7 Most Magical Waterfalls in Iceland

7 Most Magical Waterfalls in Iceland
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Wherever you are in Iceland, you’re never far away from one of the many waterfalls of Iceland.

As you explore the “Land of Fire and Ice”, there are thousands of “fosses” to be enjoyed – that’s the word for waterfalls in Iceland.

All around the famous “Ring Road”, which has been rated as one of the Most Beautiful and Scenic Road Trips in Europe; and deep into the magnificent Highlands, there’s a fabulous collection of cascades to be found if you know where to look.

In this article, you’ll learn all about seven of the most magical waterfalls in Iceland!

 

The Best and Most Magical Waterfalls in Iceland

Pin this Iceland Travel Guide featuring 7 of the Most Magical Waterfalls in Iceland

 

Nauthúsafoss

 

Close to Seljalandsfoss, you can escape the South Coast crowds with an off-the-beaten-path trip to a “hidden waterfall”.

Nauthúsafoss (Bull House Falls) is a 20-meter cascade that plunges gracefully into a pretty wood-filled gorge on the route to Þórsmörk.

It’s thought that the name comes from a cattle farm at Stóra-Mörk, where bulls and cows were put out to summer pasture together in the lush green fields.

Folklore suggests that the farm was abandoned because the area was haunted!

 

How to get to Nauthusafoss

 Nauthúsafoss can be reached by turning inland on Route 249 from Route 1 shortly after passing Hvolsvöllur.

Continue past Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi for about 9 kilometers, and prepare for a short hike along the river from the car park.

 

Tips on visiting Nauthusafoss

  • The finest views of Nauthúsafoss are from the top of the canyon, a 15-minute hike.
  • Hiking the river trail to Nauthúsafoss will take you past other smaller falls
  • If you take the river trail, prepare to get your feet wet, using chains to climb upstream
  • The ravine is filled with rowan trees, which are said to have holy powers
  • Look out for sheep, as flocks are roaming freely here

 

Sigöldufoss 

 

Seeing some of the top spots in the Icelandic Highlands is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Landmannalaugar is one of the most accessible areas of Iceland’s impressive interior, and the “People’s Pools” is filled with magnificent sights, including several beautiful waterfalls.

Sigöldufoss is one of these attractions, an impressive waterfall on the Tungnaá River fueled by turquoise-blue meltwater cascading into a wide canyon. Surrounded by steep moss-covered cliffs, Sigöldufoss is a splendid sight.

 

How to get to Sigoldufoss

Sigöldufoss is located in South Iceland, reached by taking Route 26 north from Route 1 (between Selfoss and Hella).

After about 60 kilometers, there’s a turn onto Sprengisandsleið (F26) and another twenty kilometers to drive before the turn onto Nyrðri Fjallabaksleið (F208). A short drive from there will bring you to the waterfall.

 

Tips on visiting Sigoldufoss

  • Most of the drive from Route 1 is fully paved
  • But you’ll need a 4WD vehicle to reach this location as it is on an F-road
  • You can drive close to a viewpoint on the north side of the river
  • If you have enough time, there’s even a possibility to hike down the picturesque valley Sigöldufoss is situated in! It’s a long and difficult hike, though

 

Dynjandi: feel the power of “The Thunderer”

 

 The Westfjords are amongst the wildest and most untouched areas of Iceland, and the highlight of any trip here is a visit to “The Thunderer”!

Dynjandi is a hundred-meter-high wedding cake-shaped waterfall that will amaze you when you see it because it gets wider from top to bottom. Few other waterfalls do this – it’s thirty meters wide at the top and ninety wide at the base!  

You can climb all the way to the base of Dynjandi next to the “waterfall ladder” on a gravel path, which is steep in places.

 

How to get to Dynjandi

Dynjandi is about five hours from the capital, taking Route 1 north past Borgarnes, then Route 60 into the Westfjords. The route is almost fully paved, with about thirty kilometres of gravel road to negotiate.

 

Tips on visiting Dynjandi

  • Westfjords are famous for some of the finest Icelandic Hot Pots; be sure to try them!
  • You can reach Dynjandi with a 2WD vehicle in the summer, but a 4WD is recommended at other times
  • There’s a large car park and toilet blocks, but no refreshments are available
  • No overnight camping is allowed

 


PS – Useful Travel Resources to use while heading to Iceland to discover the Best Waterfalls in Iceland – 


  

Fagrifoss

 

 In a country filled with ten thousand waterfalls, if there’s one called “the Beautiful Waterfall”, you know you’ll have to visit to see why! Fagrifoss proudly belongs to a handful of Iceland’s hidden gems.

Hidden away inland, close to the famous Laki volcanic lava fields in southeast Iceland, Fagrifoss is made beautiful by its steps, which make the twin cascades fan out before tumbling into the river below.

At 80 meters high, Fagrifoss is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland.

