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Frequently Asked Questions

About Waterfall Tours in Iceland

Iceland is home to hundreds of beautiful waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. On waterfall tours, which are often combined with other activities, you allow yourself an intimate up-close encounter with these primordial forces of nature.

1. What are the most famous waterfalls in Iceland?

The most famous are Gullfoss, Dettifoss, Glymur, and the South Coast's picturesque Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss.

2. What is Iceland’s most powerful waterfall?

Dettifoss, which is located close to Lake Mývatn, has the greatest flow of water. In fact, its width of 100 m (328 ft) and its drop of 44 m (144 ft) make it the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

3. What is Iceland’s tallest waterfall?

Officially, the tallest waterfall is Glymur in southwest Iceland. Its drop is over 190 m (623 ft), making it twice as tall as Iceland’s second highest waterfall, Skógafoss. Since 2007, however, a new waterfall, Morsárfoss, became visible after Morsárjökull glacier started melting. This new waterfall measures at least 240 m (787 ft) in height, making it the tallest of all.

4. Why are there so many waterfalls in Iceland?

The North Atlantic climate produces frequent rain and snow. This, along with the meltwater produced by glaciers makes Iceland extremely suited for waterfalls.

5. Where does the water of Iceland’s waterfalls come from?

Most of Iceland’s water comes from glaciers, although much also comes from mountain springs and rainfall.

6. Can you go rafting or kayaking down any waterfalls in Iceland?

No. You can, however, raft down rapids and rivers in North Iceland.

7. Are there any waterfalls in Iceland that have accessible caves behind them?

Yes, the most famous waterfall with an accessible cave is Seljalandsfoss, on the South Coast. Close by is Kvernufoss, which you can also walk behind. Do not attempt to go behind a waterfall in winter, it’s very dangerous as the cliffs and rocks get icy.

8. Why do waterfalls often have rainbows in front of them?

A rainbow is caused by the reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets. Because of the constant mist of water around powerful waterfalls, the sunlight frequently creates rainbows. Two waterfalls in Iceland that are known to frequently display rainbows are Gullfoss, on the Golden Circle sightseeing route, and Skógafoss, on the South Coast.

9. Is the water in Iceland's waterfalls drinkable?

Waterfalls that contain clear spring water are drinkable, but waterfalls in murky glacial rivers are not.

10. What happens to the waterfalls in winter, do they freeze?

At 0°C (32°F), water freezes; in the case of a waterfall, its freezing over depends on the power of its flow. Sometimes, the whole waterfall freezes, while at other times, parts of it do while the water still rushes down past chunks of thick ice.

Customer reviews

Read reviews by travellers from across the world

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This tour is so wonderful! I was so lucky with our small group and made some amazing new friends! Our guide Sol was so nice! You could see that he enjoyed being a tourist with us in his beautiful country! I've been on other trips in Iceland but I would say this one is a must see. I was amazed by all the scenery and had a wow moment at every location!

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Jewels of the South Coast | Minibus Day Tour to Jökulsárlón

5 average rating | 15 reviews

Jewels of the South Coast | Minibus Day Tour to Jökulsárlón

I did this tour with Siggi who is a 100% Troll but lives amongst humans. The tour was wonderful and every 15 minutes there is something magnificent to see and Siggi told us stories of his TrollTribe and hidden people and kept us energized with music and humour all day. I felt safe and comfortable, was a little scared at somepoints, I am not use to walking in nature but Siggi took great care of me and made sure I did not miss a thing. Thank you Siggi Troll and Troll Expeditions for the best day of 2018 so far.

