A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

I have been a big fan of waterfalls in Iceland ever since I was a little girl, and it is difficult to tear me away from a beautiful waterfall. My home country, Iceland, has got more than 10,000 waterfalls, so I am in luck ;) 

In this travel-blog, I am going to show you my 9 most favourite waterfalls in all parts of Iceland. It is very difficult to choose between all the beautiful waterfalls I have visited, but the following is the list I have put together. I will begin with my number 1 favourite waterfall as that waterfall made me the waterfall enthusiast I am today :)

No. 1 - Skógafoss - the Forest Fall

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in south Iceland

I think that my all-time favourite waterfall must be Skógafoss waterfall. I have loved it ever since I first visited it with my parents as a little girl. It is so majestic that it took my breath away and I got mesmerised standing in front of it. 

Skógafoss has a drop of some 62 metres and a width of 25 metres. It is located by the ring-road in South-Iceland, so it is easily accessible. Often you can see a double rainbow by Skógafoss and once I got encircled by a rainbow there; I actually stood inside a rainbow! Skógafoss can be visited on the  south coast tours.



I am so smitten by this beautiful waterfall that I have written 4 travel-blogs on Skógafoss and the surrounding area. One of the travel-blogs is on the folklore of the treasure chest behind Skógafoss, which apparently the Viking settler of this area left behind.

No. 2 - Dynjandi - Thunderous FallA Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

In the remote Westfjords of Iceland, you will find the Jewel of the Westfjords -  Dynjandi waterfall. It wasn't until much later in life that I visited this breathtaking waterfall, as the Westfjords were a bit off the beaten track for me, and it immediately became my 2nd most favourite waterfall in my country!

Dynjandi waterfall is the most majestic waterfall I have seen in my country. Dynjandi is often called Fjallfoss, but I prefer Dynjandi - which means the thunderous one. It looks exactly like a bridal veil when it cascades some 99-100 metres down the mountain. At the top, it is 30 metres wide and gradually widens until it is as wide as 60 metres at the bottom of the waterfall.

To visit Dynjandi you must travel up to the Westfjords of Iceland and hike for some 200 metres to stand next to this thunderous waterfall. It is so worth it!



I have written another travel-blog on the majestic Dynjandi waterfall where you can learn much more about this Jewel of the Westfjords and see all the 6 other waterfalls beneath it.

No. 3 - Aldeyjarfoss - Aldey Island Fall

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Aldeyjarfoss waterfall in Skjálfandafljót river in North-Iceland is most definitely in the top 3 places of my favourite waterfalls in Iceland. I also visited this waterfall later in life as it is off the beaten path - and immediately fell in love with its extraordinary beauty and elegance.

Aldeyjarfoss is set in bent basalt columns, which look like they are man-made, a pure art of nature. This beautiful waterfall drops 20 metres into a turbulent powdery blue ice-cold pool. Here by Aldeyjarfoss, I have shot some of my most beautiful photos. 

As I already mentioned, then this elegant waterfall is a bit off the beaten track, 40 km one way in Bárðardalur valley up north, but well worth the long drive back and forth.

Another better-known beautiful waterfall in Skjálfandafljót river is Goðafoss waterfall, which you can read about a little bit further on in my travel-blog as it is number 7 on my list.


To see photos from both sides of Aldeyjarfoss and get information on the hike check out my travel-blog on the extraordinary Aldeyjarfoss waterfall.

No. 4 - Gullfoss - the Golden FallA Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Gullfoss - the Golden Fall upcountry in South-Iceland is Iceland's best-known waterfall and gives the name to the most popular tour in Iceland; the Golden Circle tour. Gullfoss has got two cascades; the upper one has got a drop of 11 metres and the lower one has got a drop of  21 metres.

Gullfoss drops into a 70 metres deep and narrow gorge so the second cascade is half-hidden from view. You can walk down to the waterfall and stand right next to it, which is a breathtaking experience, as it is a massive waterfall.

The Lady in Gullfoss

The Lady in Gullfoss; this is my favourite photo of Gullfoss and while everybody is taking the wide-angle photo I am taking this photo ;)

Gullfoss flows in the glacial river Hvítá which runs from Langjökull glacier, Iceland's second largest glacier. 



