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 can't get bored exploring them. People often wonder why Iceland has that numerous falls, and the reason is the North Atlantic clime combined with Arctic location. The former brings frequent rain and snow, whereas the latter results in large glaciers which melt and feed the rivers in 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, in warmer months, you have access to a wider range of viewpoints 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 in two cascades, the waterfall thunders 105 feet (32 m) down the Hvítá River Canyon, which originated by the glacial outbursts in the last age, as geologists say. 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 is 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 high 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.
Which is largest waterfall in Iceland?
Dettifoss waterfall is the most powerful one with 6,186 cubic feet (193 cubic m) of water surging down into Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon every second.
How many waterfalls are in Iceland?
Why are there so many waterfalls in Iceland?
Due to North Atlantic climate, Iceland has frequent rain and snow, and due to its Arctic location, it boasts large glaciers which feed the rivers in summer.
Can you swim in Iceland waterfalls?
You can bathe in many waterfalls across Iceland.