Travel

Marvel at Iceland’s Most Spectacular Waterfalls

You won't believe just how jaw-droppingly beautiful they are
Where to Find Iceland's Best Waterfalls
Photo: Mark A Paulda/Getty Images

With craggy mountains, rocky black beaches and magnificent icebergs, Iceland, known as the land of fire and ice, exceeds even its considerable hype.

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But the country's most spectacular natural feature is its waterfalls. Be sure to check these eight off your bucket list.

Skogáfoss 

Towering just more than 200 feet, Skogáfoss isn't the largest waterfall you'll see, but it's certainly one of the most impressive. Set back from the Ring Road, it affords a dramatic approach, and it has a staircase you can climb for even grander views.

 

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Gullfoss

The most famous of Iceland's waterfalls, Gullfoss is known as the Golden Falls. One of the key attractions on the Golden Circle route, it's a thundering introduction to Iceland's natural wonders. While you're there, marvel at nearby Geysir, one of Iceland's magnificent geothermal sites.

 

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Seljalandsfoss

Tucked back in the cliffs, this waterfall offers a dreamy glimpse of the sun glinting off the water. The slippery slope can be treacherous, but it's worth the adventure—and the view. Keep walking down the trail to find a second, hidden waterfall through a slot canyon that feels made for the land of faerie.

 

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Svartifoss

Known as the Black Falls, Svartifoss is one of the most popular sites in Vatnajökull National Park. Surrounded by the hexagonal basalt columns Iceland is known for, it's the perfect spot for lunch during your day hike in the park, one of many potential routes with epic vistas.  

 

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Dynjandi

Make the quick climb up the winding trail to Dynjandi, consisting of multiple cascading waterfalls in the hillside. Though not as large and dramatic as some of Iceland's other waterfalls, the views are totally worth it; picture thousands of tiny trails of water flowing down into the fjord. And the ride to get there? One of the most beautiful stretches of coastline you'll ever see.


Kirkjufellfoss

One of the most photographed spots in Iceland, this one really is worth the pit stop. Climb the mountain if you're feeling ambitious. Or, for a more leisurely respite, grab a snack; hop up the few steps to the waterfall and clear, deep pool; and set up a scenic picnic. It's one of the highlights of the Snaefellsnes, the peninsula just north of Reykjavík.

 

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Goðafoss

The spectacular Waterfall of the Gods is not to be missed; in fact, it's one of the many reasons northern Iceland is worth the detour from the more popular Golden Circle. Though not as big as its northern cousin, Dettifoss, it's by far the most beautiful.


Dettifoss

The distinction of Europe's most powerful waterfall goes to Dettifoss, a deafening cascade of water that puts even Niagara Falls to shame. A one-and-a-half-mile loop offers multiple views and also affords a glimpse of Dettifoss's smaller cousin, Selfoss.

 

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Kayla Lewkowicz is a writer who's always in search of her next giant bowl of pasta or stunning mountain to climb. Keep up with her travels on Instagram at @kllewkow.

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