In a location as breathtaking as Iceland, it would be difficult to not be able to capture more than a few gorgeous pictures. Iceland is notorious for its abundance of waterfalls that plummet into grassy meadows, spill into deep crevasses, or require a long drive or hike inland to see them. With vibrant mountains, glaciers, and maybe even an aurora in the background, you’ll have a wide range of landscape photography options to choose from that feature waterfalls in Iceland.
Here are 10 waterfalls to photograph while exploring the beautiful country of Iceland.
Located in Southern Iceland, Gullfoss spans the entire width of the Hvita River and is a popular spot to visit for tourists. The waterfall has two distinct drops, with one of them flowing directly into a gorge, giving the illusion of the water plunging into an abyss. This makes the falls appear much higher than its actual 105 feet. The word Gollfoss means “golden falls” because the water shows off a golden hue when the sunlight beams onto it. This is caused by the glacial sediment in the water from Langjokull Glacier.
A few miles inland from the southern shores of Iceland sits the town of Skogar. This place is surrounded by many scenic views, but the most stunning attraction is Skogafoss. This impressive waterfall is part of the Skoga River and if you’re able to visit on a sunny day, you will have a chance to see the vibrant rainbows that Skogafoss’s spray gives off. There is also a trail that will lead you to the top of the falls where you can keep exploring and discover more scenes that are sure to take your breath away.
Haifoss sits in the Porardalur Valley and is one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls. The drive out to the falls makes you feel as if you’ve landed on Mars, so keep in mind that it might be wise to have a 4WD vehicle to access this location. Haifoss is situated near Hekla (volcano) and is fed by the Fossa River. There’s a secondary waterfall next to Haifoss named Granni, and viewing this pair side-by-side will make for an extraordinary sight. If you’d like a great hike while visiting Haifoss, you can follow the river to the top of the falls where you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the valley.
Gljufrafoss is a small waterfall that flows into a narrow canyon in southern Iceland. Although the waterfall is hard to see because of the cliff rocks, you can follow a trail that will take you into the canyon and to the small pool that the water plummets into. Looking upwards, you’ll have a beautiful view of the mossy, green walls and golden sunlight on the falls.
This waterfall has a trail that’ll lead you behind it, so be prepared to get a little wet while visiting this beauty. Seljalandsfoss cascades into a picturesque meadow and during the summer season, you can see numerous wildflowers that are kept vibrant from the fall’s mist.
Located in Vatnajokull National Park in the Eastern region of the island is Svartifoss Falls. Reaching this spot is quite the contrast after driving through the black lava sand plains of Skeidara. The waterfall looks exquisite against its backdrop of dark gray columnar basalt formations and is surrounded by a vibrant green meadow. It’s an easy hike down to the base of Svartifoss where you’re able to get close views of the water flow.
Located in Western Iceland is Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls that flow over a lava field. A volcano erupted under the glacier, Langjokull, forming rivulets that pour water into Hvita River. This location is unique given that it’s a long wall of flowing water over mossy lava and into the contrasting florescent turquoise river.
At around 420 feet high, Hengifoss is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland. It flows down from a plateau and into a stunning gorge. There is a colorful rock face, showing different layers of volcanic eruptions, that creates the backdrop for this waterfall. If you hike into the gorge, you’ll see the aftermath of collapsed sandstone giving off earth-toned hues against the crystal-clear water.
This is a small and quaint waterfall located at the base of Mt. Kirkkjufell. Kirkjufellsfoss Falls has a couple of levels to it and is divided by three different spouts. It streams into a pristine lagoon along the shore of the ocean and if you’re visiting during the winter months, you may be lucky enough to capture it during the Northern Lights.
Aldeyjarfoss flows through a narrow passage and into a wide basin. While the waterfall itself is not as dramatic as others, the surrounding landscape is unique and rugged. With an amphitheater of basalt columns, the falls are surrounded by different shapes and layers of old lava rock formed by volcanic eruptions. The water from the Aldeyjarfoss is fueled from the Vatnajokull glacier and creates a milky blue color in the pool below it.