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This experience was amazin our tour guide was full of information he was proud to share with us! We got to avoid the crowds and experience the beautiful coast! They were so helpful and friendly which made us enjoy the day even more. They even helped us to take all our pictures

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Day Tour to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

4.7 average rating | 101 reviews

Day Tour to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

This tour was the best tour that I have done in Iceland. Altough you have to get up early it is worth it to get out of bed early. The pick up near the guesthouse has been on time and everthing was well organised. I am not sure if we had luck with the weather for said our prayers well, but the weather has been very good, the sun came out for the entire day and it was quite warm. Albert who was our tourguide has been friendly and charming all the way. He provided us with loads of information and there hasn't been a dull moment. The tour is very long, but there are several bus stops where you can use the facilities and buy a drink or a snack. A lunchbreak and a stop for dinner was planned as well. My personal hightlight was the glacier lagoon. I have never been so close to a glacier and icebergs. The additional booked boat trip was defenitly worth the money. My second hightlight was walking behind the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. I have enjoyed the shower :-) Time flew by and the 14 hours were over too soon. I could have stayed on that tour for several more hours. Iceland is such a beautfiful and fascinating country. Booking a tour is a very stressless and good way to get around. Thank you Albert for being such a great tour guide. I can highly recommend booking this tour. I am sure that I will come back to Iceland, maybe next time in winter. This tour operator will be my first choice for another tour.

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The tour was excellent! Our guide (Sölvi) was a gentle guy with rich knowledge of Icelandic history and culture. He carefully picked tons of Icelandic music during our drive. The scenery is great as long as it's not raining, which is something you can't expect in Iceland. Highly recommend this tour if you want to know more about Iceland.

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2 Day Tour to Jokulsarlon | Glacier Hike, Waterfalls & Black Beach

4.8 average rating | 25 reviews

2 Day Tour to Jokulsarlon | Glacier Hike, Waterfalls & Black Beach

We were so lucky to have Lu and Davide as our guides!! The best trip we have had in Iceland!! The guides are responsible, humorous, considerate, and willing to share so much interesting knowledge with us. The schedule is very good, not too tight and so we have enough time for every spots. Amazing lanscape and amazing tour <3

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Mystery Super Jeep Tour | South Coast or the Highlands

5 average rating | 5 reviews

Mystery Super Jeep Tour | South Coast or the Highlands

The best Snowmobiling experience of my life! The Midgard people were so kind and fun to hang out with. I've been on many snowmobiling tours in Iceland and this was by far the best one! I could not be happier with my Midgard experience, the hot tub on the roof was amazing with the northern lights. Food was amazing and the sleeping area was cosy. The family feel of Midgard really shines through and they make you feel like part of the family.

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It was amazing! The tour was informative and covers a lot of places in such a short period amount of time but we didn’t feel rushed at all. Thorstenn was very helpful, funny and informative!

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Overall, it was a fantastic 3 day tour . Although the weather is changeable, our tour guide Heimir rearrange the order of the stops flexibly to make sure we could join both glacier hiking , ice cave and other spots. To be honest, I felt a little disappointed about the glacier hiking due to the time we staying on the glacier. The time was quite short but I thought is was disrpted by the bad weather. The storm came right away when we arrived the parking lot. As for ice cave, we were really lucky to see a quite big and beautiful one . And we had enough time to take pictures in the cave and there were only our group. We finished these two activities on the second day because the weather was awful on the third day. Besides, we were unlucky that it wasn’t the right time to see the dimonds on the beach ,which I eager to see, however; our gide Heimir took us to another place th see the dimonds near the glacier . Dimonds there were really spectacular and was one of my favorite spots in Iceland . To conclude, I felt thankful for the all arrangement of our guide , or we might miss those activities and amazing sceneries if I we went by ourselves . I definitely satisfy this 3 day tour!

