Information about Dettifoss

Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland

Dettifoss is a waterfall found in North Iceland, said to be the most powerful in Europe. It is regularly visited on Diamond Circle tours and should not be missed by any visiting the region.

Geography

Dettifoss is fed by the powerful glacier river Jökulsá á Fjöllum which flows from the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull. The thunderous falls has an average waterflow of 193 metres cubed per second (6,186 cubic feet). It is 100 metres (330 feet) wide and plummets 45 metres (150 feet) down into Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.

This canyon is in the northern part of the greater Vatnajökull National Park, the greatest national park in the country, thus Dettifoss is well protected.

Also within this canyon, fed by the river of Jökulsá á Fjöllum, are two more impressive waterfalls, Selfoss (not to be mistaken with the southern town of the same name) and Hafragilsfoss.

Flowers bloom before Dettifoss waterfall.

Surrounding Sites

Dettifoss is located to the Ring Road that encircles Iceland, bypassing only the Westfjords and Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the west. This means that it is easy to drive to year-round, although you will need a four-wheel-drive to reach it in winter.

The most significant settlement near Dettifoss is the town of Akureyri, or ‘the Capital of the North’. With over ten thousand people, it is the largest town outside of the Greater Reykjavík Area. It is an excellent place to stop and rest for those visiting the north or encircling Iceland.

Another town of significance in the area is Húsavík, a coastal town that has began to boast the title of having the best whale watching in all of Europe. In summer, operators usually have 100 percent success rates in terms of sightings. The most common species are humpback and minke whales, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises, although blue, fin, sei, beaked, pilot, beluga and killer whales are seen on rare occasions.

Between Akureyri and Dettifoss is the Lake Mývatn area. This beautiful expanse is renowned for it wealth of flora and fauna, particularly its birdlife; dozens of species can be found here, particularly the charming Eider Duck.

It is also renowned for its spectacular geology, with its pseudocraters, basalt pillars, and particularly the lava ‘fortress’ of Dimmuborgir, which is said to be the home of Iceland’s thirteen ‘Santas’, who are traditionally vindictive trolls more than they are jolly gift-givers.

Dimmuborgir and Mývatn were both used as a set in the Game of Thrones franchise, for many scenes North of the Wall. Dettifoss, meanwhile, was used in the opening scene of the 2012 film Prometheus, where the black rocks and dramatic scenery allowed it to represent an alien landscape.

Another waterfall sits on the Ring Road between Akureyri and Mývatn: Goðafoss. Though not as great as Dettifoss, its history is deeper; it was here, in 1000 AD, that Iceland’s lawspeaker marked the country’s shift from believing in the Old Norse Gods to believing in Christianity.

North of Dettifoss, one can find the incredible canyon of Ásbyrgi. This canyon is shaped like a giant horseshoe, and filled with verdant greenery. It is so perfectly formed and dramatic that it was originally believed to have been created by the stomping of one of the hoofs of the eight-legged horse of the Old Norse God Odin.

Services near Dettifoss

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Attractions nearby Dettifoss

Jökulsárgljúfur

Jökulsárgljúfur is a canyon in Iceland that was once its own national park; now, it is part of the greater Vatnajökull Natio...

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Selfoss (waterfall)

Selfoss is a beautiful waterfall in north Iceland, often visited on Diamond Circle tours. It is not to be confused with the town of the same name i...

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Hafragilsfoss

  Downstream of Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, is another major waterfall, the thunderous Hafragilsfoss. Like Dettifoss, Hafr...

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Hljóðaklettar

Hljodaklettar (‘Echo Rocks’) is a distinctive cluster of columnar rock formations, located by Jokulsargljufur in Vatnajokull National Pa...

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Gjástykki

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Krafla

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Víti in Krafla

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Leirhnjúkur

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Ásbyrgi

Ásbyrgi Canyon is a spectacular horseshoe-shaped depression in the northeast of Iceland, steeped in folklore. It is found only fifty miles e...

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Hrossaborg

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by genevieverossier  Hrossaborg, in northeast Iceland, is a tephra and scoria crater. Its name means &ls...

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Jökulsá á Fjöllum

Jokulsa a Fjollum is a glacier river at the east of the vast Odadahraun lava field in the north-east of Iceland. It is Iceland's second largest ri...

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Diamond Circle

The Diamond Circle is a famed 260 kilometre (162 mile) sightseeing route in the northeast of Iceland, characterised by its sheer number of natural a...

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Námaskarð

Námaskarð Pass is a geothermal area on the mountain Námafjall, in north Iceland, less than half an hour’s drive from Lake M&...

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Námafjall Geothermal Area

The Námafjall Geothermal Area is located in Northeast Iceland, on the east side of Lake Mývatn. At this area, also known as Hverir, ...

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Mývatn Nature Baths

Photo from Goðafoss Waterfall and the Mývatn Nature Baths The Mývatn Nature Baths are a set of geothermally heated pools and steam ...

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Bjarnarflag

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo by LV Corporate Bjarnarflag is the oldest geothermal power station in Iceland, having been first open...

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Grjótagjá

Photo by Andrés Nieto Porras Grjótagjá is a small lava cave located near lake Mývatn in north Iceland, famous for fe...

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Mývatn

Mývatn is a beautiful lake with many small islands in the north of Iceland, the fourth largest lake in the country. Due to its serenity, bird...

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Stóragjá

Stóragjá is a little-known rift in north Iceland which holds cave filled with naturally-heated geothermal water. Found next to the vill...

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Hverfjall

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Tong Hverfjall is a tuff ring volcano with an incredibly impressive crater, approximately one kilo...

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