Iceland’s countryside is already a stunning sight in its own right. Add in countless Iceland waterfalls, and you have yourself a jaw-dropper. No matter where you look when you’re out driving, there will undoubtedly be a waterfall within a mile of where you are. Inside, we’ll dive into the best waterfalls in Iceland.
I’ve enjoyed two 10-day trips to this magical island, with the second one being driving the Ring Road. Even still, we surely didn’t see every waterfall, but we got to a surprising amount of them. Here’s a collection of some of the best waterfalls in Iceland we encountered.
Exploring the most stunning Iceland Waterfalls
A few things to know about the waterfalls in Iceland
How to find and maximize your time with Iceland waterfalls
As I mentioned above, you won’t see all of them. At least not on one trip – probably not in two, either! So, where should you go to maximize your time and see the best ones? I suggest the southern coast.
Now, this is where most people visit, but it’s fantastic and has so many great waterfalls for you to check out.
Of the waterfalls in Iceland, which was my favorite?
I LOVED Gljufrabui, just don’t make me pronounce it! It’s unique and secluded (sort of), and you’re guaranteed to be drenched.
Should you aim to drive the ring road?
If you’re planning to spend more than ten days, yes. It’s unique to see the country’s different regions and how they differ so much from other portions. Such as East Iceland blew me away, and I found it to be so much fun to explore!
Photography Gear to Photograph Iceland Waterfalls
- Camera Body
- Wide Angle Lens (16-24 range)
- Lens cleaning kit (especially a cloth for mist/spray)
- ND Filter for long exposures during the day
Iceland Waterfalls on the Golden Circle
Another iconic Icelandic waterfall. Gullfoss is very crowded, so, as always, getting there early or late is ideal. Unfortunately, we didn’t have pristine conditions with overcast skies, but it was still stunning in its own right.
There’s a walkway that brings you down to the third photo, giving you an idea of how big and forceful the falls are.
This was probably my favorite waterfall of the trip. Storm clouds were brewing toward the end of the hike, which meant there weren’t too many others on the short walk. I may have seen five people, which is excellent for a must-see waterfall.
A quick walk through a Game of Thrones-like canyon will drop you off at Oxararfoss. There’s not much to shoot or look at, but it’s a nice entrance into Thingvellir National Park. As you can tell, it was overcast this afternoon, too, which was a bummer. But we made the most of it!
Somehow, over two trips to Iceland, I still haven’t experienced the tallest waterfall on the island. It’s not technically in the golden circle, but it’s just north of it, so I’m using my editorial judgment to put it here!
If you’re driving to the Snaefellsness Peninsula, it’s a slight detour, but it should be worth it!
Snaefellsness Peninsula/Northwestern Region
This is a bit of a vague regional description, but these Iceland waterfalls are north of the golden circle, but not north-north.
Barnafossar & Hraunfossar
These waterfalls of Iceland are right next to each other and are a real treat to see. The bluish water is always a joy to be around, and seeing water flow, quite literally, out of a rock face is pretty remarkable. I’d highly recommend making your way here.
A must-see spot that every Game of Thrones fan will recognize. It was a bit chilly, and we were snacking on food which meant I didn’t get too creative here and seek out different angles. But that’s okay; sometimes, simply sitting and enjoying a view is what matters.
Grundarfoss might not have Kirkjufellsfoss’s notoriety, but it’s a damn good waterfall. We didn’t get a chance to check it out, but it’s probably only 15 minutes from the aforementioned Iceland waterfall. I might even argue it’s more impressive than Kirkjufell.
Right behind Olafsik, this is a lovely Iceland waterfall that seems easy to seet, if not access. I didn’t stop, but we drove by it!
Out on the Snaefellsness Peninsula, you can reach these beautiful Iceland waterfalls off the main road outside Rif, on the northwest side of the peninsula. If you wanted to get closer, you’d have to cross a small stream, but we didn’t want to do that.
This will be right on your way back south for many people doing the loop around the peninsula. It’s only a few minutes’ drive once you turn off the 54 and onto the 56. Again, we didn’t stop, but it looked like a beautiful Iceland waterfall.
Memorable Iceland Waterfalls in the Highlands
There are a ton of waterfalls in the Icelandic Highlands. These three are the only ones I’ve made it to. I’m sure there are others as well!
Valley of Tears
A stunning, stunning display of waterfalls in the Icelandic Highlands. It’s a canyon seemingly crying with a dozen or so waterfalls in one area. You can park in a dirt lot and walk about a half mile (10 minutes) for a better view.
This is in the highlands and on your way to some of the best parts of the island. This is right off the side of the road, and getting down to the water level is possible if you’re careful. Also, feel free to drink the water, as it’s as pure as you can find.
Also, Haifoss is a beautiful double waterfall in a majestic canyon in the highlands. This does take a little bit of work to get to. I’d estimate we drove on a dirt road for 25 minutes to reach it in our small SUV.
There’s a path that I believe takes you toward the canyon floor. Probably one of the most idyllic waterfalls in Iceland.
Stunning Waterfalls on the Southern Iceland Coast
The first of our waterfalls on my second visit, this one’s right off the 1 and is really nice. It’s nothing crazy, but it has character, haha. If you have a camper van, you can back in and have the waterfall perfectly aligned. (See below.)
