The 11 most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland

Here you can find the waterfalls that impressed us the most on our trip around Iceland.

11. Faxi

Faxi is a waterfall on the Tungufljót river. It is 7 meters high and 80 meters wide and has been described as the smaller sister of Gulfoss.

To access Faxi you have to pay 700 ISK (€5). If you eat in the restaurant and spend at least 2,000 ISK, they discount the 700 of the entrance fee.

How to get there: Faxi is located 104km from Reykjavik.

10. Öxarárfoss

Öxarárfoss is a small waterfall about 14 meters high. Of course, it does not impress due to its size, but the setting in which it is located is really beautiful.

The Icelandic writer Björn Th. Björnsson wrote:

“Although Öxarárfoss is not large in size, it is peculiarly beautiful and has a lot to do with it. It falls from a smooth edge and is reasonably wide to give it particularly graceful proportions. The boulders are below, but not covering, creating a lot of spray. But this is how the sun behaves here, in the last part of the day it stands obliquely along the gap and shines on the waterfall, so rare to see. The surroundings created by the crack hammers do not in the least enhance the beauty, whether the waterfall is in light mode in summer or in icy bands in winter.”

How to get there: Öxarárfoss is located 52km from Reykjavik.

09. Goðafoss

Goðafoss Waterfall is located on the Skjálfandafljót River, the fourth largest river in Iceland. It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country, falling from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters.

The name Goðafoss means waterfall of the gods or waterfall of the ‘goði’ (priest) and comes from a fascinating story:

When Iceland was established between the 9th and 10th centuries, the majority of the population were Norwegian descendants who followed the Old Norse religion and worshiped deities such as Thor, Odin, Loki and Freya.

In 930, after establishing the Commonwealth, the pressure for its Christianization began. Around the year 1000, Norway threatens an invasion if they continue to maintain their pagan religion. This is discussed in Þingvellir where Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði, the priest Ásatrú (or goði) and spokesman for the law, is given the responsibility of making the decision.

He spends a day and a night reflecting and praying to the gods for the right decision. He finally communicates that, for the people’s sake, Christianity would be the official religion, but pagans could practice the Norse religion in private.

To symbolize his decision, he returned to his home in northern Iceland and cast idols of the old gods into a beautiful waterfall. Since then, it would be known as Goðafoss.

How to get there: Goðafoss is located 422km from Reykjavik and 34km from Akureyri.

08. Skógafoss

Skógafoss is located in the course of the Skógá river and has a height of 60 meters and a width of 25.

According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, hid a treasure in a cavern behind the waterfall.

From one side of the waterfall there are some stairs with a few steps: 400! Here we find a platform to see the waterfall from above. There are also spectacular views of the entire area.

On the eastern side of the waterfall, a hiking trail leads to the Fimmvörðuháls pass between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers. Then it goes down to Þórsmörk on the other side and continues like the famous Laugavegur to Landmannalaugar.

How to get there: Skógafoss is located 156km from Reykjavik.

07. Svöðufoss

Svöðufoss is a beautiful 10-meter-high waterfall that pours between basalt columns into the Hólmkelsá River.

The setting in which it is located is truly spectacular, with the watchful summit of the Snæfellsjökull volcano with its glaciers.

Snæfellsjökull is a stratovolcano 700,000 years old and 1,446 meters high. The mountain is actually called ‘Snæfell’ (Snow Mountain), although ‘jökull’ (Glacier) is often added to help distinguish it from other mountains of the same name.

In August 2012, it ran out of snow for the first time in its history. Fact that generated concern among the locals that climate change threatens the nature of the mountain.

How to get there: Svöðufoss is located 200km from Reykjavik and 43km from Arnarstapi.

06. Dynjandi

Dynjandi is the largest waterfall in the Westfjords. It is located near the bay of Dynjandisvogur and the fjord Arnarfjörður.