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Our tour was in early March 2018. We were lucky with the weather and it was beautiful every day. The tour was easy to setup up just note the communications might not be immediate depending on time zone (I am in US). It did not affect any of the travel. I recommend at your hotel to ask where the tour buses pick up passengers. Ours was not clear and our guide Sveinbjorn had to search us out. Sveinbjorn was a fantastic guide. Was a safe driver and could definitely relax and watch the scenery without worry. He takes pride in his country and enjoys talking about it with a passion. He made sure were on time and had it set where we arrived earlier at places then other tour groups which made it easy for us to get around. If the place was dangerous he made sure the group knew (multiple times). What I liked is I learned more about Iceland from him then any other resource. Now more about the trip. Each day we were on the road by 8 local time so the day starts early. All the hotels were nice and there were some brand new ones. A travel note is once you are at a hotel expect to be there and no other exploring since they are isolated. I personally was nervous about hiking the glacier but our guide (did not remember his name) kept me at ease and it was a great experience. The ice caves were fantastic and a lot of it was due to our guide Faye. She kept us entertained and played Icelandic rock music for us. All the places we stopped were interesting and we were glad we did the extended tours to the east side of the island (away from most of the tourists). I think my only frustrating thing was the end of the tour from Akureyri back to Reykjavík. We did not spend any time in Akureyri because our plane left about 11:00am local time. Might have been nice to seen more of Akureyri. And once we arrived back in Reykjavík we assumed there would be transportation since the tour asked where we were staying once we got back in Reykjavík but we had to find it ourselves. Plenty of taxis just be aware. I recommend a new visitor to the island to use a tour company and I think you will enjoy your stay

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8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

4.9 average rating | 16 reviews

8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

We joined the 8-day tour with our guide Svein in March, hunting for amazing Aurora and beautiful landscapes. In the end, I left my camera on the minibus. Svein was so kind to send it back to me. I was really appreciate it.

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I really want to take the time to write a proper review for this awesome tour. I just got back home to the USA last night, and am off again tomorrow on a business trip to TX, so this has to be brief right now! It's not difficult to give this tour 5 stars ! Our guide, Olafur Valtyr Rognvaldsson (better and more easily known as OLI) was awesome! He kept us entertained throughout the tour, and was a font of all knowledge relating to Iceland and its heritage. He was also our driver (we did not have both a driver and a guide, Oli did double duty) and we felt very safe with him driving through the snow and rain. I was glad I was not driving in that! Our minibus seated 20, and there were 18 of us on the tour, so it was a little snug in the bus, but not too bad. (The worst part was the couple who kept eating dried fish - the smell of very fishy dried fish in a warm bus was a little nauseating to say the least!) Oli was pretty good at keeping us on schedule, and was very flexible in moving things around so that we were able to see all the major sites in reasonably good weather. We did the Ice Cave Walk on the second day rather than the third day to take advantage of the fact that it was the end of the season and it would be closing on our last day. We also went to a different glacier from the original one on our schedule because the snow was coming down thick and fast on the one we were supposed to climb and it would not have been a pleasant trek. We had an awesome guide for the glacier walk - he made sure we were all safe, and gave us lots of information about the glacier. We also had the opportunity to sample nature's 'champagne' - 700yr old crystal clear ice! Big G (our guide) climbed up a ways to hack out some clean and clear ice for us to try. We were glad of it at that point, as the climb up the glacier left us all hot and sweaty, despite the cool weather! All of the areas we visited were outstanding. The waterfalls, the beaches, the national parks were spectacular and we had plenty of time at each to enjoy the sites. The Geyser was interesting ... I expected something like Old Faithful, but it was a much tamer version! Still fun, though! One of the most fun parts of the trip was when Oli took us to a 'secret' waterfall - we waded through a stream and climbed over rocks to get through an opening and when we entered through the gap in the rocks, there was a fantastic waterfall hidden from the road. Really cool way to end our tour! Oli also took us to see the Icelandic horses, which wasn't technically a part of the tour, but was a testament to his flexibility and him wanting us to have a great experience. He also pointed out a great place to see the Aurora, but unfortunately, we had cloud both nights and so we were not able to view that natural phenomenon. Although we were there at the beginning of April, it was still pretty chilly in the mornings and evenings, and when the wind blew it was bitingly cold! I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the two hotels we stayed in. Both were very clean, and while the rooms were small, modern and minimalist, they were very comfortable. Be warned, though, that the food in the hotels is VERY expensive! We were a captive audience at the first hotel and dinner was $US44 a person - a small bbq chicken breast, three boiled potatoes and a scoop of boiled vegetables!! Tasty, but extortionately priced for what really could only be described as Diner food. The second hotel, in Hofn, was expensive too, but the food was stellar and much better value than the first hotel. Regardless, both hotels were very nice and food in Iceland is very expensive everywhere. The breakfasts in both hotels were very nice and you could certainly eat a substantial amount to keep you going throughout the day. I would, without a shadow of doubt, recommend this tour if you want to experience Iceland at its best. Our guide, Oli, was excellent and from what I am reading from other reviews, so are all the other guides used by Aurora Hunters. But, of course, we think we got the best one!!! Thanks to Oli (Olafur Valtyr Rognvaldsson - I sure hope I spelled that correctly!) we had a fantastic trip.

