Before we begin with the list of the seven amazing waterfalls, check out this video of five of them. They are truly extraordinary.
1 – Öxarárfoss
All right, we are going to start out with one of the smaller ones.
On our trip all the way arund Iceland via the ring road, this was the first waterfall we saw. And even though it by far isn’t the largest in Iceland is has a very special feel. Öxarárfoss is located at Thingvellir, which is where the tectonic plates of The Americas and Eurasia meet. The plates are drifting further and further apart by a couple of centimeters each year. Over the cause of maaaaaany years a canyon has now formed between the two plates.
Öxarárfoss spills down one side of the canyon and the water then continues down through the rift. It’s really special. Standing there between the two plates, it’s easy to understand why the Vikings chose Thingvellir as the place for their parliament.
2 – Gullfoss
From Thingvellir it’s not a very long drive to Gullfoss, one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland. It’s pretty close to the capital, Reykjavik, and during a day trip it’s possible to see all of The Golden Circle with Thingvellir, a geyser and then Gullfoss.
Gullfoss means The Golden Waterfall and it’s a lot bigger than Öxarárfoss.
The fall is split in two. An upper part and a lower part.
We were especially crazy with the lower part, where the water falls 32 metres down into a crevice that runs perpendicular to the flow of the river.
3 – Hraunfossar
Like Öxarárfoss Hraunfossar is not the largest waterfall, but it’s definitely worth seeing. Hraunfossar is special, because there’s no river on the top of the falls. Sounds strange? Yes. But where does the water then come from? From inside the cliffs.
The cliff is made of lava from an volcanic eruption, and the subterranean water runs in the porous lava until it streams down in the Hvítá river.
Very fittingly the name Hraunfossar means lava waterfalls.
4 – Dettifoss
If you’re looking for massive waterfalls Dettifoss is your thing. Dettifoss is situated in a pretty desolate part of the north eastern part of Iceland, so be prepared to drive on not so very good gravel roads – but tt’s doable even though you’re not driving in a four-wheel drive.
Dettifoss is the largest waterfall in Iceland in terms of water discharge.
The average flow of water in the fall is nearly 200 cubic metres per second. That’s 200 tonnes of water. Every second. All day long. All year long. That’s a lot of water.
One of the really cool things about Dettifoss is, that it’s still raw, unspoiled nature without board walks, railing and so on.
5 – Svartifoss
As Dettifoss, Svartifoss is placed inside Vatnajökull National Park, but in the opposite direction. An the national park is big. As in really big. So to get from one fall to the other you’ll have to drive 475 kilometers.
Svartifoss means The Black Waterfall, and the fall is famous for its black basalt columns. The same type of basalt columns can be seen other places in Iceland – for example the black beach near Vik.
You can park your car at Skaftafell Information Center from where it’s a 45 minutes walk to the fall. But the area around Skaftafell offers plenty of other great hiking routes, so take your time chose a longer trail if you’re up for it.
We did and it was great hiking. In the middle of nowhere we passed this waterfall, which we include as a little bonus on the list.
6 – Skögafoss
After having seen a lot of waterfalls on our trip around Iceland, we where actually reacing our limit and were feeling a bit fed up. So talked about just bypassing Skögafoss. How special could it be? Well, pretty special it turns out.
In spite of our fed up-ness with waterfalls we thought ‘what the heck’ as Skögafoss is pretty close to the ring road. That decision turned out to be the right one.
Skögafoss is a ‘classic’ waterfall with an almost perfect rectangle of water flowing down over the rock.
Also, Skögafoss is famous it’s two rainbows which are visible in sunny weather. It’s beautiful.
On the right hand side of the fall it’s possible to climb up the cliff and see the waterfall from above.
7 – Seljalandsfoss
And on to number seven: Seljalandsfoss. Even though this fall is the last one on the list, it dosn’t mean that it’s the least interesting. This is just the order you’ll see the falls in if you drive the ring road clockwise.
Seljalandsfoss is not the biggest of the waterfalls in Iceland even though the water falls about 60 metres from top to bottom.
Seen from afar Seljalandsfoss looks preety and all that, but not that very special. But it is. Seljalandsfoss is unique because it is possible to walk behind the water – which is pretty cool!
Bring a raincoat because the spray from the waterfall is pretty intense, so you’ll get very wet when walking behind the falling water.
Liked what you read? Please share on Pinterest: