Welcome to the Land of Fire ‘n’ Ice
Witnessing the iconic Northern lights is one of the most beautiful natural phenomena and
iconic to Iceland. Beyond the distinctive green and purple shimmering lights in the sky this Nordic nation will capture your heart with its otherworldly landscape of glaciers, ice caves, mountains, volcanoes and waterfalls. Yes with over 10,000 waterfalls!
Iceland has 10000+ waterfalls. Why are there so many waterfalls in Iceland? Where do these waterfalls originate from?
The glacial rivers, direct runoff streams and spring-fed rivers are the three main sources of water that feed the waterfalls in Iceland. Several glaciers dot the volcanic landscape and the melting ice from these glaciers flows into the rivers and streams.
The tallest waterfall in Iceland is Morsárfoss 228 meters high and extremely difficult to get to considering it took several years even for the scientists to access it. So one can only view it are from afar. This new record high waterfall was confirmed by scientists only in 2011 until which Glymur falls was the tallest.
Ever wondered why names of all the waterfalls in Iceland end with – foss?
Foss is the suffix that means “waterfall” in Icelandic. So just a side note saying things like “ABCfoss Falls” is kinda redundant!
Here are a the top 10 popular waterfalls on our list and topping the list are Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Gullfoss, Dettifoss and Goðafoss.
1. Skogafoss (60 meters high)
Location: South Iceland
Located just 154 km away from Reykjavík, the falls are visible from Ring road 1, making it one of the easiest falls to reach. At 82 feet (25 meters) wide and 197 feet (60 meters) high, Skogafoss is one of Iceland’s biggest and most dramatic waterfalls. It sits on the Skógá river, which in summer is a favorite spot for fishermen as it sports a large char and salmon population. You can also get a view of the cascading falls from the top by climbing the 527 steps stairway leading you to an observational deck above Skógafoss.
A legend dating back to 900AD has it that you can find a chest full gold and treasures are hidden behind Skógafoss!
2. Seljalandsfoss (60 meters high)
Location: South Iceland
Apart from the admiring the stunning views of this cascade tumbling over the ancient cliff, Seljalandsfoss is famous because it’s the only waterfall that you can walk under. On sunny days this dramatic waterfall might treat you by showing off a double rainbow that’s caused due to the interplay between the spray and the sunlight.
Walking under the wall of waterfall, getting sprayed by the mist of the 82 feet (25 meters) wide and 197 feet (60 meters) high. Seljalandsfoss is an experience on most travelers’ bucket list. And the hope to catch a rainbow is yet another reason to walk around this fascinating waterfall.
3. Gullfoss (32 meters high)
Location: Southwest Iceland
Known as ‘The Golden Waterfalls’, this sits on the most popular tourist trail in Iceland – The Golden Circle.This two-tiered waterfall is situated on the Canyon of the Hvita River and cascades from heights of 32 meters. Waters come from the Hvítá (White River) glacial river, which is in turn fed by Langjökull glacier.
If you visit during the winter, you might see striking sights of the semi-frozen cascade.
4. Dettifoss (44 meters high)
Location: Vatnajokull National Park, Northern Iceland
Location: Mývatn District, Northeast Iceland
6. Svartifoss (20 meters high)
Location: Skaftafell Nature Reserve, Southeast Iceland
The name Svartifoss means black waterfall because it is surrounded by drak lava columns.
The name is inspired by the dramatic contrast between the white water and dark hexagonal basalt columns. At the base sharp rocks jet out of the pool below. These have broken from the columns, giving the waterfalls a mystical feel.
7. Hraunfossar (100 meters high)
Location: Reykholt, West Region
These series of springs emerging from old lava tubes stretch as far as your eye can see made this one of the more unique waterfalls we’ve seen in Iceland. combination of its 900m length, the colorful blue water.
8. Glymur Falls (196 meters high)
Once the tallest, Glymur waterfall is now the second tallest and is located close to near Reykjavik. For that reason, it’s one of the popular waterfalls on a short Icelandic trip. The fall’s has several narrow streams of different sizes cascading down the mountain face. A 4-hour hike gets you to this stunning waterfall.
9. Haifoss (122 meters high)
Location: Þjorsardalur, South Region
Haifoss is Iceland’s 2nd highest waterfall, it is fed by the river Fossá, which feeds into the longest river in Iceland, the
Þjorsá. Háifoss is typically viewed from above, with sweeping views of the canyon and valley, but one can hike down to the bottom. While getting to the top requires a bit of rough off-road driving the unworldly view is well worth the effort.
10. Gljúfrabúi Falls (131 feet high) Location: Hamragarðar, South Iceland
This waterfall is very close to Seljalandsfoss and its name means “Dweller in the Gorge”. This is a spring-fed river and less voluminous than the neighboring Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This waterfall has found its way inside a cave and cascades into a pool. In fact, it is so well tucked away, hence its moniker the “Hidden Waterfalls”.
Waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches, vast lava fields, natural ice caves, geothermal pool and the Northern Lights – all these and more spectacular sights await you in Iceland. Planning your Iceland vacation can be a bit complex due to its short summer season and the distances between its myriad attractions.
As experienced travel planners, our mission at xplor.earth is to help create custom itineraries for a worry-free Icelandic adventure. From transportation, accommodation to your everyday activities we curate luxury trips to Iceland for discerning travelers. Our vetted private excursions, boutique hotels, experienced local guides come together to awe you with the best of Iceland.
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