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Iceland’s Waterfalls: Our Top 7

Iceland’s waterfalls are world-famous. Virtually no other European country is home to as many spectacular waterfalls as the land of ice and fire. Moulded and formed by glaciers and volcanoes, the fascinating and mysterious waterfalls cascade across the entire island. It is no small wonder that several waterfalls rank among the main destinations on the popular Golden Circle in the south and the Diamond Circle in the north of Iceland. We have compiled the seven most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland for you.

Goðafoss waterfall

Goðafoss - Divine One

The Icelandic word “Goð” translates as “gods”, which turns Goðafoss into the Waterfall of the Gods. Its name is not merely thanks to its divine beauty. It has its origins in the conversion of Icelanders to Christianity. On his conversion, Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði, the country’s lawmaker at the time, threw all his idols of the Old Norse religion into the waterfall. Goðafoss is one of the five key destinations on the Diamond Circle in the Northern Iceland.

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Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Seljalandsfoss - Magic One

Get up close and personal with a waterfall and visit Seljalandsfoss in Southern Iceland. The 65-metre-high waterfall plunges from a cliff into a small pond. Take the chance to trek behind the waterfall. The view from the grotto through the cascading water is particularly magical at sunset.

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Dettifoss waterfall

Dettifoss - Strong One

Discover yet another spectacular waterfall on the Diamond Circle in the north-east of Iceland: Dettifoss. 200 cubic metres of water plunge 45 metres into the depths every second - a tremendous sight to behold. This most powerful waterfall in Europe is the Niagara Falls of Iceland with its gigantic cascading waters. This impressive waterfall is set in the midst of an extra-terrestrial-looking landscape of solidified lava, a ten-minute walk from the car park.

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Skógafoss waterfall

Skógafoss – Powerful One

Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls and the main attraction of Skógar in the south of the island. Admire the roughly 60-metre-high waterfall from below as well as from above, by a small path that leads to the top. Skógafoss is nicknamed ”the perfect waterfall” because this is where you get very close to the waterfall for souvenir photos and the combination of sunshine and spray often creates beautiful rainbows. 

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Kvernufoss waterfall

Kvernufoss – Hidden One

Just a few minutes from Skógafoss, a special jewel awaits you. Well camouflaged in a small gorge, the beautiful Kvernufoss waterfall plunges over 30 metres into the depths. You find this waterfall by parking your car at the museum in Skógar and then following the river Kverna upstream for 20 minutes. After this short hike away from the tourist crowds, Kvernufoss rewards you with a refreshing cool-down: you have the chance to walk through the waterfall.

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Kolugjúfur waterfall

Kolugjúfur – Giant One

The River Víðidalsá in Northern Iceland also creates spectacular waterfalls. Just below the Kolugil farm, the water still flows peacefully over the meadow before plunging into the rugged Kolugljúfur canyon. This generates numerous waterfalls, bearing the name Kolufossar Falls in honour of the giantess Kola. The best way to enjoy the breathtaking sight is from the viewing platform.

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Svartifoss waterfall

Svartifoss – Unique One

Svartifoss is not the largest or most powerful waterfall in Iceland, but it is unique in its own way: in the midst of an amphitheatre of black basalt columns, ”the black waterfall of Iceland” plunges over 20 metres into the depths. To experience this impressive sight for yourself, follow the well-signposted hike that starts at the visitor centre in Vatnajökull National Park in Southern Iceland and takes about 45 minutes. 

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