Glaciers, inclement weather and the mother of Mid-Atlantic Ridge locations combine to give Iceland the most extraordinary and wonderful collection of waterfalls. Their near-Arctic location and wild, desolate top-of-the world isolation only serves to make them all the more impressive.
Even though they vary in size, shape and power it is difficult to determine which of the country’s cascading cataracts is the most jaw-dropping. Suffice to say any of the biggest top ten, or more, will blow your mind. Even standing at a safe distance you are guaranteed to feel the full force of their rib-thumping power and curtains of silky spray.
I had done my homework, I knew what to expect, but I was instantly spellbound. Photographs, guide books and internet chat rooms do these waterfalls little justice. You simply have to get face to face with Iceland’s army of grand standing water features to really appreciate their sheer majesty.
Magnificent, primal and scary, all at the same time.
So while acknowledging this week’s World Water Day (22 March) I thought I’d celebrate the abundance of water in a region that suffers from many other extremes.
This list is my ‘Top 10 Icelandic Waterfalls’. I have set them out in order of travel experiences, as you drive anti-clockwise around the country. I hope my photos give you a glimpse into their lost-world locations, sheer size and raw, natural beauty:
Ready and waiting…
1. Gullfoss – in the Hvítá canyon in the south west, with two drops over a height of 32m.
2. Seljalandsfoss – in the South Region off Route 1, with a drop of over 60m.
3. Skógafoss – facing the southern ocean on the Skógá River, with a drop of 60m.
4. Dettifoss – Europe’s most powerful waterfall, located in the heart of the north eastern region.
5. Urridafoss with a drop of over 44m.
6. Goðafoss – in the north-central region of Bárðardalur, with a drop of 12m.
7. Dynjandi – in Westfjords (Vestfirðir) with two drops over 100m.
8. Hornstrandir Peninsula – with distant array of southern waterfalls.
9. Vatnajökull Glacier – countless glacier falls, off any direction, around every corner.
10. Every other countless waterfall that you can find almost anywhere you go. Tumbling off mountains, escarpments, cliffs, canyons, gullies and Hobbitesque hinterlands.