Ice, fire, poets, color, and nature – these are the words that define one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Iceland.
Despite being situated in Arctic, winters in Iceland do not throw any shade of gloom on the country’s beauty, rather it makes the country even more colorful with its music, food, and festivals. The ice-capped mountains, boiling mud pools, local swimming pools, alpine glaciers, hot springs, long rivers, active geysers, and beautiful waterfalls continue to attract tourists all throughout the year.
After seeing a white patch with a few blue arteries on the world map it might seem that Iceland is just a land of ice. But Iceland is white, hidden under sheets of ice in winters and is lush green and colorful in summers. Swarms of tourist descend to this European country in summer to witness midnight sun and colorful towns and in winter to see the Northern Lights. Summer or winter, visiting some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland should be on everyone’s list. To be in Iceland is to witness people adding colors to the white patches through their music, food, and festivals.
Iceland has some of the most beautiful and majestic waterfalls in the world. The sight of thick sheets of ice melting and falling from tall mountains is breathtaking.
Waterfalls in Iceland are treasures scattered in different parts of the mountainous land. What is best about waterfalls in Iceland? It’s variety. Hikers and climbers can find wild and remote trails to reach the top of some of the most beautiful waterfalls and people with families can drive their cars to kids and elderly-friendly waterfalls.
Here is the list of five most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland that everyone should visit:
Water falling into a narrow stream from this 200-feet tall waterfall with snow-capped glaciers in the background makes Skógafoss the most spectacular waterfall in Iceland. While the surroundings are lush green and scenic in summer, the path leading to the foot of waterfall is buried under ice. There are high chances of seeing a rainbow arching over the waterfall.
Summer activities: Hiking to the top of the waterfall in summer, watching fishermen catching salmon, exploring the wild terrain and watching birds.
Winter activities: Visiting folk art museum and farmhouses in the village of Skógar, located a few miles from the waterfall.
Accessibility: It is recommended to wear crampons during the winter for a safe walk on the slippery ice.
Amenities: Though there are no restaurants or restrooms at the spot, Skógar village has a few restaurants famous for their lamb and mushroom soups.
It is debatable whether it is Skógafoss or Gullfoss that is the most spectacular waterfall in Iceland. While beautiful rainbows can be spotted over both waterfalls, Gullfoss is a roaring 105-feet tall and almost 800-feet wide colossal, staircase-like waterfall located in southwest Iceland. The water descends from the two steps of this waterfall and falls into deep and narrow Hvítá river. It seems as if the force of water chops the mountains into halves, creating a huge chasm.
Accessibility: Though the waterfall is open to the public all year long, the trail leading to the waterfall is covered in snow in winter and it can be dangerous to walk without crampons. Parents are recommended to take extra care of their kids on the trail.
Amenities: There are restrooms and an ample parking space a few meters from the waterfall
It is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Iceland. The rushing water falling from 12-meter height meets the serene Goðafoss River making a pleasing sound. The contours of ice-decorated mountains behind the waterfall can be seen in winter and the same mountains are hidden under sheets of green grass in summer. In both the seasons, the waterfall looks spectacular.
Accessibility: Located in northern Iceland, the waterfall is situated right off the Right Road, which makes it easy to locate and very accessible for families. This waterfall is open in both summer and winter.
Amenities: There is ample parking space near the waterfall. There is also a small store, restaurant, and restrooms located near the spot.
Walk into a small cave and watch this beautiful 60-meter (convert to feet) high waterfall wearing a colorful rainbow from behind. It is possible to walk 360-degree around the waterfall. In winter, it is also possible to stroll through the green meadows. Out of all the waterfalls, visiting Seljalandsfoss can be the most enjoyable experience. Relax and watch this waterfall while sipping a cup of coffee sitting on a bench located a few steps from the waterfall or spread a blanket on the lush green grass and enjoy a picnic with the family.
Accessibility: The path that leads to the cave behind the waterfall is wet and slippery. The path is also partially paved and it is recommended to wear waterproof clothes. The waterfall is not hard to locate. It is visible from the Ring Road.
Amenities: There is plenty of free parking near the spot. There is a farm located near the waterfall
It is the most powerful waterfall in Iceland with the greatest volume in entire Europe. It is close to 148-meter tall and spills about 500 cubic meters of water per second. Near this powerful waterfall, there are a number of short trails that lead to smaller waterfalls. In summer, it can be heaven for hikers and campers. A scenic 21-mile trail goes along the canyon from Dettifoss to Asbyrgi canyon. Campers also love to camp Vesturdalur Valley, which also has several small hiking trails.
Accessibility: It is not located too close to the main road. There are two roads (one is closed during winter) that lead to the waterfall and it can take up to 10-15 minutes (on gravel roads) to reach the spot from the parking area.
Amenities: A parking lot located about 0.6 miles from the waterfall.