With its rugged landscape and impressive glaciers, Iceland is made for cascades, and you can visit thousands of them spread all over the island.
In fact, Iceland is known as “the land of 10,000 waterfalls” because they are all over the place, quite literally.
Most are very easy to get to, located near a major road. While an exhaustive list would be a waste of time here, there are some you simply can't miss during your visit, so here is a tour of Iceland's most famous waterfalls.
Our team has selected 11 of the most beautiful waterfalls that can be found in Iceland:
Gullfoss in winter
Without a doubt the most famous waterfall in Iceland. Located in the Golden Circle, Gullfoss (literally the “Golden Fall”) got this name because of the magical feature of a consistent rainbow (hence its name) shining above it. As long as there is a ray of sunshine to paint the cloud of mist generated by the multi-level cascade, you are guaranteed to see a rainbow (if not a pot of gold).
This waterfall is located on the Hvítá and is easily accessible via Road 35/37, even in winter.
The lip of the fall is more than 30 meters wide, and the sound of its thunderous roar can be heard for miles around.
Seljalandsfoss in the evening
Not far from Road number 1 in the south lie Seljalandsfoss, and you really can't miss it. At 65 meters high, it is one of the best known and most beautiful falls in Iceland.
It is also known for being one of the few where you can actually walk behind the curtain of water.
It's easy as pie with a path laid out behind cascade and plenty of room between the rock cliff and the water. But if the wind turns against you, you'll be soaked to the bone!
Skogafoss in August
Skógafoss is just a few kilometers from Seljalandsfoss along Road number 1.
This thing is colossal, and like the previous in the list you are not likely to miss it when driving by, not far from the village of Skógar.
It's probably the most visited waterfall in the country, being right next to Reykjavik, but that's not the only reason. It's truly magnificent, towering at 66 meters high and 25 meters wide.
A local legend tells of a chest full of gold behind this waterfall, but for the real story the historical artefacts are exhibited in the Skógar Museum.
The powerful Dettifoss waterfall
Located near Lake Myvatn in north-east Iceland, Dettifoss the Niagara Falls of this side of the world, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
It sits on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum canyon, between Selfoss Falls and Hafragilsfoss, somewhat isolated in the desert, which means it's quite difficult to access. Two roads go there: the 864 and the F862. With a height of 44 meters and a lip 100 m wide, it has an output flow of approximately 500 m3/s.
The beautiful falls of Goðafoss
This one is quite special, one could even say divine. Goðafoss, “waterfall of the gods”, is near Lake Myvatn which is a little paradise in itself.
Located on the Skjálfandafljót River, it is perhaps the most beautiful waterfall in the country. With a width of 30 m and a height of 12 m, the fall is particularly appreciated by photographers for its startling colours that make great shots.
Svartifoss in Skaftafell Park
On the south coast not far from Road number 1 on the way to Höfn lies Skaftafell National Park.
This spot is famous for its hiking trail that culminates with a view of this magical waterfall, known throughout the country, Svartifoss. While the water cascade itself is not particularly impressive, the setting makes it special. The Svartifoss waters cascade into a geological arena of basaltic organs that seem chiselled with geometric perfection.
Hengifoss in eastern Iceland
Located in the Fljótsdalur valley in the east of the country, Hengifoss is easily accessible via Road 931.
While the drive is easy, there's a 45 minute hike from the car park to reach the fall itself.
The waterfall is not particularly impressive, but it is very picturesque, with some truly incredible mineral colors in strata of red and black.
Inland from the Snaefellsness Peninsula, not far from Reykholt you will find there are a pair of startling turquoise waterfalls: Hraunfossar and Barnarfoss.
Hraunfossar is in fact a funnel, bringing together several waterfalls of the Hvítá River down a wide cascade over a few hundred meters.
The beautiful Dynjandi
Tourists rarely venture to the bottom of the northwestern fjords to find Dynjandi, also called Fjallfoss, but this is a huge mistake!
The waterfall is simply magnificent. Made up of 7 small waterfalls, the main one (Dynjandi) is quite a sight both for its imposing size and original shape: much wider at the bottom than at the top.
These cascade over 7 levels eventually flows into the Arnarfjörður fjord which is worthy of a visit in its own right.
Öxarárfoss in March in Thingvellir
Öxarárfoss is a small waterfall on the path of the Öxará River in Thingvellir National Park. This tourist hotspot in the Golden Circle definitely shouldn't be missed.
Also, Thingvellir is close enough to Reykjavík to be accessible all year round.
Paradoxically, the waterfall closest to the capital is one hardest to get to: Glymur.
Towering at a height of 190 meters, this is the 2nd highest fall in the country. Glymur is located at the bottom of the Hvalfjörður Fjord where it flows from Lake Hvalvatn.
Pictures do not do it justice because it is surrounded by large cliffs and it's a real hike to get there or get a good angle.
From the fjord, after arriving on Road 47, you'll have to walk approximately 1.5 hours to get there, so pack your hiking boots.