Iceland is a landscape bejewelled with countless tumbling waterfalls, drawing millions of visitors to the country each year. But the real question is, which of these waterfalls is the reigning favourite?
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Okay, so there are countless waterfalls across Iceland and each unique and beautiful. Some, however, do hold a more cherished place in the hearts of visitors and locals alike. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some of the top picks for our poll below.
But before you make your decision, why not remind yourself of some necessary information regarding each of these spectacular features?
Golden Circle’s Waterfalls
Arguably, the most famous waterfall in the country is Gullfoss, just one-third of the famed Golden Circle sightseeing route, which also includes Þingvellir National Park and Haukadalur geothermal valley.
Gullfoss (translated to “Golden Falls”) drops a total of 32 metres over two cragged ‘steps’, culminating in a giant cloud of mist at the base of the canyon.
Öxarárfoss waterfall can be found in Þingvellir National Park, one of Iceland’s only UNESCO World Heritage sites. The waterfall tumbles over the lip of Almannagjá gorge, dropping into a shallow pool of glacial water and rocks.
Its name roughly translates to “Axe Waterfall”, a name derived from an ancient legend that tells of a warrior marking his territory by dropping an axe in a nearby shallow river. A photo of the waterfall by graphic designer David Carson was used as the cover for The Fragile, an album by Nine Inch Nails.
South Coast Waterfalls
Seljalandsfoss, standing at 60 metres high, tumbles from an ancient sea cliff and is one of the only waterfalls in Iceland where it is possible to enter a small cavern located just behind the cascading water.
Skógafoss also stands at 60 metres but boasts a much greater width. According to legends, a treasure chest hides in a cave behind the falls.
Waterfall of the Gods
Goðafoss (“Waterfall of the Gods”) is located on the fourth largest river in Iceland, Skjálfandafljót, in North Iceland. Goðafoss is part of the Diamond Circle sightseeing route, which also includes Lake Mývatn, Dettifoss waterfall and Ásbyrgi Canyon.
This feature played an essential part in Icelandic history; in 1000 AD, when Iceland converted from Norse Paganism to Christianity, Goðafoss served as the basin in which the chieftains threw their former religious idols.
The Prometheus Waterfall
Another of the country’s most beloved natural attractions is Dettifoss.
Dettifoss is Europe’s most powerful waterfall, sporting the highest flow rate of all of them.
Thanks to the dystopian aesthetic of its surrounding scenery, Dettifoss was used as a location for Ridley Scott’s science fiction epic, Prometheus (2012).
Westfjord’s Most Famous Falls
Built like a layered cake, Dynjandi (“Thunderous”) is the iconic series of waterfalls found in the Westfjords. Otherwise known as Fjallfoss or its nickname, ‘the Jewel of the Westfjords’, Dynjandi tumbles a total of 100 metres, making it beloved by photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.
The Tall Waterfall
Háifoss is one of Iceland’s lesser-visited waterfalls, but also one its most striking, with a tumbling cascade of 122 metres dropping into a two-million-year-old cliff face. Unlike other waterfalls on our list, Háifoss comes in a pair, with Granni (or ‘neighbour’) found just beside it.
Háifoss was discovered by Dr. Helgi Pjetursson in the first decade of the 20th century. As the first Icelander to earn a PHD in geology, he wrote an article claiming that the waterfall was the highest not just in Iceland, but in Europe—this would later prove to be false, but there is still no denying the feature’s drama and beauty.
When you’ve made your decision on what is your favourite waterfall in Iceland, be sure to leave your answer in the polling box below.
If you chose “Other” in the above poll, make sure to leave the name of your favourite waterfall in the Facebook’s comment box below. If you’re hoping to visit one or more of Iceland’s waterfalls in the future, make sure to check out these amazing Waterfall Tours.