Best time to travel to Iceland

Waterfalls in Iceland

With over 10,000 waterfalls, Iceland literally overflows with torrents and rapids

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Iceland is called a waterfall country for a reason. The sheer number of its waterfalls, which is 10,000 plus, is mind-blowing. However, as you see those displays of nature, you'll realize that Iceland waterfalls take various forms, so you won't get bored exploring them. People often wonder why Iceland has that many falls, and the reason is the North Atlantic climate combined with an Arctic location. The former brings frequent rain and snow, whereas the latter results in large glaciers which melt and feed the rivers in the summer.

Best time to visit waterfalls in Iceland

For the utmost experience, visit between late May and early September. You'll be rewarded with the largest volumes of roaring water, rainbows forming in the falls in the sunny weather, a variety of hiking trails, and warmer temperatures. Additionally, if you come in June or July, you could bathe in the midnight sun. Also, during the warmer months, you will have access to a wider range of vantage points all across Iceland.


The iconic Gullfoss translated as "Golden Falls" is the most popular waterfall located on the Golden Circle sightseeing route in Southwest Iceland. Straddled into two cascades, the waterfall thunders 105 feet (32 m) down the Hvítá River Canyon. During the peak runoff in summer, nearly 459 cubic feet (140 cubic m) of water tumble down into the great Gullfossgjúfur Canyon every second. So expect to get drenched by the fall's powerful spray if you dare to come closer.


The second favorite one is the magnificent Dettifoss, nestled in Vatnajökull National Park, North Iceland. It makes up a part of another famous route called Diamond Circle. The waterfall has a drop of 150 feet (45 m) and a width of 330 feet (100 m). But what really makes it special is the head-spinning 6,186 cubic feet (193 cubic m) of water surging down into Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon every second. Such a tremendous water discharge makes Dettifoss the largest waterfall in Iceland and the most powerful one in Europe.


Skógafoss is another must-see waterfall on these lands of barren beauty. Renowned among Iceland's biggest waterfalls, Skógafoss drapes 197 feet (60 m) long and 82 feet (25 m) wide into the Skógá River. The mighty waterfall is incorporated in most South Coast tours, but you can also rent a car and easily access this impressive site by the Ring Road.


Seljalandsfoss closes out the list of top waterfalls in Iceland, being one of the most photographed sights on the island, for it allows you to walk behind the silken cascades and take fantastic shots. Seljalandsfoss plummets 200 feet (60 m) down into the Seljalandsá River. Just like Skógafoss, it's one of the South Coast tours' highlights and can be reached by the Ring Road.

Note that the most famous waterfalls in Iceland tend to draw heavy crowds, especially during the peak of the summer season. So don't hesitate to go off the beaten track and explore less-known and more secluded locations. Or pick shoulder and low seasons, when the country sees fewer travelers.

Practical info

When is the peak season for visiting waterfalls in Iceland?

The best time to visit waterfalls in Iceland is from late May to early September, during the warmer months. Visitors will get access to a range of hiking trails, impressive vantage points, and experienced larger volumes of water, which is perfect for the utmost experience. Tourists traveling during June or July may be able to witness and experience Iceland's 'Midnight Sun', making the trip even more unique and worth remembering. Show more

Which waterfall is a must-see on the Golden Circle?

When you go on the Golden Circle route, you won't want to miss the magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall. This iconic waterfall is called the 'Golden Falls,' I manger that it splits into two cascades and drops dramatically at 105 feet down the Hvítá River Canyon. The area is popular for tourists and is the most visited attraction in Southwest Iceland. During peak in the summer, the waterfall holds approximately 459 cubic feet of water, which makes for an awe-inspiring sight. Show more

What are the unique features of Dettifoss compared to other waterfalls?

Tucked away in Vatnajökull National Park in North Iceland, Dettifoss is not only Iceland's biggest waterfall, but it is also the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Surprising to note, the waterfall has a fall of 150 feet, which stretches to a 330 feet width. What sets it apart from other waterfalls are its exceptional features- it has a breathtaking 6,186 cubic feet of water flowing and surging down into Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon per second. Show more

Is it possible to walk behind Seljalandsfoss?

Seljalandsfoss is one of the most well-known spots in Iceland, and it is definitely worth visiting. Located just off the Ring Road, tourists are welcomed to this magnificent 200-foot waterfall that pours into the Seljalandsá River. It is indeed possible to walk behind Seljalandsfoss, which is both thrilling and breathtaking. It is recommended that visitors wear waterproof clothing because the area can be slippery and wet. Show more

What can be done to avoid crowds at Iceland's famous waterfalls?

Beat heavy tourist crowds by visiting Iceland's famous waterfalls in the shoulder and low seasons. Summer travel often brings larger crowds, and consequently, greater foot traffic. Tourists may alternatively explore off-the-beaten-path destinations to avoid the crowds and get a more unique and personalized Icelandic travel experience that includes exploring the natural beauty of Iceland's hidden gems that are less frequented. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin