Waterfalls in Iceland
Iceland ’s natural beauty is perfectly complemented by the numerous and almost magical waterfalls that are spread throughout the country. Small or large, all of Iceland ’s waterfalls have a special attraction of their own, each providing locals and visitors with a sight worth remembering. The northern waterfalls, such as Selfoss, Goðafoss (God's Falls) and Aldeyjarfoss are very well known tourist attractions, yet they still manage to capture and retain the primordial magic that characterizes any wild waterfall. The magnificent Dettifoss is also a wonder of nature and it is the most powerful European waterfall. The southern part of Iceland also has some extraordinary waterfalls, such as the Gullfoss ( Golden Falls ) Skógafoss, and Seljalandsfoss. The impressive Háifoss ( High Falls ) is a big hit with tourists, as it impresses with the raw power and size, but the Gjáin waterfall complex is also equally enchanting. Other interesting waterfalls are situated within the perimeter of the Skaftafell National Park . Quite a good density of waterfalls can be noticed in the western part of the country: Hraunfossar, Barnafoss and Fjallfoss to name just a few of them. The Hvalfjörður area also has the highest of all Iceland ’s waterfalls – Glymur, which is 198 meters high. Let’s have a look at the most interesting waterfalls in Iceland :
Seljalandsfoss – This is the waterfall that most photographers use when it comes to illustrating the natural beauty of Iceland . It is a majestic and picturesque waterfall, located in the southern part of Iceland , near Skógafoss. The waterfall is located at the road crossing of Route 1 (the Ring Road) and the road to Þórsmörk and it has a height of 100 meters, being created by the Seljalandsá river. There is one other interesting aspect of the Seljalandsfoss – it allows visitors to go behind the waterfall, for a unique close up of the phenomena.
Goðafoss – another favorite tourism point, the Goðafoss offers an experience that lasts years and years. The name of the waterfall actually means “waterfall of the gods” – a name that takes us back to northern mythology, another interesting aspect that greets you when visiting Iceland . Although it does not impress with height or water strength, the Goðafoss is a spectacular sight. Visitors traveling in the Mývatn district of North-Central Iceland should have this waterfall on their “to do” list, as it is a trip worth making. The width of the Goðafoss is 30 meters while the height of the waterfall is around 12 meters. The waterfall is created on the Skjálfandafljót River and attracts millions of visitors each year.
Gjáin – this southern Iceland waterfall impresses by the numerous smaller waterfalls it contains but also by being located in a territory that is unique and interesting, with volcanic structures and craters and ponds. The sight of the Hekla volcano also gives this location a mysterious and raw beauty that has to be seen in person to be appreciated. Many visitors include a visit to the Gjáin waterfall as part of their visit to the historical Stöng farm located within short walking distance from the falls.
Dettifoss - located in the Mývatn area of North Central Iceland, Dettifoss is created on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River , which originates in northern glaciers. The Dettifoss has several characteristics that make it an attractive site. For example, it is the strongest of all European waterfalls, with around 200 and 500 cubic meters of water per second, a rate which depends on rain and season. The shear strength of the waterfall is well complemented by the size – a drop of 44 meters and a width of around 100 meters make Dettifoss one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Europe . Not far from the waterfall you will also find the Selfoss, another waterfall worth visiting and just about 15 kilometers to the north you can enjoy the serenity of the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park .
Glymur – the 196 meter-high Glymur waterfall impresses with its height, but it is also located in a region that is characterized by raw, natural beauty. The volcanic surroundings and the tree plantations in the region are other elements of interest. The waterfall is situated at the end of the Hvalfjörður River
Aldeyjarfoss – located within the Highlands of Iceland, Aldeyjarfoss is unique because of the visual aspect it has: the white foam of the waterfall is in perfect contrast with the dark, black basalt that forms the rock surface. Another similar waterfall, Svartifoss, located in Skaftafell National Park , is also worth seeing, but Aldeyjarfoss is still the number one favorite on tourist’s lists.
Háifoss – located near Hekla , one of the largest southern volcanoes in Iceland , this waterfall has an impressive drop of 122 meters. Nearby, you will find the reconstruction of the Stöng farm, which was initially destroyed by the volcano, and a 5 hour hike will get you to the farm and back to the waterfall.