Iceland is bursting with natural beauty, and one of our favorite things around Iceland were the waterfalls. During our first day in Reykjavik, whenever I would see a post card rack, I would pull all the coolest looking waterfalls and ask my friend, Emily, “Omg, can we go here.” She would google it and make sure it was on our road trip route. After seeing Svartifoss on multiple postcards, I insisted that we HAD to see that waterfall. I just knew it would be the best one (it was).
If you think about all the little waterfalls you would see on the sides of every mountain while we were driving, we probably saw hundreds of waterfalls in the course of a week, but here are my top five favorite waterfalls in Iceland:
5. Dettifoss Is apparently the largest waterfall in Iceland, in terms of volume of water. How they measure that, I don’t know, but it certainly did seem like there was a lot of water flowing over the edge. We happened on Dettifoss by accident, actually. Emily was on the search for Sellfoss, as if it were the holy grail of waterfalls, which happened to be right next to Dettifoss. We decided to check out Dettifoss, because why not, and I’m glad we did!
4. Skógafoss is another really beautiful waterfall. One of the largest in Iceland, although the pictures don’t really do it justice. You can climb stairs to the top of the waterfall, and see all the little gulls (sea gulls are cute in Iceland) flying around and sleeping on the edge of the cliff.
3. Selandjafoss was really unique. The water fell off of a ridge the protruded from the cliff, forming basically a cave behind the waterfall. You can walk behind the waterfall and see it from all angles. You will definitely get wet while seeing this waterfall though! Our rain jackets were always useful when visiting a waterfall.
also, a short walk from Selandjafoss there is another waterfall hidden inside a crevice. it is fun to try to climb back there a little bit.
2. Gulfoss is a Golden Circle Staple. visiting Gulfoss is fun, because you can sit right on top of the waterfall at the “staircase” section of it. Gulfoss is not only stunning, but also is mentioned in some of the ancient Icelandic sagas.
1. Svartifoss was definitely my favorite. It is within Skaftafell, a section of Vatnajökull National Park, so you have to do at least a short hike to see it. We arrived at the park at 8am to go check out Svartifoss, and there weren’t any other tourists, which surprised us. After a short hike we come over a ridge and saw the fall! We excitedly climbed down the hill to the fall. Once again, waking up early brought so much luck – there was no one else there! We had all of Svartifoss to ourselves. There was a rope that told hikers not to go past or approach the waterfall because the rocks were too slippery, but obviously we didn’t come all this way to be stopped by a rope, so we climbed over the rope and got as close as we wanted. I stood right next to the fall, and could feel the mist.
The rocks at Svartifoss are basalt columns. They are distinctly hexagonal, which is so interesting, and I have not seen anything like it before. The water weakens the rock and the columns eventually break off.