Dynjandi is known as the “Bridal Veil” for its resemblance to this garment. It has a 100-meter drop and is 30 meters wide at the top and 60 at the base.

The walk from the car park to Dynjandi is approx 200m uphill with some steps.

How to get there: Dynjandi is located 361km from Reykjavik and 59km from Ísafjörður.

05. Dettifoss

Located in the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park, it is a spectacular waterfall 100 meters wide and 44 meters down. With a flow of between 200 and 500 m³ per second, it is the mightiest waterfall in all of Europe.

Nearby is the Selfoss waterfall. Smaller than its neighbour, it is a beautiful waterfall that flows wide down the basalt columns that surround the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river.

How to get there: Dettifoss is located 520km from Reykjavik, 133km from Akureyri and 161 from Egilsstaðir.

04. Gullfoss

Gullfoss (Icelandic for Golden Waterfall) is the most famous waterfall in Iceland. Nestled in the Hvitá river canyon, it has two waterfalls, one 11 meters and the other 21. In total there are 32 meters of fall and a flow of between 80 and 140 cubic meters of water per second.

Next to the stairs that go up to the visitor center we find a small monument dedicated to Sigríður Tómasdóttir. She was an Icelandic environmentalist whose activism helped preserve the Gullfoss waterfalls, protecting them from industrialization. She is considered Iceland’s first ecologist.

A piece of advice: take a raincoat with you because if you go near the waterfall you will end up soaked.

How to get there: Gulfoss is located 116km from Reykjavik.

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03. Brúarárfoss

Brúarárfoss, a small but beautiful waterfall on the Brúarà river. It is neither the largest nor the mightiest in Iceland, but its turquoise waters are truly hypnotic.

From the car park you have to do a little trekking of about 3 km following the Brúarà river to reach the waterfall.

It is a relatively smooth path, although the day we were there it was extremely muddy and it was somewhat difficult to walk. In some sections it was literally impossible to walk and you had to go a little off the road.

Brúara River
Trail to Brúarárfoss

Brúarárfoss is not the only waterfall on the way. We are going to find two more. The first is Hlauptungufoss, approximately 1.5 km from the car park.

Here we can already appreciate the incredible turquoise color of the water from the melting of the glaciers.


A little further on we come across the second: Miðfoss. As its name indicates, it is the one in the middle…


And now yes. At about 800 meters we find the spectacular Brúarárfoss. Judge for yourself. Although I have to say that the photos do not do justice to the color of the water.


The truth is that it is well worth the walk and having gotten into the mud up to our ankles.

How to get there: The Brúarárfoss car park is located 91km from Reykjavik. From here you have to walk about 3 km along a very easy path.

02. Svartifoss

Svartifoss is a spectacular waterfall located to the south of the Vatnajökull glacier.

Svartifoss is one of the famous waterfalls in Iceland. It is not because of its height (20 m) or because of its flow. It is because of the spectacular setting in which it is located. It is surrounded by hexagonal basalt columns. These basalt columns have inspired Icelandic architects, such as the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík.

From the visitor center we must walk about 2 km to the waterfall. Shortly before halfway we come across Hundafoss, a 25 m high waterfall.

Its name is derived from the Icelandic word “hundur”, which means dog. The name comes from the fact that, during the flooding of the river, sometimes the dogs from the farms would float out of the waterfall.


How to get there: The Svartifoss car park is located 327km from Reykjavik, 141km from Vík í Mýrdal and 137km from Höfn. From the visitor center you have to walk about 2 km uphill

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01. Háifoss

Háifoss was theoretically the highest waterfall in Iceland. The Fossá River pours its waters here at no less than 122 meters high. Recent measurements indicate that Hengifoss is the highest waterfall on the island at 128 metres.

Next to Háifoss is another large waterfall called Granni. The whole set forms an authentic spectacle of nature.


How to get there: The Háifoss car park is located 140km from Reykjavik.

Here we leave a map with the situation of the waterfalls in Iceland:

Discover more about Iceland through our travel diary.