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Six Spectacular Iceland Waterfalls

Iceland is full of glacial rivers that produce countless spectacular Iceland waterfalls. Some pour out of cliff faces as you round the next bend on Route 1, Iceland’s Ring Road. Others can only be reached by a hike through Iceland’s wilds. Some are famous; others don’t even have names. Here is a collection of our favorite spectacular Iceland waterfalls and ones we think should be on your must see list when visiting Iceland:

Foss a Sidu

Foss a Sidu

Foss a Sidu

Located about 10 kilometers from Kirkjubaejarklaustur, South, Iceland, Foss á Síðu literally translates to “waterfall on the side”. Though not as dramatic as some of the other waterfalls on our list, we couldn’t help but notice this waterfall falling down from the cliffs above the tiny town of just a few houses.

Godafoss

Godafoss

Goðafoss

Located about 50km east of Akureyri in the North, Iceland’s most historic waterfall of course has a legend, like so many other things in Iceland. As the story goes, in the year 1000 a local chieftain Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði decided that Icelanders should adopt Christianity. He threw all of his statues of Pagan gods into the waterfall and the waterfall was appropriately named Goðafoss, which translates to the “waterfall of the gods”. (Read more about Goðafoss in winter.)

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

There are many taller and more powerful waterfalls in Iceland, but the special thing about Seljalandsfoss is that you can walk behind it! Dropping 60 meters, Seljalandsfoss is easily spotted from Route 1 on the way from Reykjavik to Vik and is a popular tourist attraction with tour buses reguarly stopping off.

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Located about 28 kilometers east of Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss spills over the cliffs of the former coastline. Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls with a width of 25 meters (82 feet) and a drop of 60 meters (200 feet). And of course, there is a legend. The first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure chest filled with gold coins in a cave behind Skógafossl. On days when the sun is shining, it is said that his gold can be seen glittering through the water. Many have tried to find the chest and once a young, local boy succeeded. He tied a rope to the chest’s ring and pulled. He was only able to retrieve the ring and the rest of the chest disappeared. The ring was later used for the church door at Skógar.

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss can be found on The Golden Circle, the 190 mile (300 kilometer) circular route from Reykjavik and back which encompasses many of Iceland’s most famous landmarks. With a 105-foot double-cascade and dozens of rainbows streaking across the misty skies on a sunny day, it’s no wonder Gullfoss is Iceland’s most popular waterfall. (Read more about Gullfoss and The Golden Circle.)

Glymur Waterfall

Glymur

Glymur

Our favorite waterfall, perhaps because it isn’t easy to reach like all the others on this list, is Glymur. Iceland’s highest waterfall cascades 196 meters down the deep gorge of the Botnsdalur valley. To see this stunning waterfall, you’ll have to lace up your hiking boots, though the hike to Glymur isn’t for the faint of heart. The hike climbs steeply up one side and crosses over (you’ll likely need to wade through) the icy waters of the Botnsá River. (Read more about the Glymur waterfall hike.)

Which of these spectacular Iceland waterfalls is your favorite?

This post is our contribution to Travel Photo Mondays by Travel Photo Discovery. Get more travel inspiration here.

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter who is based in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communications strategist and is an award-winning travel writer. She is also a travel correspondent on Traveling on the American Forces Radio Network. Jdomb's Travels was named one of the top travel blogs to watch by the Huffington Post and has been featured by top publications such as CNN, Buzzfeed , and The Telegraph. Her iPhoneograpy has also been featured on publications such as USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Google+

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26 comments

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  1. Thora Norman

    Some of my favorites are Hraunfossar, barnafossar and dynjandi, as well as gullfoss and skogarfoss.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Thanks, Thora! We’ll have to check those waterfalls out on our next visit to Iceland. There are just so many gorgeous waterfalls!

    [Reply]

  2. Breeanna Kidwell

    Nominated you for the Liebster Blogging Award! :)

    http://breeannahope.com/2013/03/08/an-award/

    [Reply]

  3. Leigh

    From the pictures I’d say Gulfoss is my favourite.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I think you’d love the hike to Glymur, Leigh. It was quite the challenge and no hordes of tourists since it is so remote.

