Iceland is the 18th largest island in the world, and volcanic eruptions are still adding to Iceland’s substance and geology. The island’s volcanic past has created some amazing structures that provide the ideal setting for spectacular waterfalls. Water spills from old lava flows, shoots out of restricted canyons and splashes down over fallen rocks. For some people, waterfalls are the only reason to visit the country.
Icelandic waterfalls are one of the top attractions of the country, and many are easy to reach in a day trip from Reykjavik. Closest to the city is Trollafoss, a small falls, the top of which can be reached by following a short, rough walking path from the road. The base is somewhat more difficult to access and you may want to skip the steep trail down the side of the hill. The falls are well marked by signposts and easy to find.
A bit farther out, Thorufoss is a much more satisfying viewing experience, although less well signed and thus, more difficult to find. The river Laxa I Kjos is also quite picturesque, giving you even more reasons to make the journey out to see the falls. The river is home to numerous salmon and a temporary standing place for salmon fishermen.
Northwest of Thingvellir, Sjavarfoss is a small falls on the way to Glymur. The falls sit within an historic region, descriptions of which are currently only available in Icelandic.
Nearby Faxi, also known as Vatnsleysufoss, is usually included in the Golden Circle because of its proximity to Gullfoss. The falls are wide, shallow, and easily reached from the parking area.
Continuing east along the southern Ring Road brings several more waterfalls, the first of which is Seljalandsfoss. This is a popular tourist destination with plenty of parking for the buses. Seljalandsfoss drops over an overhang, leaving the area behind it open and accessible. A well-maintained trail makes a loop behind the falls and back out on the other side. A footbridge crosses the river to return to the parking area.
This is also the region for Iceland’s newly proclaimed “tallest waterfall”. As the Morsarjokull glacier receded, it left behind a number of falls. Morsarfoss, which has been visible since 2007 recently was measured at 227 m, towering over Glymur by 29 m. The falls are extremely difficult to reach and require dedicated hiking. This is not something to be attempted by the average, unprepared visitor.
In the north
The western peninsulas
The region of Vesterland has several waterfalls you can visit in succession. Grundarfoss, Kirkjufellsfoss and Bjarnafoss are all just off route 54, which loops around the peninsula. Rjukandi and Baejarfoss are slightly more difficult to reach. You can continue slowly along route 574 to get to them. Klukkofoss is much farther down a very rough road that requires slow, careful driving.
The westernmost peninsula of Iceland has a few named waterfalls that would take quite a bit of effort to reach from Reykjavik. Djupavikurfoss drops over a cliff and into the sea near the very isolated town of Djupavik. There is a convenient hotel here for the visitor who wants to spend some time in the area. Even more difficult to reach is Dynjandi, also known as Fjallfoss. You may want to visit this region by taking a ferry from Baldur, but it will still require quite a bit of driving over difficult roads.