There are also a few picnic tables for lunch/dinner. I really enjoyed this one!
The first time I visited Skogafoss, it was pouring. I didn’t let this stop me, though, as I braved the elements and made my up the half-mile staircase to the top. The second time, I explored at 1:30 am under the midnight sun. Quite the dichotomy between the two visits!
There’s a multi-mile hike behind Skogafoss that only a fraction enjoy. Do it! There are about seven waterfalls to see, and they’re gorgeous!
Related: Roadtripping around Iceland.
The first time I was here, it was pouring, and I didn’t even leave my car to shoot.
Thankfully, the second time was gorgeous, and we got some great shorts. This place is perfect for sunset, especially in the summer when the sun sets behind the waterfall and turns the water a glowing orange. Just be ready for crowds of people.
One of the most remarkable waterfalls I’ve ever been to. And be warned; you’ll get soaked going in, so come with all of your rain gear and camera protection (if you have it). But holy smokes, was it an incredible experience feeling the power of the waterfall.
We left soaked but so happy and smiling ear to ear.
Just a half mile from the craziness at Skogafoss is another of the beautiful Iceland waterfalls to see. You can walk behind Kvernufoss, which makes for a cool photo and hike.
This is the waterfall at the back of the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. It’s about 1.5 miles to the back overlook, and worth it!
A very popular waterfall and hike near the Skatafell Campground Skatafell Glacier. We didn’t get to do it, but it looks gorgeous!
Unknown Iceland waterfalls, but pretty nonetheless
This was also on the southern coast, by the glaciers, but not sure what it’s called. I thought it was really beautiful.
Iceland Waterfalls of the North
The God waterfall. (Not exactly the translation, haha.) But it’s brilliant and very worth the visit. Make sure to walk down to the water level and to the platform above for multiple angles.
If you keep driving past Godafoss, you’ll eventually reach this Iceland waterfalls gem.
Related: A guide to Iceland’s black beaches
Dubbed the most powerful waterfall in Iceland, I think I agree! An immense amount of water flows over the drop, creating a ridiculous amount of mist, so be prepared to be damp when you leave.
There are two sides, the touristy side and the F-road side. We opted for the easy drive even though it was more crowded. I think the photos from the west side are better, though you can’t get as close.
Just upstream of Dettifoss, it’s less impressive but still cool to check out, considering you’re already there. There’s a trail connecting the two on the west side but unsure about the F-road side.
The best waterfalls in East Iceland
A lot of these are tucked into the fjords, which are not always the quickest route around the country. Pick and choose wisely, as you can’t get to them all.
Probably one of the most disregarded waterfalls in Iceland. This one sits at the beginning of the hike to Studlagil Canon, but so many people walk right by without even giving it a second look.
Just outside Eglisstadir, Fardagafoss is super accessible and only requires a short walk to see the falls. There are better Iceland waterfalls than this, but having one so close to town is nice!
Another multi-tier waterfall in Iceland, and it’s gorgeous. I wish we’d stopped because the pictures here are beautiful.
If you’re doing the Ring Road counterclockwise, you’ll reach this just before your turn-off to Studlagil Canyon. It’s a half-mile walk up, but the multi-tier waterfalls are lovely.
Not a waterfall we made it to, but it looks really nice and appears you don’t have to walk too far.
One of our FAVORITE hikes while in East Iceland. This place had lupines galore, and it was warm and sunny. Quite the change from other parts of the island. If you do this, park by the old museum and hike up behind it. It’ll be stunning and not hard at all.
This is a short little hike off the ring road after leaving Djupivogur. It looked really cool, and we had the place mostly to ourselves. There’s also a dirt road you can drive up to view if you won’t want to hike. (There’s also a campground and another waterfall further up that road.)
This one has some gnarly red stripes around the basalt columns, which make it the defining feature. It’s about 30 minutes from Egilsstadir.
Iceland waterfalls near a tunnel towards Eglisstadir
FAQ: Iceland Waterfalls
Which Iceland waterfall can you walk behind?
The most famous one is Seljalandfoss, but you can also walk behind Kvernufoss. The Iceland waterfalls create so many amazing opportunities to experience things you can’t do anywhere else on Earth.
What is Iceland’s biggest waterfall?
The tallest of the Iceland waterfalls is Glymur, while the largest by volume is Dettifoss. Glymur is in western Iceland, and Dettifoss is in Northern Iceland.
What is the most famous waterfall in Iceland?
By tourist volume, it’s probably a close race between Skogafoss and Gullfoss. Both of these see a lot of tour buses which adds to their popularity. Not far off is probably the waterfall near Kirkjufell.
Can you swim in the waterfalls of Iceland?
If you want to. Most are snowmelt, so it will be incredibly chilly, but there should be no reason you can’t unless there are signs!
Where did they film Jon Snow/Daenerys waterfall scene?
This was filmed at Skogafoss.
Final Thoughts – Iceland Waterfalls
As you can see, there are dozens and dozens of waterfalls in Iceland. Even on multiple trips, you’ll probably not collect them all, which is okay. You should also enjoy other aspects of Iceland.
Enjoy your time in Iceland; hopefully, this helps you see the best waterfalls in Iceland. Always be respectful of the land and culture!
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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