The Lady in Gullfoss

The Lady in Gullfoss in her winter dress :)

If you want to read up on the Golden Circle tours then I have written travel-blogs about my experience on two of the Golden Circle tours.


And I just published a travel blog on Gullfoss:



No. 5 - Hraunfossar - Lava Falls

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Hraunfossar waterfall - the Lava Falls is West-Iceland is another beautiful waterfall, which was a favourite of mine when I was a little girl - and still is. Back then we would sit on the banks of the river and have a picnic by the waterfall, but that is no longer possible, precious memories though.

These falls are very wide, some 900 metres, and are ever so beautiful as they well up from underneath the Hallmundarhraun lava field in countless springs of clear water and into the glacial river Hvítá in Borgarfjörður.

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Hvítá is powdery blue to grey, and the contrast in colours at Hraunfossar is spectacular; the white waterfalls, the blue river, the black lava and the green shrubbery make for a very idyllic scenery.

There are so many beautiful photo angles of Hraunfossar seeing that they are so wide - the photo angle above has become very popular. Hraunfossar waterfall is on the Silver Circle of Iceland.



If you want to know what the Silver circle tours are like, then I have written a travel-blog on a tour I joined -The Silver circle of Iceland in an awesome, modified Super Jeep! And while you are in this area you can make a visit to the very colourful Víðgelmir lava cave in Hallmundarhraun lava field.

No. 6 - Svartifoss - Black Fall

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Svartifoss waterfall in southeast Iceland is a very scenic waterfall; set in black hexagonal columnar basalt, which beautifully frames the waterfall in a heart shape. Svartifoss is an elegant  20 metres tall waterfall and well worth the 1.5 km hike in the beautiful oasis of Skaftafell, which belongs to the vast Vatnajökull National Park.

When you spot the waterfall from above you will see how it looks like a black and white jewel in the landscape - ever so beautiful.



 


You can read more about the hike and the other waterfalls in Skaftafell in my travel-blog on the beautiful Skaftafell and Svartifoss waterfall.

No. 7 - Goðafoss - the Waterfall of the GodsA Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Goðafoss waterfall in Skjálfandafljót river in North-Iceland is both a beautiful waterfall and a historical Viking place. The name, Goðafoss - the Waterfall of the Gods - stems from the year 1000 when the Vikings converted to Christianity.

Right after returning from Alþingi parliament at Þingvellir in the south, the ex-pagan Chieftain and Lawspeaker, Þorgeir ljósvetningagoði, is said to have thrown the statues of his pagan gods into Goðafoss waterfall.

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Goðafoss isn't a large waterfall, with a drop of only 12 metres, but it is impressive all the same as it is 30 metres wide and forms a semi-circle. Goðafoss is a part of the Diamond Circle tour.



Read more in my travel-blog: the historical Goðafoss waterfall

No. 8 - Dettifoss - the most powerful one

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Dettifoss is Europe's most powerful waterfall. It is located up north in a magnificent canyon, Jökulsárgljúfur, in which Iceland's second longest river, Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacial river, runs and creates many beautiful waterfalls; Selfoss, Dettifoss, Hafragilsfoss and Réttarfoss waterfalls.

Dettifoss is a 100 metres wide and 44 metres tall massive wall of greyish glacial water - with a flow of 193 m3/s!

This massive, roaring waterfall is not beautiful per se, it is more what is called ruggedly beautiful, and will leave no man untouched - I always feel fear when I visit it, fear of this untamed force of nature. I put it on the list of my top 9 favourite waterfalls as I never miss the chance of visiting it, no matter how often I have seen it. 

I added this short video I shot from the east side of Dettifoss so you can see how massive and thunderous it is - and what kind of a mist you can experience here. The mist can totally drench you in a matter of a minute.



You can see more photos from both sides of Dettifoss + the other waterfalls in the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon in my travel-blog on Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacial river - the second longest river in Iceland.

