It’s not easy to put together a Top Best Iceland Waterfalls List because it’s completely subjective and limited to each person’s experience with the falls being named.
This list is based on our own personal experiences, which makes it different from most other lists you see in the internet.
And in the case of Iceland, we managed to experience so many of them on a single trip that it was only natural to go through the exercise of trying to find just 10 that we liked and rank them.
Indeed, it was still difficult to whittle down the countless superb Iceland Waterfalls to a list of only ten, which really says something about just how many there are in the country!
But despite our struggles, we managed to do it (albeit controversially).
So without further ado, here they are in reverse order…
Just barely making it onto this list, this waterfall was very popular probably because of its conspicuous location in Southern Iceland (so tour buses don’t miss it).
That said, this falls also featured some things that made it more than an ordinary tall waterfall; such as the ability to go behind it as well as its close proximity to other nice waterfalls such as the spooky Gljúfurárfoss.
We also happened to have shown up when lots of wildflowers were in bloom adding a little more color to the scene when our visits happened to be during gray weather.
If only the weather would have cooperated during sunset, we could very well have bumped this falls even higher on the list.
This popular wide river waterfall on the Skjálfandafljót played a role in Icelandic history.
During that time, the law speaker (named Þorgeir) for the alþing (assembly) in the year 1000 had to make a nontrivial decision whether to make Iceland Christian or not.
At a time when you either converted or faced death, the decision was made to make the country Christian and Þorgeir tossed his Norse deity idols into the waterfall.
Besides history, this waterfall also holds its own in scenic allure, which you can experience from both sides of the river and get up close.
It’s definitely a not-to-be-missed attraction.
There’s just something to be said about seeing Iceland’s tallest waterfall (196m) [or former tallest based on the discovery of a waterfall revealed by the recession of the Morsárjökull Glacier].
Sure it’s a bit out-of-the-way of the tourist routes and it’s not easy to get a good view (as we had to fight the butterflies in our stomachs to stand closer to the cliff’s edge for the best views).
But those who persevere are richly rewarded with some of the country’s rawest and most stunning scenery within a day trip from Reykjavík.
In addition to the falls, we even got to hike through a natural double arch, watch birds gracefully flying and diving before the falls, and look forward to stunning views of Hvalfjörður on the return hike.
Indeed, sometimes, it’s the whole experience that gives this waterfall the edge over others that had similar scenic ratings.
This is said to be Iceland’s 3rd highest waterfall at 118m, looming high above the powder-blue lake Lagarfljót near Egilsstaðir.
In addition to its size, its underlying cliffs had interesting red stripes suggesting a history of violent geological processes that gave rise to them.
Then, there was the atmospheric all uphill hike along a deep gorge where we were able to see Litlanesfoss, which was kind of a bonus waterfall framed by basalt columns in much the same way that Svartifoss featured its pronounced basalt columns.
Indeed, this worthwhile excursion gave us views, exercise, a geology lesson, and a reason to spend a little more time in the country’s east.
This relatively unknown waterfall really surprised Julie and I with its dramatic location as it made a cliff dive right into the sea.
We’re generally partial to such scenically-positioned waterfalls.
And when we were standing atop the cliffs on grass with blooming purple wildflowers and birds flying against the cold winds as if they were hovering next to us, it really felt like we were in a place where we were one with our surroundings.
It was just us and Nature as it’s supposed to be.
With such a powerful experience, we just had to make room on this list for this special waterfall.
Given how wild and remote the Westfjords are, this waterfall caught us by surprise and its unusual shape made it real memorable.
Its 100m cumulative drop actually falls in multiple stages (each with a name), and we were able to walk to each one of them as we’d eventually make it up to the base of the uppermost and highest tier, which was also its most spectacular part.
And as you can see from this photo, it’s also pretty photo-friendly, but that wasn’t all.
When we turned around and started heading back down, we suddenly saw an expansive panorama of the fjord before us as we stood at its head.
So given all of these things, Julie and I feel it was definitely worth going out of the way to see this one!
Said to be Iceland’s 2nd highest waterfall, we happened to see it accompanied by a companion waterfall called Glanni (Neighbor) that was comparable to its star neighbor.
Nestled within a deep and rugged gorge in the desolate Þjórsárdalur Valley, we happened to catch this waterfall on a beautiful sunny day when the rainbow accompanying it wowed us!
In fact, I swore that we probably caught sight of this waterfall under nearly perfect conditions, which further added to our overall impression of this place.
And while getting here required a bit of some rough unsealed driving, we saw that it was still doable by passenger cars with care.
The bottom line is that given the rewards that this waterfall yielded, the trouble it took to get here was well worth it!
The classic rectangular shape and accessibility made this waterfall an instant favorite.
In fact, it also happened to be Julie’s favorite waterfall among those that we visited during our trip to Iceland.
And she wasn’t alone as it was certainly one of the country’s most popular waterfalls given the nearly consistent foot traffic among people going to and from its base as it was very easy to access.
In addition to experiencing this waterfall from its misty base, we got commanding views from its precarious top.
I even took it one step further and went upstream from the falls where I encountered countless more waterfalls along the Skogá River.
This monster is said to be Europe’s most powerful waterfall.
The wild glacial meltwaters of Jökulsá á Fjöllum have carved the massive canyon Jökulsárgljúfur within which we were able to witness this 44m waterfall as well as three other big ones (Selfoss, Hafragilsfoss, and Rettárfoss).
And the power of this waterfall couldn’t be understated as we literally felt like the ground beneath us was trembling near the falls!
Indeed, we were both awestruck as well as fearful of the falls’ awesome might from both sides of the river, and its remoteness was fitting of the country’s raw beauty.
Easily Iceland’s most famous waterfall, this 32m waterfall plunges in two stages at nearly right angles to each other.
This unusual characteristic of the falls made it both unique and memorable, and from most of the vantage points, it really looked as if the Hvitá River plunged into an abyss.
We were fortunate to see this waterfall multiple times on our Iceland trip, and that included a partially sunny afternoon, where we saw arcing rainbows form in the wafting mist.
Due to its popularity, expect to share this waterfall with hordes of tourists as well as persistent midges.
We certainly did!
Looking for more of our favorites?
Below are a few more Top 10 lists of the waterfalls we’ve visited.