There are a ton of popular waterfalls to see in Iceland. I took a two week road trip around the country and still didn’t get to see them all! Since many of us are pressed for time when we vacation, I narrowed my experience down to what people say are the top waterfalls in Iceland that you cannot miss. A majority of the waterfalls in the country are in the South, but there are numerous others spread around the country. My favorites are primarily in the South, so if you only have time to visit one area, the South is the way to go!
Gullfoss Waterfall – South Iceland
The Golden Circle is a route that most tourists take, looping from Reykjavik into central Iceland and back. On this route you will encounter Gullfoss Waterfall. Gullfoss which means “golden falls” is one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland. The water that runs down the waterfall is from Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjökull. There are also inactive geyser hot springs and one active one, Strokkur which erupts every 5-10 minutes nearby.
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – South Iceland
Right off of Route 1 on the Ring Road, with water dropping 200 feet off the top of a former coastline, I spotted it easily from the road. In the summer, you can go behind the waterfall for an even more stunning view. I went in the winter, so the area surrounding the waterfall was very icy and slippery which made it impossible to go fully behind it.
Goðafoss Waterfall – North-Central Iceland
Goðafoss is closely connected with one of the most important events in Icelandic history, the conversion to Christianity from the Norse religion by the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði around the year 999/1000. He was faced with the task of settling the growing disputes between Christians and those who worshiped the Norse gods. After he converted himself, he threw his statues of the Norse gods into the falls in a symbolic act of the conversion. This is how Goðafoss “Waterfall of the Gods” got its name.
Skógafoss Waterfall – South Iceland
This is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country, dropping 200 feet and spanning the width of 82 feet. Legend says that the first Vikings to settle in the area, buried a treasure chest in a cave behind the waterfall. Perhaps that is why there are constant rainbows over the waterfall, like they say, follow the rainbow! You may also recognize the waterfall from the movies Thor: A Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Can you guess which of the four waterfalls this is? 🙂