No. 9 - Gluggafoss - Windows' Falls

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Gluggafoss - the Windows' Falls is another favourite of mine, ever since I visited it with my parents as a little girl. This beautiful waterfall is around 44-metres tall and is to be found in Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland. 

Gluggafoss or Merkjárfoss is a series of waterfalls, which you can follow on a hike further up the river. But the most magnificent ones are the two lowest ones. Here you will see why this waterfall got such a distinctive name Gluggafoss - Windows' Falls; the soft palagonite bedrock has given way to the constant pressure of the river so that the water has found its way through holes and tunnels - windows in the rock.



A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

You can read much more in my travel-blog on Gluggafoss and the folklore and see what Gluggafoss looks like from above. I have written another travel-blog on the beautiful Fljótshlíð & the Saga of Njáll, and in Fljótshlíð you will find the former home of Gunnar at Hlíðarendi, one of the main characters in that Viking Saga.

No. 10 - Hengifoss & Litlanesfoss

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Hengifoss waterfall is a characteristic waterfall in East-Iceland. What makes is so special, apart from being Iceland's 2nd tallest waterfall at the height of 128 metres (not counting the waterfall in Morsárjökull glacier), is that it is set in bright red strata patterns. These red stripes are layers of clay, which has been sandwiched between layers of black basalt.

I visited this waterfall for the first time in 2008 but had to return back halfway up the hike due to circumstances beyond my control, and it wasn't until 2015 that I stood in front of it for the first time in my life. And I was so happy to have been finally able to visit this beautiful waterfall.

The return hike to this distinctive waterfall is 2.5 km long and I would allow for 2 hours on this visit. Halfway along the uphill hike, you will pass another lovely waterfall, Litlanesfoss, which is 3 metres high and set in beautiful basalt columns. 

You can read much more in my travel-blog on Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss waterfalls, where you can f.ex. read about the folklore of the gorge and see photos of Litlanesfoss waterfall.



Now, these are my top 10 most favourite waterfalls in Iceland. But there are many many more well-known beautiful waterfalls in my country, so I cannot stop here and will add many more as I am a waterfall nut ;)

Other beautiful waterfalls in IcelandA Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

There are many more beautiful waterfalls, which I haven't mentioned here, like the very popular 65-metres tall Seljalandsfoss in South-Iceland, which I could have listed as no. 11, but I have to stop somewhere ;) 

What makes Seljalandsfoss extra special is that you can walk behind it, which will leave you totally drenched, as you can see in my photo below. It is located off ring-road 1 some 120 km away from Reykjavík and easily reachable.

It is just too hard to choose between these waterfalls - especially if you are a waterfall enthusiast (nut) like I am.

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

I have written travel-blogs on many more waterfalls in Iceland if you want to get acquainted with more beautiful waterfalls in Iceland:


I am going to add photos of some of the other waterfalls I have visited on my travels in Iceland with a small description of it and a link to the travel-blog in question, so you can see how picturesque they are.

Hvítserkur waterfall

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Hvítserkur waterfall in West-Iceland

Hvítserkur waterfall is located in West-Iceland and is not visited by many. You will need a 4x4 to visit it or hike up by the river. It is a very beautiful waterfall which looks like a bridal veil. And you can stand right on top of it!



Bjarnarfoss waterfallA Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Bjarnarfoss waterfall on the Snæfellsnes peninsula

Bjarnarfoss is located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula and you can hike up to it. In my travel-blog, you can read the folklore related to the farm and how Bjarnarfoss got its name. Some say that from a certain angle you can see a fjallkona- the Queen of the Mountains formation in this waterfall.



Kvernufoss waterfall A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Kvernufoss waterfall in South-Iceland

Kvernufoss waterfall is the less visited neighbour of the well-known Skógafoss waterfall. It remained relatively hidden away until a couple of years ago, when people started including it in their visit to the south coast of Iceland.



Hrafnabjargafoss waterfall A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Hrafnabjargafoss waterfall in North-Iceland

Hrafnabjargafoss waterfall is a picturesque waterfall in Skjálfandafljót river in North-Iceland, close to Aldeyjarfoss waterfall, which is in the 3rd place of my favourite waterfalls in Iceland. Hrafnabjargafoss can be reached by 4x4.