 

How to get to Fagrifoss

Close to the little town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur is the turn onto Route 206, which leads to the famous Fjaðrárgljúfur river canyon.

Fagrifoss lies further inland, and you’ll need a 4WD to drive on F206, about 24 kilometers from Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

 

Tips on visiting Fagrifoss

  • The drive to Fagrifoss includes a small river crossing
  • Fagrifoss is hidden from view until you arrive at the falls
  • The parking lot and toilet block are close to the falls
  • The waterfall is still shy of crowds! It takes some time and research to reach it, but it’s more than worth a remote and surreal experience.

 

Dettifoss: King of Waterfalls

 

Some call Dettifoss the “King of Waterfalls”, and when you see it, you’ll understand why!

More than a hundred meters wide, Dettifoss carries the milky-gray meltwater from the Vatnajökull glacier deep into the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, tumbling more than forty meters in a tremendous display.

Feel the ground beneath your feet vibrating as you explore Iceland’s most powerful foss! It’s an astonishing sight, and the opening scenes of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”, set on a faraway planet, were filmed here.

You’ll be able to see Dettifoss from several viewpoints, and explore another nearby cascade at Selfoss, just a short walk upstream.

 

How to get to Dettifoss

Dettifoss is located in North Iceland, requiring a 27-kilometer diversion north from the Ring Road (Route 1). You can also reach it from the north on the Arctic Coast Way (Route 85).

There are two options: Route 862 or Route 864.

Route 862 is fully paved and an easy drive, taking you to the west side car park, where you can see the falls from various platforms and perspectives.

Route 864 is a rough, bumpy gravel road leading to the east side of Dettifoss. This is best suited for 4WD vehicles, but 2WD cars can reach it when conditions are good. This route is usually only open in the summer months.

However, during the winter, neither route may be accessible due to snowfall or icy conditions.

 

Tips on visiting Dettifoss

  • Dettifoss is 44 meters high (144 feet)
  • The viewing platforms are about 15 minutes walk from the car park (600 meters)
  • The walking route is relatively flat
  • There are several viewing platforms at different heights

 

Hraunfossar

 

In West Iceland, Hraunfossar (“the Lava Waterfalls”) offers a unique sight. The cascade comes out of the middle of the cliffs at this waterfall rather than the top!

This magnificent series of waterfalls run for nearly a full kilometer at the edge of the Hallmundarhraun lava field, with meltwater from the nearby Langjökull glacier tumbling gently down a series of steps into the Hvítá (White) river. 

 

How to get to Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar is easily reached within a couple of hours from the capital, part of the Silver Circle route in West Iceland. Take Route 1 north and turn onto Route 50 at Borgarnes.

After driving around 30 kilometers, the road becomes Route 518 – follow that until you reach the large parking lot right next to the falls.

 

Tips on visiting Hraunfossar

  • There are several viewing platforms offering different perspectives along the river
  • Don’t miss Barnafoss, a powerful waterfall that lies just upstream from Hraunfossar
  • If you’re looking for refreshments, there’s an excellent restaurant in the parking area

 

Goðafoss: the “Waterfall of the Gods”

 

One of the most accessible falls in the country, you’ll find the “Waterfall of the Gods” right next to the Ring Road, on the stretch between Akureyri and Mývatn in North Iceland.

A beautifully curved cascade with dark, craggy cliffs, Goðafoss has a mythical status in Iceland’s history.

It was claimed that a local chieftain called Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði cast pagan idols into the waters here when Iceland converted to Christianity in 1000, but this story is now considered a 19th-century myth.

The name could also mean “waterfall of the chieftains”. Goðafoss is thirty meters wide, and the waters drop just over twelve meters into the Skjálfandafljót river.

 

How to get to Godafoss

As Route 1 winds between Akureyri and Mývatn, it dips down to reveal the “Waterfall of the Gods” in a gorgeous canyon as it tumbles down the Skjálfandafljöt river.

Goðafoss is 35 kilometers from Akureyri and 50 kilometers from Mývatn.

 

Tips on visiting Godafoss

  • There are two parking areas on either side of the river
  • You’ll find a café, a souvenir shop and a fuel station on the eastern side
  • There’s also a path down to the river’s edge on that side of the bridge

 

Best Hotels in Iceland

Before you go, you might want to check out what the Best Places to Stay in Iceland are? To make your life easy, here are some of the Best Hotels to stay in Iceland, that you should check out. You can scroll in and out of the map, to explore the Best Hotels not only in Reykjavik but the whole of Iceland.

 

 

 

 

Best Tours in Iceland

Here are some of the Best Tours in Iceland that you might want to check out and add to your Iceland Road Trip Itinerary.

 

 

Alternatively, these tours, cover most of the Best Waterfalls in Iceland, that we have mentioned in this Iceland Travel Guide.

Landmannalaugar Hike & the Valley of Tears from RVK & Selfoss

Thorsmork Super Jeep

South Shore Adventure from Reykjavik

 

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