Falling for Iceland’s waterfalls

The signs are small. The waterfalls are not. You will see the waterfalls before the signs.

It’s best to map these must see spots out in advance to make sure you don’t drive by them without stopping. 

The 3 waterfalls you can’t leave Iceland without seeing…


My favorite by far, and we nearly skipped it, was Gullfoss. I rode the Maid of the Mist boat at Niagara Falls, but to me this waterfall was more impressive. 

Gullfoss is on the Golden Circle in southwest Iceland in the canyon of the Hvítá river.


You walk up to Gullfoss Falls and the falls appear to open into the earth out of nowhere. 

The steps down to Gullfoss

One thing that makes Iceland’s massive waterfalls so unique is how close you can get. On the flip side, be careful not to get too close. 

Ice forms on some of the paths in the winter. But all that separates curious tourists is a polite thin metal chain with a sign that says ‘closed.’ As you can tell…not everyone listens.  

Don’t expect much at these sites when it comes to amenities. A toilet is likely to be a portable style – if there is one at all. Hot water, guess again. My advice, keep hand sanitizer on you. 

The view at the top of Skogafoss

Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss are very close together. Which makes it easy to see both on the same day.

Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss are in the South Region of Iceland. Both are right off Route 1.

Seljalandsfoss is near the road that leads to Þórsmörk Road 249. FUN FACT: This waterfall is part of the Seljalands River, which starts in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull —- Yes, this is the volcano that erupted in 2010 and shut down air travel across Europe.

Skogafoss is on the Skoga River just about 20 minutes further east down Route 1.

Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss are also on the way to Vik, which is one of my favorite spots in Iceland. Along this route you will also pass the US Navy DC3 wreckage which is still laying mostly intact on a black sand beach. Though you really need to know where to look so you have the right path – more to come on that soon in another post.


At Skogafoss, you can take a walk up the stairs and see the waterfall from above. The path also continues if you’re up for a hike. The views are incredible. 

The stairs up to the top of Skogafoss

At Seljalandsfoss you will see the main waterfall right away. You could snap a selfie from the car park and say you’ve been. But if you walk for a bit you will come across some unique spots formed into the same cliff. I say it’s worth a bit of a walk, if you have the time. If not, I would say the walk at Skogafoss is more of a must. 

Walking along the cliff at Seljalandsfoss

Iceland has many more amazing waterfalls but these 3 are on the main path most tourists find themselves on. You won’t have any issues driving to these spots. But for the more adventurous types there is a lot more to explore if you head into the more desolate areas further into the center of the country. Keep in mind there are what’s called ‘F roads’ and you need an off-road vehicle to legally drive on these roads. 

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