It’s true that glaciers and volcanoes abound. Yes, the coastline is teeming with bird cliffs and black sand beaches. And without a doubt, there are thermal springs galore. But no matter how you look at it, no natural wonder in Iceland matches the sheer variety and awesomeness of her waterfalls, many of which are easily accessible by car or bus from Reykjavik. For lovers of waterfalls, Iceland is the be-all and end-all of their very existence.
Fed by the Lángjökull glacier about 40km (24.9 miles) north of the cascades, Gullfoss is by far the most visited waterfall in all of Iceland, partly because of its inclusion as one of the major attractions on the Golden Circle Route along with Geysir and Thingvellir National Park, but mainly because of the WoW factor provided by two distinct cataracts dropping at a near-perfect 90-degree angle.
One of the most striking waterfalls is situated near the Ring Road along Iceland’s South Shore. Though it doesn’t rank high in terms of height or volume of water, it is considered by many locals to be one of the most romantic, and is in high demand as a backdrop for wedding photos. Unique to Seljalandsfoss is the small trail that takes you behind the falls.
From afar, the strict linearity of Skogafoss creates the illusion that it is standing erect – tall and proud – as opposed to barreling over the side of a cliff. It is only as you come nearer that the awesome force of the falling water begins to overtake you, and you begin to realize this is no ordinary waterfall. Highlights include a single or double rainbow visible on sunny days.
Bow down before the immense and almighty Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe. Gaping in awe is a common reaction to this magnificent feat of hydraulics brought to you by Mother Nature herself. The falls are 330 feet wide and drop 150 feet down to the canyon below. Does it get more spectacular than this? Yes, but only in Iceland.