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06/07/2024 | 2:00 PM

A guide to Iceland’s best waterfalls

Perched on the edge of the Arctic Circle is a mystical realm where fire meets ice: Iceland. It's full of dramatic landscapes of ancient volcanic wonders, winding fjords, world-renowned hot springs, and of course, endless mighty waterfalls. Iceland is a sanctuary for those who seek solace in the arms of nature’s untouched beauty.

Carved by the relentless force of rivers flowing over ancient bedrock, each waterfall in Iceland tells a tale of water and ice sculpting the land over millennia. From the mighty to the meek, Iceland is home to an abundance of majestic waterfalls that you’ll want to check out before you leave.

With so many surging water spots to choose from, deciding which waterfalls in Iceland to visit is a task in itself. So, let us be your guide to the coolest cascades of Iceland.

Where are the best waterfalls in Iceland?

Wondering how many waterfalls are in Iceland? Some sources state there are more than 10,000!

Luckily, our map of waterfalls in Iceland shows you exactly where the top falls reside.

Some involve a hike to reach, while some can be viewed easily as you drive Iceland's Ring Road (Route 1, the 1323km/822-mile road that circumnavigates the island). All of them are awesome – the ones we list, plus plenty more that you'll no doubt encounter on your Iceland travels.

The top 17 waterfalls in Iceland

From the thunderous roar of Dettifoss, reputed to be Europe's most powerful waterfall, to the ethereal beauty of Seljalandsfoss, where you can walk behind a veil of water, each stop promises a moment of awe.

Our list features some of the tallest, the biggest, and the best waterfalls in Iceland. We've categorized them by location – those that are closest to the capital city, Reykjavík, then the most famous fab falls of each region (with two special waterfall hikes thrown in for good measure).

So, without further delay, let’s dive right in.

Waterfalls close to Reykjavík

Gullfoss waterfall at sunset


Gullfoss: The golden marvel

Öxarárfoss waterfall in winter


Öxarárfoss: Þingvellir's crystal shield

The clear blue waters of Brúarfoss waterfall


Brúarfoss: Southwest’s bluest escape

Glymur waterfall


Glymur: A giant close to the city

Waterfalls in South Iceland

Image from behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall


Seljalandsfoss: The explorer’s delight



Skógafoss: Curtain of wonder

Aerial view of Skógafoss waterfall

Waterfall Way

Hike the Waterfall Way

Háifoss waterfall with its neighboring cascade, Granni


Háifoss: Towering treasure



Svartifoss: Black basalt beauty

Morsárfoss waterfall, the tallest in Iceland, seen cascading from the glacier edge


Morsárfoss: Iceland's tallest gem

Waterfalls in West Iceland and Westfjords

View of Hraunfossar waterfall


Hraunfossar: Waterfalls of lava

Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall seen with Kirkjufell mountain in the background


Kirkjufellsfoss: Guardian of Kirkjufell

Dynjandi waterfall in the Westfjords of Iceland


Dynjandi: Thundering cascade

Waterfalls in North Iceland

A rainbow is seen in front of the raging waters of Dettifoss waterfall


Dettifoss: Thor of the north

Goðafoss waterfall in winter


Goðafoss: Waterfall of the gods

Aldeyjarfoss waterfall and surrounding basalt columns


Aldeyjarfoss: Remote northern gem

Waterfalls in East Iceland

Aierial view of Hengifoss waterfall


Hengifoss: The striped giant

View of woman in front of Klifbrekkufossar waterfall


Klifbrekkufossar: Seven-tiered show-stopper

A small wooden bridge passes over a waterfall on the Waterfall circle hike

Waterfall Circle

Hike the Waterfall Circle

Advice and tips for travelers chasing waterfalls in Iceland

Setting out on a waterfall trip in Iceland? Here are some helpful tips to ensure your adventure is as magical as the falls themselves!

Visiting these natural wonders can vary from a leisurely stroll to a challenging hike. Always check the trail's difficulty and distance before setting off, and remember the weather in Iceland can be as unpredictable as it is beautiful.

Waterfall access

If you love hiking and are looking to chase waterfalls in Iceland, you have a huge array of trails to choose from. Seeing waterfalls such as Glymur, Hengifoss, Svartifoss, and Morsárfoss involves hiking, while reaching the prime viewpoints for Dynjandi, Dettifoss, and Öxarárfoss requires you to follow a walking trail for up to 30 minutes.

Other falls are easily reached by a relatively short walk from parking areas: Gullfoss, Brúarfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Háifoss, Hraunfossar, Goðafoss, Aldeyjarfoss, and Klifbrekufossar.

There are also longer waterfall hikes ideal for travelers who can't get enough. See the Waterfall Way for a hike above Skógafoss waterfall in South Iceland, and the Waterfall Circle for a loop of fab falls in a remote part East Iceland.

Road access to waterfalls is also a mix of year-round easy access to 4x4 recommended and only in summer. Get to know the website, to find up-to-date guidance on road conditions.

Note that parking near waterfalls in Iceland can be a mixed bag, from plenty of spaces (free or paid parking) to limited roadside spots. Arriving early or visiting during off-peak times can help you avoid the crowds and bag yourself a good parking spot.

The right gear

Dress in layers and waterproofs to stay comfy, come rain or shine. Even if it's not raining, waterpoofs are worthwhile to keep you dry from all that waterfall mist!

A good pair of waterproof hiking boots is a must, and in winter, we highly recommend crampons or microspikes to wear over your shoes. With all that water, paths can get super icy and slippery. Crampons can help you stay upright! Cheap versions are available in many places in Iceland.

Obviously, bring a camera to capture those breathtaking falls. Don't forget a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated, and consider a sturdy backpack for all those tasty Icelandic snacks and other essentials.

Let Icelandair take you there

From the most famous to the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland – we hope our list of the top cascades has provided you with plenty of inspiration for the ultimate Icelandic waterfall tour.

With plenty of flights to Iceland departing from the US every day, we can make your dreams of chasing waterfalls in Iceland come true. That’s not to mention our abundance of vacation packages and tours taking you the top hotspots across the country. We look forward to seeing you!