    [Reply]

  4. Andrea

    Wow, they’re massive! Beautiful

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Incredibly beautiful! I wanted to include so many more unnamed waterfalls that we saw just driving around. Iceland really is stunning!

    [Reply]

  5. D.J. - The World of Deej

    Awesome shots…few things in nature are more beautiful than waterfalls, in my opinion…

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Agreed, Deej. And Iceland waterfalls are a feast for the eyes and ears!

    [Reply]

  6. Jackson

    So gorgeous and otherworldly it seems like sci fi, or theater. I was reading some years back that Canadian conductor Robert LePage based his then concept of Wagner’s Ring for the Met in NYC on such photos of Iceland. He reasoned that since the classic Norse myths which gave rise to the Ring were in fact Icelandic, perhaps the Icelandic landscape shaped and inspired our ancestors to devise such myths to explain the wonders. At the end of Das Rheingold, the gods walk across a rainbow bridge and ascend into Valhalla. That rainbow pic above seems to perfect set design for such a concept. Amazing photos and superb website. Very inspiring! But how do you travel so extensively with full time jobs? Do tell!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Thank you, Jackson! We actually wrote a post on our secrets to how we travel so much with full time jobs. There’s really no big secret – it just takes planning and maximizing our holidays and vacation time.

    [Reply]

  7. Ali

    I love waterfalls! These are so gorgeous. Between the northern lights and the waterfalls, Iceland is so high on my list. I especially like the photo with the rainbow.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    You’d really like Iceland. You could go in September or March when it’s not really cold yet and still possibly see Northern Lights.

    [Reply]

  8. Nicole @ GreenGlobalTravel

    These are amazing shots. I visited Iceland June last year and was blown away by the beauty of this country!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Iceland is incredible. It was so different than what I imagined before my first visit, but in a good way! Iceland is a place I would return again and again for its beauty.

    [Reply]

  9. Amy | Club Narwhal

    These waterfalls look incredible! I can’t wait to visit Iceland (top of the bucket list). PS: I found you through the Travel Photo Mondays linkup :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Hi Amy! Glad you found us – Noel hosts a great way to find new travel inspiration each week. :) Iceland is fantastic and we hope you get to visit soon.

    [Reply]

  10. noel

    those are amazing falls, I love the distance shots and the majestic one with the rainbow, gorgeous…we also have some beauties in Hawaii

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Thanks, Noel! I bet you do have some beautiful falls in Hawaii. I’d like to make it back there to explore more of the islands.

    [Reply]

  11. Cathy Sweeney

    How strange that I’ve never thought of waterfalls in Iceland, but of course there would be spectacular ones! Goðafoss is super dramatic, so that’s probably my favorite. But it’s very cool that Foss a Sidu is so close to the road.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I never thought of waterfalls in Iceland either before our first trip. I honestly didn’t know what to expect! I’d really never paid any attention to Iceland until the volcano reeked havoc on European air travel in 2010. But as soon as I arrived, I was just absolutely blown away by the spectacular scenery there.

    [Reply]

  12. Ruth Kelly

    Wow!

    [Reply]

  13. Anwar

    Wow those are some amazing waterfalls. Several of them look absolutely enormous as well!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Yes, Iceland has some of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Europe. Incredibly beautiful country.

    [Reply]

  14. Lili Florea

    Great photos :)

    [Reply]

  15. Marisol

    Oh my goodness, they’re all spectacular. Love the photo of Gulfoss with the rainbow — so magical! The hike to Glymur sounds a lot of fun; I think I’d go for that one.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    The awesome thing about Glymur is it isn’t seen by many tourists because It isn’t easily accessible. So beautiful there!

    [Reply]

  16. Marcia

    Spectacular! Love the rainbow on Gullfoss.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Yes, all truly beautiful! This is just one reason why Iceland is one of our very favorite countries!

    [Reply]

  17. Jdomb's Travels

    Thanks Lili! Have you been to Iceland?

    [Reply]

  18. Jdomb's Travels

    We definitely didn't expect so much beauty. Iceland is a must!

    [Reply]

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