In Iceland, there are a few things that you will see consistently: horses and sheep, mountains, and waterfalls. There is a waterfall in every little crevasse of every single mountain on the island and, though they are always beautiful, some are just more spectacular than others. Here are the 10 waterfalls that I found particularly memorable.
1. glymur waterfall
Glymur waterfall was the first one that we visited during our trip. So while it is not the first that we saw, it is the first that I can name. It is also the highest reachable waterfall in Iceland. There is one higher, but it is impossible to visit due to its location.
It took us about 3 hours to hike to Glymur and back to the parking lot, and while it is not the easiest hike, it is also doable for most people. There is a river to cross on a tree trunk and a few places where we had to use ropes to help ourselves up, but it is also very worth it. The waterfall is absolutely gorgeous and completely hidden in a canyon and the hike gave us wonderful view points over the valley and surrounding mountains.
Skogafoss is definitely one of the waterfalls you HAVE to visit in Iceland, but to be completely honest, we kind of forgot it existed as soon as we saw the rainbows! Skogafoss is also the highest waterfall on the Skoga river, but if you climb to the top, you can walk along the river and discover many smaller waterfalls and the most beautiful scenery. It is worth it to plan a bit more time and explore past the crowds.
Seljalandfoss looks impressive in pictures because you always see it from the back, meaning you can walk behind it. What I wasn't expecting, was the massive size of the waterfall and the grotto behind it. In real life, the fall is so powerful that you need a rain jacket even if you look at it from afar. It is also way higher than it looks in pictures.
4. Gljufrabui waterfall
I think Gljufrabui was my favorite waterfall of all. It is located about 300m from Seljalandfoss, but most people seemed to completely ignore it and prefer it's sister. While Seljalandsfoss is bigger, Gljufrabui is hidden behind a canyon and you can barely see it from the trail. The only way to reach it is to walk through the canyon in the water, but boy is it worth it!
Gullfoss is a very powerful waterfall located on the Golden Circle in southwest Iceland. The crevasse where the water flows is so narrow that, from the viewpoint on the left side of the river, it looks like the water is flowing underneath the earth or falling to the center of the earth. I wish I could have seen it in the winter too as the water must form really neat icicles on the sides of the canyon.
Godafoss is know for its legend. Apparently, in 1000 AD, one of Iceland's lawmakers came back home from the annual meeting at Thingvellir, where they decided to make Christianity the official religion of Iceland, and threw his statues of Norse gods in the waterfall. Although no one knows if the story is true, the waterfall is still one of the most beautiful in Iceland because of its width and the blue color of its water. The shape also reminded me of a small Niagara Falls.
Svartifoss is so different from the other waterfalls in Iceland! With its basalt columns, it looks like the pipes of a giant organ and you would recognize it anywhere. This waterfall is also part of Skaftafell-Vatnajökull National Park where you can observe glaciers, volcanoes and other waterfalls so it was a nice visit. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes to hike to the waterfall and, like most places in Iceland, it is mostly uphill, but the view along the way is gorgeous and it's not a technical hike.
The interesting part of this waterfall isn't actually the fall itself, but the kettles carved by the river. Some of them seem to interlace while the water flows through. It's really impressive! There is a small parking lot near the cascades and the view from up there gives you a nice panorama on the whole fjord and Seydisfjordur.
Dettifoss may not be pretty with its greyish-white water and moon like surroundings, but it is the most powerful waterfall in Iceland and the second most powerful in Europe. Honestly, after walking along it, I have no doubt of its power. There is so much water falling so abruptly that even from the furthest viewpoint we were still getting splashed.
Kirkjufell waterfall isn't the biggest or the strongest, it doesn't have the prettiest color, it isn't the highest either, but it's location makes it great. Right in front of the conical mountain that gives it its name, with the sun setting in the background, it has the prettiest surroundings.
To be honest, after a few days in Iceland, we barely noticed most of the waterfalls we passed along the road, but these ten were worth the detour or even the hike. Don't forget to tag them on Google maps or write them on your list of places to visit as they are absolute must-sees in Iceland.
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