Iceland has some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and no self-respecting road-tripper should pass up the chance to see a few of them. The good news is that many of the country’s best are easily accessible by road. Here are our picks for the top seven waterfalls in Iceland and how to visit them by car.
Located beside the ring road overlooking Iceland’s scenic south coast, this impressive waterfall is a stunner, not least for the single or double rainbow that often forms across it. Though you can see it as you drive by, you’ll want to pull off and park up to take a closer look. Make time to climb the steps beside it to take advantage of the breathtaking views.
Another ring road beauty, this too lies within sight of Route 1. Park up and follow the short trail which snakes up to the waterfall and leads you behind it. As you peer through the curtain of water to the countryside below, you’ll feel the spray on your face. Before you climb back into the car, take a stroll to neighbouring Gljúfurárfoss, tucked out of sight behind a cleft in the rock.
Even if you only have the car for one day, point it in the direction of the Golden Circle and visit Gullfoss. Whether you pick up the 35 or the 36 from the ring road, it will take you about two hours to reach this powerful waterfall, but every minute of driving is worth it. Gullfoss forms where the Hvítá River plunges into a deep gorge, its swirling water laden with sediment.
You’ll find Europe’s most powerful waterfall in the north of Iceland. It’s accessible from both sides; pick which one you wish to start from and follow the 862 or the 864 accordingly. Most visitors say that the west side has the wow factor, though the panoramic views from the east bank are just as impressive. Drive to both and decide for yourself.
This delightful waterfall is located in North Iceland right beside the ring road. If Dettifoss’ churned up water was the beast, then this is surely the beauty. Follow the trail along the rim of the river canyon and take in the view. In summer, it’s dazzling under a cloudless sky but it’s even better in winter when the cold temperatures create dripping icicles across its cascade.
The twin waterfalls of Kirkjufellsfoss are tiny in comparison to some of those we’ve featured here, but size isn’t everything. They form the foreground interest to Iceland’s most photographed mountain, Kirkjufell, and if you’re lucky to snap the Northern Lights dancing overhead, it doesn’t get any better than this. To see what we mean, head north from Reykjavik and pick up the 54 to follow the north coast of the scenic Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Of the seven waterfalls we shortlisted, this one involves the most walking, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Travel along the south coast on the ring road until you reach the car park at Skaftafell. Continue uphill on foot until you reach a horseshoe-shaped cliff of basalt columns. Svartifoss, or Black Falls, is the magnificent 20-metre long column of water that drops right down into the middle of it.
Ready for your Iceland waterfalls self-drive road trip? Book your cheap car in Iceland today before it’s too late!