One of the spectacles that you will notice when traveling around Iceland is its great number of beautiful waterfalls. If you think seeing one waterfall is enough, you will think twice after seeing the photos. Iceland is such a magical place that each waterfall has their own unique and stunning characteristics. See the amazing waterfalls of Iceland from our self-drive tour and discover some of the secrets we stumbled upon.
*Don’t miss the video at the end of the post!
Renting a 4×4 or a regular car
First of all, let’s clarify if you need to rent a 4×4 or if a regular car is enough. If you’re going to Iceland on summer (or at least not during winter) and you only plan to drive around the Ring Road, 4×4 is not needed. We drove a car on October and we were able to drive the Ring Road. However, your destinations will be limited to this area only. There are many gorgeous spots outside the Ring Road and most of them have to be driven using a 4×4.
If you are the adventurous type and would like to explore random areas, I highly recommend using a 4×4! During winter, a 4×4 is also highly recommended. It will put you at ease because it is safer and the roads in Iceland could get really challenging during winter season. Remember, it’s for your safety, convenience and freedom to drive at F-roads. You don’t have to worry about getting stuck or damaging your car because of the potholes and gravels!
Tip: For convenience, rent a car from Reykjavik airport. Find a car to rent here.
1 – Skogafoss
Located inside the village of Skogar is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland.
Getting to Skogafoss
Skogafoss is easily accessible from the Ring Road. You will see the signs for Skogar and Skogafoss. First thing you will notice is its amazing landscape of beautiful mountains and river.
Look across the Skoga river and you might find some Icelandic horses. As you get nearer, you will hear the thunderous roar of the waterfall. You will also find a set of stairs leading to the top of the falls. If you are up for a long hike, you can climb this path.
In the photo below, there are tourists on the upper right side of the falls. Look how small they are compared to the massive falls!
You can get really close to the base of the falls but expect to get wet from the mist. It’s worth it though, if you ask me, because the view is amazing. You would also get to experience how powerful the waterfall is.
Adding to its fairytale-like scenery is the consistent rainbow made by the mist of the waterfalls and the sunshine. Seriously, how much lovelier could this get?
2 – Gullfoss
Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in South Iceland. Its pristine beauty and powerful force are beyond comparison.
Getting to Gullfoss
Unlike the other waterfalls of Iceland, driving to Gulffoss could be tricky. There are several roads leading to Gullfoss and some of them are what Iceland calls the F-roads (roads that require a four-wheel drive or roads that have an unbridged river). So, before heading to Gullfoss, review and carefully select the roads that you will take.
This breathtaking waterfall is located on an enormous white river. Although its height is only half of Skogafoss, its massive size makes up for what it lacks in height. The path starting from the parking can let you see the falls from every angle.
The views are unbelievable but the bestis the view with the perfectly-etched canyon and the rising mist. It is so mesmerizing that I thought I could only find this in magazines! You could watch the strong drop of water as it creates the great mist. The pressure is so powerful that you would be able to see the mist slowly rising from the canyon. The path is easy but the mist makes it slippery.
3 – Seljalandsfoss
Another famous and easily accessible waterfall is Seljalandsfoss. It is distinct from the other waterfalls of Iceland because tourists can actually walk behind the waterfall, into the cave and experience it from a unique perspective.
Getting to Seljalandsfoss
If you are coming from Reykjavik, Seljalandsfoss can easily be seen from the main road (Route 1 – Þjóðvegur or “Ring Road”). It is only a minute away from the road and there are signs you can follow.
It was raining hard when we visited Seljalandsfoss but we still managed to walk on the path leading to the cave. There is a small set of stairs to get to the higher ground. From there, you have to pass a narrow, uneven track to reach the cave. You have to be careful when traversing the path because it could get slippery and dangerous from the mist of the waterfall.
By the time we reached the cave, we were already soaking wet. It was not just because of the rain, but also because of the drizzle from the waterfall. It is best to bring a raincoat or a waterproof jacket and hiking boots. If you have to change your clothes, there is a small restroom beside the parking.To see the waterfall from behind is worth every inconvenience we felt from getting soaked. It was extremely fun and amazing to experience!
Feeling venturesome, we decided to drive around South Iceland in the middle of the night and hunt for Northern Lights. Sadly, we weren’t able to see the Northern Lights but we discovered something new… Seljalandsfoss has bright spotlights at night! It was sooo pretty! It really felt like it was a magical place. We had the whole place to ourselves and everything was serene. It looked entirely different in daylight where there are hundreds of tourists visiting Seljalandsfoss.
Here’s an overlooked fact… Seljalandsfoss is open 24 hours! If you want to skip the tourists, you can visit Seljalandsfoss at a later time.
4 – Foss a Sidu
As we were heading to Glacier Lagoon, we chanced upon this waterfall along Route 1. Foss a Sidu is not popular like the previous waterfalls but I found its scenery very charming. It is surrounded by beautiful trees, cliffs, and a little village.
These are just few of the amazing waterfalls of Iceland. We’ll have to return to see the rest. Stay tuned! 🙂
For a list of accommodations you should consider, click here. These are the accommodations we have tried and tested – from budget hostels to luxury design hotels.