Top Five Waterfalls in Iceland

Iceland is known as the ‘’Land of Ice and Fire’’. It’s a spectacular country boasting black beach, lava fields, amazing cliffs, massive puffin colonies, geysers and volcanic craters.  But one thing that makes this country stand out is waterfalls- hundreds of them. Luckily a lot of them can be easily accessed and some requires a hike but trust me, it’s well worth the effort. I have visited Iceland twice so far but below are my top five waterfalls. If you are in Iceland, you should make every effort to see these waterfalls. All the photos in this blog were taken during the photography workshops that I hosted in Iceland in 2018 and 2021.

5. Skógafoss

Skogafoss  is a waterfall on the Skógá River in the south of  Icelandat the cliff marking the former coastline. After the coastline had receded, the former sea cliffs remained, creating a clear border between the coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland
This is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland- indeed a gorgeous waterfall due to its size and power. It is devoid of interesting geology unlike other waterfalls and is essentially a one big 60 meters (197 feet) drop waterfall. There is a big parking lot and a several places to eat, which certainly makes it very convenient to visit this waterfall.
Also there is a  flight of stairs to the top of the waterfall from where you can get a bird’s eye view from the observation deck.

4. Seljalandfoss

Seljalandsfossis located in the South Region in Iceland right by Route 1and the road that leads to Þórsmörk Road 249. The waterfall drops 60 m (197 ft) and is part of the  Seljalands River that has its origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull.
Not many locations allow you to actually go behind the waterfall, but this is one of them (the other one I recommend is Kvernufoss). The view from behind the waterfall from the small cave) specially during sunset golden hour is absolutely breathtaking. From the parking lot it is a fairly easy walk, but a a tad bit rocky. Unlike other waterfall locations, here there is a small parking fee but you have access to free restrooms and a small gift shop. Be prepared to get wet as Seljalandsfoss produces a lot of spray and mist and don’t forget to protect your camera gear!

3. Dettifoss

Dettifoss is a massive waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland, and is arguably the  most powerful waterfall in Europe. It is fed by a glacier river called Jökulsá á Fjöllum Dettifoss, which flows from the Vatnajökull glacier and collects water from a large area in Northeast Iceland. The sediment-rich runoff colors the water a greyish white. You can stand right next to the edge of the waterfall and you can feel the sheer power of this monstrous waterfall. Take extreme caution as the rocks are very slippery. 

2. Kvernufoss

This is a hidden gem and is very frequently missed by tourists in Iceland as this waterfall is not marked anywhere- probably it is intentionally kept as a secret. It is located just off Ring Road , very near to Skógafoss but it is mostly not visible from ring road.
To get to Kvernufoss, you’ve got to park at Skógar Museum and walk the hiking trail about 20 minutes towards the Kvernugil gorge near the Kverná River. You will come to the majestic waterfall, where you can admire from in front or you can explore from behind and it requires a short 20 minutes hike from the parking lot. The hike is very scenic and it takes you though a beautiful canyon giving you a Lord of the rings kind of feeling. Oh you can walk behind the waterfall which makes it so unique. Be careful as the rocks are very slippery.

1. Godafoss

The waterfall got its name from Icelandic history during the time when Christianity was declared the official religion of Iceland which was about 1000 CE. It is believed that idols of Pagan  gods and goddesses were thrown into the Godafoss. The  wordGodafoss means Waterfall of the Gods and I really think that this is probably the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. Not the tallest, widest but definitely prettiest.
It is very conveniently located along the country’s main ring road at the junction with the Sprengisandur highland road. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters.