Iceland is one of the most naturally photogenic places on earth. Its many glaciers and active volcanoes give this unique country its nicknamed, “The Land of Fire and Ice.” However, “The Land of Waterfalls” would be just as fitting. Picking just ten photogenic waterfalls in Iceland was quite the challenge. After whittling my list down, these are the best of the best and my personal favorites.
As most visitors to Iceland start off in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, we will start our journey at the closest waterfall on the list. We will then make our way around the country anti-clockwise. At the bottom of this post, there’s a map with each waterfall’s location.
I’ve waited till the end to tell you which of these photogenic waterfalls is my favorite. What’s yours?
1) Glymur Waterfall
Iceland’s second highest waterfall, at 650 feet, is only an hour away from Reykjavík. However, it’s not the most easily accessible.
The round-trip hike to the top of Glymur only takes two – three hours, but it’s known for being perilous. Steep sections and frigid river crossings are often excused by the phenomenal views.
Admittedly, we totally cheated on this one. I got this shot from the helicopter tour Jeremy and I did. Promise, my feet were firmly on the ground for all the other Iceland waterfalls on this list.
2) Gullfoss Falls
Sitting pretty in Iceland’s Golden Circle, Gullfoss is Iceland’s most visited waterfall and probably its most famous. With several viewpoints, it’s easy to capture this photogenic beauty from many angles.
A little tip: You’ll notice most Iceland waterfalls have “foss” at the end. Foss is Icelandic for waterfall.
3) Háifoss & Granni Falls
Tucked down a very rough dirt road (332), most visitors to Iceland never get to see these beauties. And even more sadly, some visitors don’t realize there are two jaw-droppers on site.
On our walk from the parking lot, we met this lovely Australian couple. They told us how they saved for years to make this once in a lifetime trip to Iceland to celebrate their retirement. The four of us stood in front of Granni in awe on the right side of the canyon.
As Jeremy took out the drone, the couple waved good-bye as they headed back to the car park. Shortly after they left, we spotted the path around the cliff to the even more stunning Háifoss with Granni in the distance. To this day I still feel gutted for them.
4) Þjófafoss Waterfall & The Majestic Hekla
Sometimes the beauty of a waterfall is in it’s location, rather than the waterfall itself. This couldn’t be more true for Þjófafoss. I have no idea how to pronounce this one.
From one angle the majestic Mt. Hekla, one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. From the other angle, a gorgeous view of Mt. Burfell. Either way, this little waterfall is very photogenic.
5) Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
A popular waterfall on the tourist route, Seljalandsfoss is most known for its walking trail behind the falls. Spoiler alert: you will get wet. You’ll want rain gear for this close encounter.
A 10 minute walk from Seljalandsfoss, you’ll find a little pathway leading into a narrow canyon in the mountain. You can either try to teeter on the rocks in the stream, or bring a pair of waterproof shoe covers like we did, and just wade through. It dead ends at the powerful Gljufrabui waterfall. Another spoiler alert: you will get very wet.
6) Skógafoss Waterfall
About 30 minutes further east on Iceland’s ring road is Skógafoss. An extremely photogenic waterfall in its own right, but that’s not what I love most about this beautiful spot.
Skógafoss is the first waterfall on the Fimmvorduhals Trailhead. The 15.5 mile walk leads up to Thórsmörk Valley in the central south-west of Iceland. You may not have the time, energy or skill to do the full hike, but we recommend doing the first few miles.
As you follow the river, you’ll pass countless beautiful waterfalls. We managed about 4 miles before the weather turned nasty. The trail was too slippery with the gear we had so we turned around. Though we got soaked in cold rain, we had no regrets.
7) Gufu Waterfall
Located along the entrance to the lovely coastal town of Seyðisfjörður, Gufu waterfall sits just off the main road. It is easy to miss on the way down the mountain, so you may need to turn around to find it.
The surrounding landscape is what I loved most about this stop. Long spindly waterfalls cascaded from both sides of the fjord as the snow-covered caps of the mountains melted. Stunning!
8) Dettifoss Waterfall
Iceland’s most powerful waterfall feels like thunder as you stand next to it. Dettifoss is an impressive site, but also dizzying. With no safety rails, you can get great unobstructed views, but you can also get scarily close to the edge. Take great care in this area.
Along the same river system are two other impressive Iceland waterfalls, Selfoss and Hafragilsfoss. Give yourself plenty of time to explore all three.
9) Bjarnafoss Waterfall
Making our way back towards Reykjavík. One of my favorite areas of Iceland is the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Bjarnafoss is on the southern side of the peninsula, just off the main road. A trail from the parking lot provides various angles of the waterfall. The walk most of the way is easy. However, as you get closer, the trail gets steeper. Don’t worry, no matter where you stop, it’s a great view.
10) Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall
On the north side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula is Kirkjufellsfoss. Kirkjufellsfoss, the waterfall, isn’t really known outside of Iceland. However, the beautiful Kirkjufell, the mountain behind the falls, is famous for being “the mountain like an arrow head” north of the wall in Season 7 of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Many iconic scenes from the series were filmed in Iceland. As you make your way around, you’ll recognize several key locations, like the entrance to The Vale, and Jon and Ingrid’s love cave.
My Pick For Most Photogenic Iceland Waterfall & Map
Every waterfall on this list is spectacular, but Haifoss (#3) with gorgeous Granni in the background is my favorite waterfall in Iceland. We sat on the ledge across from the falls for at least an hour as we had lunch and enjoyed the once in a lifetime view.
I’m curious, what’s your favorite Iceland waterfall?