Did you know experts estimate there are over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland?!
Iceland, known as the Land of Waterfalls, boasts some of the planet’s most unique and beautiful falls…it’s quite literally a waterfall-lover’s DREAM.
Some are easy to access, while others play a little hard to get. 🙂
Narrowing my favorites down to ten is like asking me to choose my favorite ‘Friends’ quote – could it BE any more difficult?!
A trip to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without visiting at least one of these beauties. In this guide, I’ll explore their locations, suggest the best times of year to view them, and even uncover a few hidden gems you may not have heard of yet.
Eager to find out more? Here are 10 of the best waterfalls in Iceland.
Table of Contents
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Hengifoss Waterfall
- Dettifoss Waterfall
- Háifoss Waterfall
- Skógafoss Waterfall
- Dynjandi Waterfall
- Svartifoss Waterfall
- Goðafoss Waterfall
- Glymur Waterfall
- Other Icelandic Waterfalls Near Reykjavík and Golden Circle
- Waterfalls in Iceland (Map)
1. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Steep cliffs, a cascading waterfall and magnificent surroundings.
*Cue dramatic music.*
This scene feels like something straight out of a fairytale. Specifically, I’m talking about one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland, Seljalandsfoss. It’s 60m (197 feet) high and situated near the Ring Road approximately 120km (75 miles) from Reykjavík.
There are quite a few reasons why a trip to Seljalandsfoss waterfall should be on your to-do list, namely:
Nearby sights: If you’re like me and you love hiking, you’ll be thrilled by the scenic hiking trails of Thórsmörk nearby. Gljúfrabúi and Skógafoss waterfalls are not far off either.
Unique feature: You’re able to walk right up to the waterfall, and what makes it really special is that you can walk behind the cascade. Don’t forget to pack your camera for this one!
Accessibility: It’s easily accessible year-round, Seljalandsfoss in the winter is just as spectacular as in the summer months. Important note: crampons are required to navigate around the falls safely during winter! And at times during winter, the option to walk behind the waterfall is closed off because it becomes too dangerous and icy.
Picture perfect: It’s a photographer’s dream!With the natural beauty of the surroundings, you’re sure to snap a picture tempting enough to submit to National Geographic.
Seljalandsfoss parking: There’s a paid parking lot about a 5-minute walk from the waterfall.
2. Hengifoss Waterfall
The stunning Hengifoss waterfall is tucked away in East Iceland, in quite a remote location.
What I love most is the hike to reach it – which takes about an hour.
Not many people are willing to work up a sweat to see it, and because of the remote location, it’s incredibly peaceful.
Once you arrive, you’re greeted by a 128-meter (420-foot) waterfall, surrounded by black and red lava rock formations. The scene reminds me of a chocolate layer cake with raspberry filling! 😋
And who doesn’t love cake?
Yes, you’ll need to put in some effort to get there, but I promise, it’s totally worth it.
Hengifoss parking: There’s a parking area, but you’ll need to hike an hour to reach the waterfall.
Accessibility: The trail to see this waterfall can get tricky in the wintertime, due to the snow and icy conditions! I’d recommend visiting from June to October to see the falls safely without any worries about slipping.
3. Dettifoss Waterfall
Our next waterfall is named the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
You can actually feel the thunderous roar coming from the falls because of the sheer volume of water.
Located in the North of Iceland in Vatnajökull National Park, Dettifoss waterfall can be accessed from the East and West side. This is what you can expect depending on which road you take:
West: The road is good, they have viewing platforms and it’s easy to get around. This side is definitely more popular. However, you can’t get as close to the falls as you’d like and you’re left viewing it from the side.
East: This road is horrific, nightmarish, dreadful… am I being too subtle? It’s full of potholes and difficult to access, if not impossible, especially in the winter because they don’t clear the snow. But once you get there, you can walk down and get very close to the falls. Ironically, it’s the most beautiful side!
Dettifoss parking:There are designated parking areas for visitors to the national park. In peak season, try to arrive early to secure your spot.
Accessibility: Always check road conditions before traveling to Dettifoss. I’d opt to visit in the summer.
