Iceland has no shortage of beautiful waterfalls. If you’re out of the city, it’s almost sure you’ll have a waterfall within eyesight or at least a river! Even though the country has easily over a thousand beautiful falls, there are a few waterfalls that have become iconic, including Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, and Gullfoss, among many others.
While these may be among the top sights you must not miss while in Iceland, I want to share with you four other waterfalls that are just as impressive and beautiful, if not more, but that are still mostly outside the tourist's spotlight. Trust me, if you have the chance to visit these, you won’t regret it!
Aldeyjarfoss is somewhat out of the way in the Northeastern Region of Iceland. To reach it, you have to get off Road 1 between Akureyri and Myvatn and hop on Road 842 until you get to the F26. While F roads are only for 4x4 vehicles, you won’t be driving much on it to reach the waterfall. It’s an easy path, and there are no river crossings, so you could do this short bit with a regular car. Once at the falls, you’ll see why it is so beautiful.
It has the basalt column beauty of the famous Svartifoss on the south, but it has the flow strength of a much bigger waterfall. You can sit at the edge of the high terrain right in front of its pool and enjoy the place in solitude (or almost solitude if another curious tourist happens to come by, which are not many).
Seljalandsfoss might be the famous waterfall you can walk right under and get wet with its refreshing mist, but it is not the only one in the country. Fardagafoss is its counterpart on the east, just 5km east of Egilsstadir. There is a 20-minute hike from the parking area to the falls. It is mostly uphill, but it isn’t challenging. If you’re adventurous enough, you can hike down to the base of the falls and into its cave right behind it. Be careful, as it is steep in some points and often wet, but there are chains to help you keep your balance.
Unlike Seljalandsfoss, you’ll have this cave all to yourself. Take your time there to see the water falling in front of you, but also think how crazy it is that the river is right on top of you! When heading back to the car, don’t forget to look forward, as you’ll get a nice view of Egilsstadir from above.
This is one of my favorite waterfalls in all of Iceland and one you shouldn’t miss if you’re traveling the Westfjords. Dynjandi is the largest waterfall in the Westfjords and one of the most impressive in the country. It has a height of 100 meters and a width that starts with 30 meters at the top and slowly widens up to 60 meters at the bottom.
You can hike up for about 15 minutes to the base of Dynjandi and feel dwarfed not only by its majestic size but also by its strength. Along the way up, you’ll also pass six other smaller falls that are fed by Dynjandi. These are, Hæstahjallafoss, Strompgljúfrafoss, Göngumannafoss, Hrísvaðsfoss-Kvíslarfoss, Hundafoss, and Bæjarfoss.
Dynjandi might not be that “lesser known” like the previous falls mentioned here, but it is not that crowded given its remote location in the Westfjords. By the way, the drive itself along Road 60 is one of the most beautiful things you’ll see in all of the Westfjords.
Just at the edge of the Highlands, you’ll find two falls that look almost like twin falls. These are Haifoss and Granni Falls. With a height of 122 meters, Haifoss used to be the second tallest falls in Iceland. But recently, some falls were discovered in the Mosárjökull glacier that displaced Haifoss to third place. Still, the extraordinary beauty of the smoothly carved landscape and the falls have not changed due to that.
To reach Haifoss, you must take Road 30 and 32 from Selfoss, followed by Road 332. This last one is a gravel road, and it’s in relatively bad condition at some points, so make sure your car has enough clearance underneath to pass through some of the rockier areas along the way. It is possible to do with a VW Golf, though (at least I did). Still, a 4x4 is highly recommended.
Once you reach the parking area, you’ll be welcomed by the sight of both falls next to each other. Be careful as it is a tall cliff and there are no guardrails. You can also walk along the southern side of the canyon towards the valley, following the river. Again, not a lot of people visit Haifoss, so enjoy the area in (almost) solitude.
Haifoss can easily be visited on your way to Landmannalaugar if you’re on your way there from Reykjavik and are taking the F26 and F208. The combination of this two sights (falls and hot springs!) is an excellent day trip from Reykjavik.
Given that these falls are all spread across the country, the best way to visit them all (in addition to everything else cool in Iceland), you should plan on spending about two weeks in the country, traveling all around the Ring Road (Road1) and the Westfjords. Guide to Iceland has an excellent 14-day self-drive tour that covers all Iceland, including the Westfjords.
For F roads, I recommend checking the current road status on the road.is site to make sure they are passable and not dangerous due to weather conditions.