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6 Day Guided Winter Tour | Highlights of South, East & North Iceland

4.9 average rating | 18 reviews

6 Day Guided Winter Tour | Highlights of South, East & North Iceland

We completed this tour in March 2018 and our tour guide was Hildigunnur(Hildi). The whole tour was an amazing experience from start to finish. Our wonderful guide Hildi was a great ambassador for her country and ensured that we not only enjoyed the trip but also received a great insight into the history, culture and geography of Iceland. Nothing was too much trouble for her as she would help us with scheduled or unscheduled stops for photos, trying local produce and understand in local folklore. The trip was well planned with convenient stops and lovely accommodation. The atmosphere which Hildi created was one of comfort and relaxation while enjoying some unbelievable scenery. We enjoyed not having to rush which we would have done if we did day tours from Reykjavik. All in all a great tour with an excellent, caring and fun tour guide.

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Wasn't sure whether a tour was the way to go but it was great. Our guide Hilmar navigated some ferocious weather expertly and then adjusted our schedule the next day when the roads closed. That let us get in all we were promised plus some bonus sites despite the delay. His stories and knowledge enhanced the trip for sure and having a driver let me concentrate on the sights. Great trip.

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Ragnheiður was a fun and great guide with an amazingly positive attitude and we enjoyed the trip immensely. She kept us very comfortable and made the most of our time with good pacing of the viewpoints and visits with plenty of rest-stops in between. The sights were all well picked and provided a wonderful view into the natural treasures of Iceland. Very happy with the tour and our wonderful guide Ragnheiður.

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Waterfalls in Iceland

Be they cascading over an ancient sea cliff on the South Coast, tumbling majestically from an ice cap in Vatnajökull National Park, or trickling down a cliff face somewhere in the Westfjords, Iceland’s waterfalls are a staple attraction for almost all visitors to Iceland.

An essential part of this country's natural cycle, Iceland’s waterfalls have their origins in the country’s glaciers, flowing down great veins from the highlands out toward the Atlantic Ocean.

Driving around Iceland, it is virtually impossible not to spot a waterfall at some point during the journey. Some are enormous, such as Dynjandi in the Westfjords, while others are small and tucked away in cliffside gorges, such as the photogenic Gljúfurárfoss.

Other waterfalls are staples on this country’s most popular sightseeing routes; Gullfoss, one of the most beloved Icelandic waterfalls, is an essential third of the Golden Circle route, while Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss are almost compulsory visits in the south.

Waterfalls have also played an essential part in Icelandic history and folklore. The waterfall, Goðafoss, was, for instance, the final resting place of many Pagan idols, after Iceland’s early settlers threw them into the cascade as proof of their newfound Christian belief.

Another example is the hidden treasure chest that supposedly sits behind the curtain of water that is Skógafoss. According to legend, the chest was placed here by Þrasi Þórólfsson, the Viking Settler at Skógar. Supposedly, after a failed attempt to retrieve it, one of the chest’s handle rings accidentally broke away, leaving the chest behind. The ring from this chest was first hung on the church door at Skógar, before taking its final resting place in the village museum.

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