4. Háifoss Waterfall
One of the highest waterfalls in Iceland, standing at 122m high and located in þórárdalur Valley South Iceland, it is truly stunning!
The cool thing is that there’s a neighboring waterfall next to Haifoss called Granni, so you get to enjoy two on the same trip!
I highly recommend visiting in the summer months. The road is challenging as it is and if you have to factor in snow, you’re going to have a really difficult time accessing it. And once you do, the winds are strong and it’s so cold that it’s just an all-round better experience when it’s warmer.
Another reason why I recommend summer is because you could see a rainbow between the 2 falls. Mother Nature clearly likes to brag!
When it comes to the best kind of car to rent, I’d play it safe and stick with a 4×4. You’ll be driving on a bumpy road that’s filled with potholes – and you may even need to cross small rivers.
Parking: If you don’t have a 4×4 to drive to the main lot (which is a 2-minute walk to the falls), you have the option of parking your car at the bottom and hiking 7.2km to get to the Haifoss waterfall.
Accessibility: Highly recommend visiting in the summer months.
➡️ Check out the full blog here: Haifoss – The Second Highest Waterfall in Iceland
5. Skógafoss Waterfall
Chances are you’ve already heard of Skógafoss waterfall; it’s one of the most popular Icelandic waterfalls along the south coast, standing 6 meters (197 feet) tall.
Now, what makes Skógafoss even more exciting is what’s behind it.
(Kinda like business in the front, party at the back! 🎶)
Skógafoss marks the beginning of the Fimmvörðuháls hike and the area is known as Waterfall Way.
You can access the hike by going up the stairs to the top of the falls and continuing on the path.
There are another 26 waterfalls behind Skógafoss. Yes, 26!
I must say, some parts of the hike can get pretty challenging, but if you keep at it, you’ll come across unique waterfalls that are in the middle of nowhere.
If you’re not up for a hike, simply climb up the stairs and gaze at the falls from the viewing platform. Seeing Skógafoss in all of its glory is more than enough wonder for one day! 😍
Parking: Only a few hundred meters from the parking area.
Accessibility: Easily accessible with 2-W drive and it’s even visible from the road. You should be able to access it year-round.
6. Dynjandi Waterfall
A mother loves all her children, but if I had to choose my personal favorite from nature’s kids, it would be Dynjandi Waterfall.
Located in the Westfjords, it’s definitely off the beaten path and a must-see hidden gem if you want to avoid the touristy areas.
Dynjandi is 7 waterfalls in one, making the journey out to the middle of nowhere all the more worth it!
As you make your way up from the parking lot towards the main falls, you’ll come across 6 other waterfalls. My little waterfall-lovin’ heart can hardly contain the excitement!
It’s even more impressive the closer you get. Trust me, take the hike to the top of the stairs where you can appreciate just how massive it is.
In this case, bigger is better! 🙂
Parking: Yes – there’s a free lot to park about a 15-minute walk from the waterfall.
Accessibility: The roads to get there are challenging, and it’s only accessible between May-October. The seven waterfalls can be admired from the parking area if you’re not up for the hike.
7. Svartifoss Waterfall
Skaftafell Nature Reserve has it all – spectacular vistas, scenic landscapes, glaciers and mountains. Not to mention, the stunning Svartifoss Waterfall.
It’s 25 meters/82 feet high and surrounded by black basalt columns that look like organ pipes. No wonder it was the inspiration for the design of Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavík!
Hiking and waterfalls seem to go hand in hand, and the Svartifoss waterfall hike is no different. It’s moderately difficult and will take you about 1.5 – 2 hours to get there. But what a view!
You’ll pass Hundafoss and Magnúsarfoss waterfalls on the way and see snow-covered peaks and the Vatnajökull ice cap.
It’s definitely worthy of a spot as one of the top 10 waterfalls in Iceland.
Svartifoss Parking: Large parking lot, there’s an entrance fee to Skaftafell National Park.
Accessibility: May-September. Weather conditions in the winter could make it dangerous.
