Iceland had been on our list of places to visit for as long as we could remember so when we finally got the opportunity to visit the Land of Fire and Ice, deciding where we wanted to visit on our road trip was a very tough decision. With dramatic scenery and unspoiled beauty, Iceland truly is one of the most stunning countries we have ever visited.
We visited volcanos, glaciers, geysers and black sand beaches but our favourite naturally occurring sites where the majestic waterfalls we found in the south of the island. Some of which we had planned to visit and some of which we found by chance. Therefore when visiting Iceland I implore you to ignore the famous words of TLC and actually DO go chasing waterfalls!
Seljalandsfoss is actually one of the most well-known waterfalls in Iceland, yet we came across it purely by accident. We hit the road from our lovely little log cabin in the Geyser area and intended to head straight to Vík. We were admiring the beautiful Icelandic scenery when we spotted it on the left-hand side of the road and just had to pull over and see it up close for ourselves.
It is located in the South Region in Iceland right off Route 1 (Ring Road) and certainly is a must see. The crashing water really mesmerised us and we found ourselves lost in its magic. The waterfall drops 60 m (197 ft) and is part of the Seljalands River which originates in the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Weather conditions permitting you can actually walk behind the waterfall through a small cave allowing you to see the waterfall right in front of you.
Unfortunately, we were unable to access the cave as we visited during the winter months when the spray from the waterfall had left the earth around it too slippery to make the journey. Therefore, we plan to return during the summer months to take full advantage of the amazing opportunity Seljalandsfoss offers its visitors.
The sheer size of Skógafoss draws you in from the second you see it. It has a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft) and is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland. Again located in the South Region in Iceland right off Route 1 (Ring Road) and on the road to Vík, visiting Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss in one day is very easy.
If you are feeling adventurous you can walk right up to Skógafoss but we highly recommend wearing waterproof clothing as the spray from the waterfall will leave you quite wet, especially the closer you get to it. Again, as we visited during the winter months the combination of the spray and the freezing temperatures left the area around the waterfall extremely slippery meaning we could not get as close as we had really liked to. Although a lot of people were trying it, only to fall on their backside!
If you are feeling even more adventurous, you can scale the 527 steps next to Skógafoss which leads up to a viewing platform. It gives you great views of the waterfall from above. On a windy day make sure you hold on to the handrail on the way up and down as a gust of wind up there could take you off your feet.
Öxarárfoss is a waterfall located in Þingvellir National Park and it flows from the river Öxará. There are many great things to see at Þingvellir National Park, in fact, it encompasses some of the most important historical and natural sites in Iceland and is definitely worth spending at least one day exploring what it has to offer.
Here you can walk between two continents, dive – Silfra is a rift formed in the divergent tectonic boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates, fish, hike a range of trails and of course sightsee. Þingvellir National Park is one of the most visited tourist hotspots in Iceland and Öxarárfoss is one of the most beautiful sights within the park.
It is easy to access, just a short (and easy) walk from the car park (parking payable on site). With so many naturally occurring waterfalls in Iceland, it was interesting to find out that Öxarárfoss was actually artificially built in the Middle Ages. You can get right up to the pool at the bottom of the waterfall, again watch out for the spray and mind your footing on the slippery rocks.
Gullfoss is a waterfall located in the canyon of the Hvítá river and is the waterfall that most, if not all people, envisage when they think of Iceland, us included. That is why we planned our itinerary to ensure that it was the final waterfall we saw during our trip to Iceland, in effect – saving the best, until last.
In fact, Gullfoss is the most popular tourist attraction in Iceland so is usually extremely busy, but don’t let that put you off as it is definitely a must see. Together with Þingvellir and the geysers of Haukadalur, Gullfoss forms part of the Golden Circle. The water flows down rapidly and then just disappears into the earth, it is mesmerising – where does it go? We stood in awe and watched the sheer power of the water falling.
At Gullfoss you can walk right up to the falls on a dry clear day, the path leading that way was closed to the public when we visited for safety reasons. However, it did not spoil our experience at all as the two viewing platforms at Gullfoss offer magnificent views and perfect spots to snap a few photographs of the falls and the obligatory selfie of course.
We are desperate to return to Iceland as soon as possible. Have you been? Could you recommend any waterfalls in the south of the island, or in fact, anywhere on the island for us to check out when we are next there? We’re sure there are loads and would love to visit as many more as we can!
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