Iceland is famed for its geothermal activity, hot springs and glaciers, however it’s Iceland’s waterfalls that always seem to capture my attention every time I visit. My 3 favourite waterfalls are freezing cold all year round as they are formed by glacial melt water which does not receive any geothermal heating but however cold the water may be, the sight of these falls continually warms my heart and makes my feet very itchy. I always want to go back there.
Of course, there are other impressive waterfalls in Iceland such as the most powerful cascade in Europe, Dettifoss and the hexagonal basalt column amphitheatre of Svartifoss but my favourite three have been chosen so because I had some of the best lighting conditions a landscape photographer can hope for.
My three favourite waterfalls are all in close proximity to Iceland’s capital Reykjavik and should be high up on your bucket list if you’re planning on doing am Icelandic road trip, so without further ado here are my choices:
Only around an hours drive south east from Reykjavik, Seljalandsfoss is the first major waterfall you’ll come to if you’re planning on driving counter clockwise on the ring road. Seljalandsfoss is around 60m high and is the final hurrah of the Seljalands river on its journey to the Atlantic Ocean. Its life started over twenty kilometres away on the Eyjafjalljökull Glacier.
It features in Justin Biebers music video “I’ll Show You”
Kirkjufellfoss is situated under Kirkjufell, which in Icelandic means Church Mountain. If you haven’t guessed already Foss in Icelandic means waterfall, thus making kirkjufellfoss Church Mountain Waterfall. Although you can’t see it in all of these photos, my three favourite waterfalls are less than a minutes walk from the nearest road.
It’s located on the Snæsfellsnes Peninsula which is a few hours north west of Reykjavik. Kirkjufellfoss, at under ten metres, is not particularly impressive in terms of power but what it lacks in the potential energy department it’s more than makes up for it in the photogenic department. It’s not only one of the prettiest waterfalls in Iceland but one of the most photographed in the world.
It’s starred in seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones and in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Skogafoss is only a short 15 minute drive away from Seljalandsfoss and is the final drop of the Skoga River. At its precipice, it’s 15m wide and similarly to its neighbour it’s also roughly 60m tall. Legend has it that a Viking settler hid his chest of jewels behind the waterfall in a secret cave. It was then forgotten about for many centuries until Icelandic locals found the treasure and were deciding on what they’ll spend their new riches on, but upon grasping one of the ringed handles, the chest disappeared only leaving the handle behind. The handle is now in Skogar Mueseum.
Skogafoss has featured in the incredible movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Marvel’s masterpiece Thor: The Dark World.
Iceland is one of the best countries in the world to road trip around and these 3 waterfalls are all easily accessible from the side of the road.
There’s also plenty of other amazing places around Iceland to photograph, including the famous Diamond Beach and Landmannalauger, a region famous for incredible hiking.
Have you been to any of these falls? Or which one’s are your favourite? Tell me everything in the comments.
I am Marta Kulesza – the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I’ve been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.