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Jökulsárgljúfur, Iceland
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Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Iceland
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Dettifoss is the biggest waterfall in the Jökulsá á Fjöllum.

The Jökulsá á Fjöllum is the second longest river in Iceland, best known for the waterfalls within it.

See this impressive river while on a self drive tour in Iceland.

Geography of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum

The Jökulsá á Fjöllum is 206 kilometres (128 miles) long, stretching from its sources in Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, to the Greenland Sea.

The land that the Jökulsá á Fjöllum flows through has been shaped dramatically by volcanic eruptions and glacial floods. Particularly of note are the Jökulsargjlúfur canyon, carved out by a presumed series of catastrophic volcanic floods, and the Ódáðahraun lava field, a vast field of lava.

Waterfalls in the Jökulsá á Fjöllum

The Jökulsá á Fjöllum has three famous waterfalls in north Iceland.

The Jökulsá á Fjöllum has three very famous waterfalls in close proximity, all located in the Jökulsargjlúfur canyon.

The most upstream of these Selfoss, not to be confused with a town of the same name. Falling from a wide cliff, it is the smallest of the three, at 11 metres (33 feet) tall.

Next is Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. 100 metres (328 feet) wide and 44 metres (144 feet) tall, it has an average waterflow of 193 cubic metres (nearly 7,000 cubic feet).

Finally is Hafragilsfoss, a little further downstream. This feature stands at 27 metres (86 feet), and has interesting folklore associated with it. It is said that a giantess stole two goats from a nearby farm, and to escape, tied their horns together and jumped into the river here.

There is a less famous waterfall further downstream, called Réttarfoss.

Visiting the Jökulsá á Fjöllum

The Jökulsá á Fjöllum is visited at the waterfalls of Dettifoss and Selfoss on many Diamond Circle tours. This sightseeing route can be seen as the northern equivalent of the popular Golden Circle.

The Diamond Circle also visits the Lake Mývatn Area, Námaskarð and the northern town of Húsavík. Many of these tours start at the Capital of the North, Akureyri.

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