below, but as you carry on walking, the entirety of the falls comes into view. A huge cavern of water, 61ft wide, engulfs the water from above, as it crashes and churns down into it. To describe the waterfall as powerful would be an understatement!
Dynjandi Waterfall © Westfjords.is
Due to its location on the Westfjords, one of the least visited areas of Iceland, Dynjandi is not popular to tourists, but to the locals it’s known as the most beautiful waterfall in the whole of Iceland. Dynjandi plunges over a 100m-high clifftop into the fjord at Dynjandisvogur inlet, a triangular cascade is created roughly 30m wide at its top spreading to over 60m at its bottom.
Dettifoss © NorthIceland.Is
Dettifoss or ‘The Beast’ is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in the whole of Europe. At 44m high and 100m wide, 96,500 gallons of water pass through it every single second, and the mist created from its powerful ferocity can be seen several miles away. Dettifoss recently featured in Ridley Scott’s film ‘Prometheus’ for you film buffs out there!
Godafoss © NorthIceland.Is
‘The Waterfall of The Gods’ (pronounced go-thuh-foss) is located in the river Skjálfandafljót in northeast Iceland. Shaped like a horseshoe, the waterfall is 12m high and 30m wide and is often described as being one of Iceland’s most beautiful. Godafoss also played a huge part in Iceland’s history, when local chieftain Þorgeir, threw statues of the pagan gods into a waterfall after Iceland became a Christian nation.
This often photographed curtain waterfall needs no introduction. It is a MUST visit site along South Iceland. Let’s hope there’s a rainbow waiting here for you too!
Not as impressive as some of the others on this list in terms of size, but the landscape in this area is one of the most beautiful! This waterfall plunges into a unique concave pool of emerald green water. Conveniently situated near Mount Hekla, you are walking nearby one of Iceland’s most active Volcanoes!
Seljalandsfoss © David Frey
Ok, I’m not the best person to be talk about this waterfall, but I know others who love it. It’s great because you have the ability to walk behind it, and also climb up the stairs that weave along the mountainside to gain another perspective. Had I not arrived here in the pouring rain (hence why I’m not using my own photo) then I might have more enthusiasm for it, but I did arrive in the pouring rain and I let the matter get in the way of enjoying what looks like a great climb and photo opportunity – shame on me! (It rains a lot in Iceland so you can’t let the weather get in the way of your sightseeing!)
This place blew my mind! Firstly it’s Iceland’s second highest waterfall but there are also several other waterfalls nearby (including the wonderfully named ‘Granny’) so the noise at this place is immense! My pictures don’t give you a true perceptive of this place, unless I had the luxury of a helicopter it’s impossible to get an aerial view of how cavernous it really is. However, the photo below gives you an impression, and hopefully inspire you to visit for yourself!
Have you visited any of these waterfalls in Iceland? Can you add more to this list?
Tip: Just in case you had not already guessed, ‘foss’ in Icelandic means ‘waterfall’, so if you’re driving along and notice the suffix attached to a word it’s always worth taking a detour in your car!