8. Brúarfoss Waterfall
Thanks to Instagram, this relatively hidden gem is becoming a popular spot for tourists.
Brúarfoss waterfall is conveniently located along the Golden Circle, but unless you’re looking out for it, you’d probably drive right on by.
It’s located quite a way off the main road so you’ll need to hike along the river to get to it, and when you do, the views are incredible.
On the way, you’ll pass other waterfalls, too. Talk about a bonus!
What makes Brúarfoss so spectacular is the bright blue water, it truly is breathtaking!
If you’d like to catch a glimpse of what’s in store for you at this waterfall on the Golden Circle route, I made a vlog that you can watch here: Hiking to Brúarfoss Waterfall
P.S. After hiking Brúarfoss I like to treat myself to a salted caramel ice cream at a cafe restaurant a couple of minutes drive away.
Now that’s the sweet taste of accomplishment!
Parking: For parking, you have two options. You can either park at the bottom and hike to the falls (7 km there and back – it takes about 3 hours round trip). OR, there is a new, paid parking lot if you just want to just head straight to the falls, which costs 750 ISK.
Accessibility: Easy hike for all ages. Accessible year-round but I prefer May – September. For those who are less mobile, you can always park at the new parking lot and access the falls within five minutes!
9. Goðafoss Waterfall (Godafoss)
Goðafoss, Icelandic for “Waterfall of the Gods,” is located in North Iceland and found just off the Ring Road, making it a super convenient trip year-round.
What sets this Icelandic waterfall apart, is the unique horseshoe shape where the water plunges down from a height of 12m (39 feet).
The roads are maintained, and you’ll find paths and viewing platforms on both sides of the waterfall.
The surrounding landscape is exactly what you’d expect in Iceland – dazzling! With cliffs and lava fields, and in the summer months, everything is lush.
I created a video, so take a sneak peek to preview what’s in store for you: Godafoss Waterfall Travel Guide
Parking: Big parking area, 5min walk to the falls.
Accessibility: All year round. Roads are well-maintained.
10. Glymur Waterfall
Brace yourself. The second-highest waterfall in Iceland, towering in at 196m, is Glymur Waterfall. It’s mesmerizing!
If you’re looking for an Iceland waterfall to explore near Reykjavík, this is a good option as it’s only 1h 30min away. You’ll find Glymur in Hvalfjörður fjord, and the drive to get there is absolutely gorgeous.
You can’t see the falls from the road, so you’ll need to hike for about 2 hours to get there.
The first part of the hike is easy, but it gets harder once you’ve crossed the river. Overall, I’d rate it as moderately challenging.
Glymur is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and for good reason. There are a few things to consider before making the trek, but you can read more about that here: Why Glymur Waterfall Should Top Your Iceland Hiking Bucket List
Parking: Large parking lot
Restrooms: No restrooms ❌
Accessibility: The log straddling the river is removed in late autumn and there are signs warning people not to hike in the winter.
Other Icelandic Waterfalls Near Reykjavík and Golden Circle
If you’re looking for Icelandic waterfalls a little closer to the capital, perfect for a day trip, here are a few honorable mentions:
Öxarárfoss:The closest major waterfall to Reykjavík, just 53km / 33 miles away. Situated in Þingvellir National Park, it’s known for its beautiful lava fields, and conveniently located on The Golden Circle.
Faxi Waterfall (Vatnsleysufoss): This waterfall is 80m wide and 7m high and an awesome little hidden gem on the Golden Circle in South Iceland, about 100km /62 miles from Reykjavík.
Gullfoss: Known for its two-tiered waterfall and scenic beauty, is approximately 123km / 76 miles from the capital and an Icelandic waterfall conveniently located on the Golden Circle route.
Iceland Waterfalls Map
Now that you’re familiar with Iceland’s best waterfalls, it’s time to plan!
With my Iceland Guidebooks + Maps, you’ll get practical information on the national parks, like where to find hiking trails and restrooms and access the exact locations of the waterfalls, practical tips, and hidden gems nobody told you about – except me! 😉
Put on your hiking boots and let’s chase some waterfalls!