Ultimate Guide to Waterfalls in Iceland

Iceland is home to around 10,000 waterfalls of varied size and beauty. It is impossible to see them all but there are some that more well known than others. Our ultimate guide to waterfalls shows you where to find some of the biggest and most impressive waterfalls in the country.

With so much to see and do in Iceland, it can be difficult planning where to go and what you are going to see on your trip around the country. One thing you should make time for though is getting to see some of the amazing waterfalls around the country. You can schedule these into your plans on the way to see other attractions, as there are waterfalls spread out all over the country. We have put together an ultimate guide to waterfalls in Iceland, featuring some of the following waterfalls;

  1. Gullfoss – Most Popular Iceland Waterfall
  2. Dettifoss – Most Powerful Waterfall in Europe
  3. Seljalandsfoss – Walk Behind the Water Flow
  4. Skogafoss – Rainbow Waterfall
  5. Glymur – Second Tallest Waterfall in Iceland
  6. Svartifoss – Waterfall Surrounded by Black Columns
  7. Hraunfossar – Lava Waterfalls
  8. Godafoss – Waterfall of the Gods
  9. Bruarfoss – Bright Blue Waterfall
  10. Dynjandi – Remote Waterfall

Gullfoss Waterfall – South Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 116 km

Approximate travel time: 1h 44min

This is widely considered as the most popular waterfall in the country and is considered by many locals to be the most beautiful. One of the reasons it is the most popular is likely due to its close proximity to the golden circle and Reykjavik. It is fairly easy to get to and can be reached from Reykjavik by car in just under 2 hours. The translation of the falls name actually means Golden Waterfall and being so close to the golden circle route it makes for any easy pit stop. Its an impressive waterfall that you can view from many angles, but access can be limited during the winter.

Dettifoss Waterfall – North Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 539 km

Approximate travel time: 7h 7min

If you are looking for raw power, then you should definitely head to this awesome waterfall in the northern part of Iceland. Located not too far from Akureyri, it is Iceland’s most powerful waterfall with a huge volume of water cascading down every second. Although it isn’t one of the tallest waterfalls at 45 meters tall, it is 100 meters wide and really is an amazing sight. It was also seen at the beginning of the film Prometheus from Ridley Scott. The road can be closed in the winter though so check first before heading to the fall.

Seljalandfoss Waterfall – South Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 128 km

Approximate travel time: 1h 47min

If Gullfoss is the most popular waterfall in Iceland, then this could be a close second. Seljalandfoss is one of the most visited waterfalls in the country, due to the fact you can actually walk around the waterfall and walk behind the water flow. This offers a unique opportunity that you wouldn’t find in many other places in the world. It is close to the main road and you can drive there yourself by heading east on Route 1 from Reykjavik. This is a great opportunity to get up close and personal to the waterfall and take some amazing pictures.

Skógafoss Waterfall – South Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 156 km

Approximate travel time: 2h 10min

This is another waterfall located in the south of Iceland and is just a short drive away from Seljalandfoss so you could visit both on the same trip. It is sometimes referred to as the rainbow waterfall because a rainbow is always visible here when the sun shines. It can be seen from the ring road and much like Seljalandfoss, you can walk right up to the waterfall itself. You can also hike up to see different sides of the waterfall or even see it from above too. You can walk along the river that leads up to the fall weather permitting too.

Glymur Waterfall – West Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 40.8 km

Approximate travel time: 1h 8min

It might seem strange to mention the second tallest waterfall and not the first, but until 2007, Glymur was considered to be the tallest. Morsárfoss emerged from a melting glacier to become the official tallest waterfall, but it is quite hard to reach and many locals still see Glymur as the tallest waterfall. You certainly won’t be disappointed though as this waterfall stands an impressive 198 meters high, making it one of the tallest in Europe. You can find the waterfall in the West of Iceland at Hvalfjörður fjord, but it is about a 2-hour hike from the main road.

Svartifoss Waterfall – South Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 327 km

Approximate travel time: 4h 21min

Translated as the black waterfall, this is one of the most unique and photo-worthy waterfalls in Iceland. It is more than likely you would have seen images of the waterfall, with striking black columns surrounding the fall. Located in the south-east of Iceland, you can find the fall in Vatnajökull National Park and it is well worth a visit. The awesome natural formation has provided inspiration to artists for decades and is thought to be the inspiration behind the famous church Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik. It is slightly further to reach than some of the other southern waterfalls, at just over a 4 hour drive from Reykjavik, but it is easy to reach when you arrive.

Hraunfossar Waterfall – West Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 126 km

Approximate travel time: 1h 46min

A unique number of spring waterfalls that run from the lava in the West of Iceland, just over 2 hours drive north of Iceland. It’s a magnificent waterfall that differs from so many others in the world and is more a collection of lots of small falls that make picturesque falls. It has easy access from the parking spot and it also sits right next to Barnafoss waterfall, another dramatic fall that you can visit while you are there. 

Goðafoss Waterfall – North Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 422 km

Approximate travel time: 5h 22min

The literal translation for its name means the falls of the Gods and has drawn the comparison to a small Niagara Falls due to its horseshoe shape. According to Iceland folklore and sagas, the chieftain threw the idols of the Old Norse Gods into the falls, which symbolised the nation's conversion to Christianity. This settled a religious crisis in the region as there was unrest with which religion should be followed. It is a truly remarkable waterfall and you can find it close to Detifoss, so again you might want to visit both on the same trip.

Brúarfoss Waterfall – South Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 95.2 km

Approximate travel time: 1h 31min

One of the smaller waterfalls in our guide but certainly not any less awe-inspiring, it is also one of the closest waterfalls to Reykjavik at just over an hour and a half drive. It is a series of smaller waterfalls that lead into one larger pool. It is notable and often visited for its strikingly bright blue waters. There are easy access and parking near the fall but you will need to follow the trail some way to find the perfect photo spot.

Dynjandi Waterfall – West Iceland

Distance from Reykjavik: 366 km

Approximate travel time: 5h 4min

One of the most awesome waterfalls in Iceland is also one of the more remote locations in our guide. The waterfall is 100 meters high and flows down the side of a cliff that ends at 60 meters wide at the bottom. Located in the Westfjords it is more remote but this simply adds to the appeal of the waterfall. It is one in a row of seven waterfalls in the region, with plenty more to see locally. However, with over a 6 hour drive away from Reykjavik, you should think about staying closer to the Westfjords if you plan on visiting.