Iceland’s Waterfalls

Did you know there are about 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland??

When I traveled to Iceland last summer, I visited eight of them.  Iceland’s waterfalls do live up to their stunning reputation–many are more awe-inspiring than those in the U.S.  Below are photos and a bit of information about the eight I visited (in order that I liked them).

  1.  Godafoss

Godafoss Falls

Godafoss means “waterfall of the Gods”.  It’s 12 meters high and 30 meters wide. The best viewing of this waterfall is on the left side.  You can see the entire waterfall unobstructed, and there are stairs that take you to the foot of the waterfall.

2.  Guilfoss

Guilfoss Falls (3)

Guilfoss means the “Golden Falls”. Guilfoss is in the Golden Circle, near Geysir. It’s on a glacial river that originates at Langjökull glacier (which I toured). Water rushes 32 meters over two levels and a stunning rainbow spanned it on the day I visited.

3.  Detifoss

Dettifoss Falls (17)

Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall at 560 cubic meters per second of water and is 100 meters wide. Detti= to fall (so it’s called the “falling waterfall”).  This falls takes some effort to get to. You hike about 1 km over very rocky terrain and the overlook this photo was taken at was very wet due to the powerful spray. There is a steep path that brings you closer to the waterfall. The falls raged and sprayed, the roaring of the water was deafening and the mist from the spray clouded the falls. There was a nice rainbow over the falls though.

Dettifoss Falls

4.  Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar falls (5)

Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls over the span of about 1 km.  This waterfall emerges out from under the edge of a lava field (and thus means “lava falls”).

5.  Gonguleidir Falls

Gonguleidir Falls (28)

The Gonguleidir Falls was not necessarily high, but long (multiple falls) and raging. The falls is important as the source of an important salmon fishing river.

6.  Selfoss Falls

Selfuss Falls (8)

If you’re visiting Dettifoss, then you must also stop by Selfoss, which is about a 1 km walk away (again on rocky terrain). Like many waterfalls, this has multiple falls.  It’s shorter than Detifoss (10 meters) but much longer.

7.  Kirkjufell Falls

Kirkjufell Falls

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then this waterfall is for you.  Located across the road from Kirkujell Peak (also featured in GOT). Kirkjufell means “Little Stone Church” (Foss=waterfall.  Kirk =church.  Ju = little.  Fell = stone).  Kirkjufell is on the Snaelfellsnes Penninsula, well worth the drive itself.

8.  Barnafoss

Barnafoss (10)

If you’re visiting Hraunfossar, then a short walk away is Barnafoss, or the “Children’s Waterfall”.  So named because of a legend where two children wandered away from home on Christmas Day and disappeared. Their tracks led to the river.