Nauthúsagil and the waterfall in the gorge

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

The hidden waterfall in Nauthúsagil gorge

In Nauthúsagil gorge in South-Iceland, you will find a beautiful hidden away waterfall. It takes some doing visiting this waterfall as you have to wade a river and step on stones and pull yourself up a smallish waterfall by a chain and a rope to be able to finally reach the waterfall at the end of the gorge. But it is so worth it.



Stakkholtsgjá canyon and the waterfall

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

The waterfall in Stakkholtsgjá canyon - it is much bigger, but difficult to photograph

One of my favourite hikes in Iceland is the hike into Stakkholtsgjá canyon in Þórsmörk in South-Iceland. This hike takes around 1.5 hours back and forth and at the end of the canyon you will be rewarded with a magnificent sight; a waterfall and Game of Thrones like surroundings. 



Íráfoss waterfall A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Íráfoss waterfall in South-Iceland

Íráfoss waterfall in South-Iceland is one of the smaller waterfalls, which not many people were visiting until recently. It is a lovely waterfall, so distinctive with the protruding rock.



Rauðárfoss waterfall A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Rauðárfoss waterfall at Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Rauðárfoss waterfall by Kirkjubæjarklaustur in South-Iceland is an amazing little waterfall. It is made of beautiful columnar basalt formations and if you visit it on a sunny day the maroon basalt formations glisten in the sun. And the protruding rock gives it an extra touch :)



Foss á Síðu

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Foss á Síðu in South-Iceland

Foss á Síðu or Foss at Síða is a small waterfall by the ring-road, some 10 km east of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Even though it is not large in volume then it is in very distinctive settings, making it a highly popular photo stop. The rocks here look fairytale-like.



Selfoss waterfall

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Selfoss as seen from the west bank.

Selfoss waterfall is located in North-Iceland, in the second longest river in Iceland, Jökulsá á Fjöllum, a little above Dettifoss waterfall, which is number 8 on my list. It is a pretty waterfall, wide and set in beautiful basalt columns.



Hafragilsfoss waterfall A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Hafragilsfoss in Jökulsárgljúfur canyon

Hafragilsfoss waterfall is also located in Jökulsá á Fjöllum in the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, but this waterfall is to be found downstream from Dettifoss. Hafragilsfoss is 27 meters high and 91 meters wide and looks like a mini-Dettifoss.



Réttarfoss waterfall

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Réttarfoss in Jökulsárgljúfur canyon

Réttarfoss waterfall is also located in Jökulsá á Fjöllum in Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon further downstream from Hafragilsfoss. This horseshoe-shaped waterfall is not visited by many. There is an hour's hike to the waterfall through a ruggedly beautiful landscape.



Kolufossar waterfalls

A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Kolufossar waterfalls are located in Kolugljúfur canyon, where a giantess is said to have lived. You can see her cauldron and bed when visiting the waterfalls.



Háifoss & Granni waterfallsA Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Háifoss waterfall is 122 meters tall, making it Iceland's third highest waterfall, not counting glacial waterfalls. It is situated in Fossá river, a spring water tributary of Iceland's longest river, the glacial river Þjórsá.

Next to Háifoss, you will find Granni - Neighbour, and these 2 waterfalls make for a really beautiful photo.

Hjálparfoss waterfall A Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Further downstream in Fossá river you will find Hjálparfoss - Help's waterfall, a beautiful waterfall with basalt columns in the shape of a bear's head. It is split in two and cascades into a small pool.



Gjárfoss waterfall in GjáinA Local's favourite Icelandic Waterfalls

Gjárfoss waterfall in Þjórsárdalur valley is a small, but beautiful waterfall. It is to be found in one of Iceland's pearls of nature, a beautiful oasis at the edge of the highlands; Gjáin. 

Rauðá river creates this beautiful waterfall.



You can visit all these waterfalls by either renting a car in Reykjavík  or joining  guided tours

Have a lovely time in Iceland and I hope you get to see many beautiful waterfalls on your travels in my country :)

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