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top 10 Icelandic Waterfalls you must visit when touring the golden ring road

Iceland is one of the most beautiful places to visit when it comes to waterfalls, it's climate and location is especially suited for waterfalls due to frequent rain and snow fall, combined with the many glaciers that melt during the summer; you can find over 10,000 waterfalls in the entire country. In this article we will be listing some of the most iconic waterfalls that can be reached by car or by tour bus; some are just a day field trip from the country capital Reykjavík. Most of these locations offer beautiful hiking, wonderful photography opportunities whether capture during the day or at night with the auroras during the winter months.

The beautiful blue Bruarfoss Waterfall, hidden away in the Western Icelandic countryside. Brúarfoss translates to ‘Bridge Falls’, This waterfall is relatively small when compared to many of other Icelandic counterparts (With peaks of less than 3 meters tall).  However, what it lacks in size it makes up with its icy blue rapid waters. Brúarfoss is roughly one hour and twenty minutes east of Reykjavik. with a good 25 minute walk to reach the waterfall from the main road. Labelled as ‘Iceland’s Bluest Waterfall, it is one of Iceland’s hidden gems. 

Bruarfoss Waterfall, the icy blue waterfall of Iceland, discover iceland's most beautiful gem
Bruarfoss Waterfall, the icy blue waterfall of Iceland

Kirkjufell is located at the North Coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland. It's located about 115 miles away from Iceland's capital Reykjavík, 65 miles away from the city of Borgarnes and 235 miles away from Akureyri.

Kirkjufell is about 2 and 1/2 hours drive form Reykjavik, making it an easy day trip visit. This iconic mountain is knonw as the church mountain due to its conic shape. Kirkjufell is made up from different types of lava and rock. due to the tv series game of thrones, Kirkjufell is one of Iceland's most popular photography locations

Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, Iceland, river Kirkjufellsá,North Coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula
Kirkjufell mountain, Kirkjufellsfoss

Gullfoss ( the Golden Falls ) one of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls, is found in the Hvítá river canyon in the south-west of Iceland. The Hvítá river travels from the Langjökull glacier, and cascades 105 feet (32 meters) down Gullfoss’ two separate falls, in to the Gullfossgjúfur canyon, in a striking example of nature’s mighty power. This stunning scenic site is one of the most visited by tourist as it is right on the Golden Circle sightseeing route. It offers a very organized pathway that will take you through the many different lookouts and vantage points for great photo opportunities,

Gullfoss ( the Golden Falls ) during the winter months
Gullfoss ( the Golden Falls )

Seljalandsfoss, is one of Iceland most notorious waterfalls, located in the South Coast of Iceland, this stunning natural beauty drops around 65 meters into a pool below. Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland'd most famous landmarks, due to the fact that the waterfall can be seen from a 360 degree view thanks to a hidden path that leads you behind the waterfall, giving you a chance to experience its magnificent drop.

It is fantastic walking behind Seljalandsfoss, as it creates excellent photo ops, however, a raincoat is a must as you will get soaking wet from the water drizzle.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is located on the South Coast, about 74,5 miles from Reykjavík.

Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss Located in the eastern region of Iceland just outside of Egilsstaðir you can find these set of majestic waterfalls. Both are unique with incredible geological formations with magnificent vertical basalt columns, several meters in length. these formations where created following an eruption, the hardened lava rock takes a significant time to cool and as a result, these hexagonal structures form perpendicular to the cooling surface. Because of these formations, thousands of tourists travel to vist these waterfalls every year. the hike to see these wonders begins near a bridge across the Lagarfljót River and climbs approximately 850 feet over 1.8 miles along the Hengifossá River to one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland.

Hengifoss is the third highest waterfall in Iceland, at 128 meters. Surrounded by basaltic strata with red layers of clay between the basaltic layers.

incredible geological formations Iceland
incredible geological formations Iceland

Skógafoss, It is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland having a drop of 62 meters and a width of 25 meters. Powerful, beautiful with so many photo ops, makes Skógafoss one of the most popular and visited waterfalls in Iceland. The mist from water falling into the pool below is sometimes overwhelming, so you need to prepare to get wet if you want to get close. There are some 370 steps on the side of the waterfall that will take you up to the observation platform to the right above Skógafoss. From the platform you can see an upstream portion of the Skógá river which has many more smaller waterfalls. You get a wonderful vantage point of this great and beautiful waterfall seeing both below and above.

 waterfall situated on the Skoga River in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline.
Skógafoss telephoto capture

Goðafoss, nicknamed the waterfall of the gods, is located in the North East part of Iceland Ring Road, this makes it one of the the most visited waterfalls. The large, horse-shoe shaped fall, it has a 39 feet drop, and 100 feet in width. Goðafoss is a very photogenic waterfall and has two distinguishable viewing areas, one on each side of the falls. to get to these vantage points you need a few minutes drive, the viewing areas are right next to the parking lots, thus, visiting both viewing areas is quite easy

Goðafoss, waterfall of the gods
Goðafoss, waterfall of the gods

Svartifoss or the “Black Falls”, is renown for plunging over a vertical black wall of basalt columns, hence its name. The waterfall is fed from the Vatna Glacier water, To get to this waterfall the hike is about a mile from the Visitor center, the hike is uphill, and will take around 90 minutes roundtrip. On the way to Svartifoss, you will come across other waterfalls and makes this a wonderful photographic hike.

Svartifoss or the “Black Falls”
Svartifoss or the “Black Falls”

Dettifoss waterfall, thought to be the second most powerful waterfall in Europe after the Rhine Falls in Switzerland. Dettifoss is found in Vatnajökull National Park in the Northeast of Iceland. Measuring 144 ft or 45 meters high and 100 meters wide, Dettifoss is a majestic site with wonderful trails that can get you very close to the waterfall and allows you to experience its mighty power. There’s a great vantage point view platform, (looks down to the fall and is not suited for long exposure photography) it overlooks the fall and the countryside. The platform is extremely wet due to the mist created by the waterfall, so wearing a raincoat is suggested.

About the authors

Raul Marin and Andres Moline are Both professional photographers of Boreal Expedition. All photographs in the article where taken while visiting the locations; all of our content is based on our own first hand travel experience and all of the photographs are property of Boreal Expedition

#travel #Iceland #waterfalls #goldenringroad #Seljalandsfoss #Gullfoss #Goðafoss #Svartifoss #Skogafoss #Hengifoss #Dettifoss

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