Waterfalling in love in Iceland … My top 5 lazy Icelandic waterfalls

There are a couple things I really happen to like in this world …

If you love waterfalls as much as I happen to … then the next place on your bucket list should be Iceland. The land of fire and ice has a couple great things about it

  • Extreme landscapes with raging glacial rivers
  • Vast sand deserts
  • Simmering hot springs
  • The cleanest air and tap water in the world (Probably some of the coldest tap water also)

however, you can’t really pass up looking at waterfalls in Iceland.

As you navigate the country on the Ring Road in your rental (and you really must rent a car in Iceland, even though it can be horrifically expensive … it is one place in the world, where it is completely worth it), you can see most waterfalls with a simple detour off the Ring Road.

As you drive from Reyjavik, your first waterfall stop will probably be :

1. Gullfoss.

I don’t know why it’s called the Golden Falls, but it is the most famous waterfall in Iceland because of its size, volume and accessibility – it is also by definition a major tourist spot.  The Hvita River, coming off the Langjökull Glacier, falls 32 meters into a deep canyon that is hidden by a wall of mist.

A safe walk way has been built for people to walk rightup to the falls, while at the top of the falls is another viewing deck where a different vantage point is available – I do love the fact that there aren’t a gazillion safety rails blocking you from the falls

2. Seljalandsfoss

Your next stop from the road will probably be Seljalandsfoss. Seljalandsfoss is another famous waterfalls – due to the fact that you can walk behind the falls with no issues whatsoever. Also it’s right by the ring road and you can see the falls from the road – how much more convenient, would you like your attractions and waterfalls?

Now you have two options for viewing this waterfall.

  1. You can take the safe route and go see it in the day … this is understandable and you’ll enjoy yourself.
  2. Or you can go the waterfalls in the darkest night at 2am with wind and freezing rain slapping you in the face and then traverse the trail that goes behind the waterfalls

Guess which option, I prefer? Obviously, excuse my pronunciation of the Seljalandsfoss – but I did manage to figure out how to say Kirkjubæjarklaustur (pronounced [ˈcʰɪrcjʏˌpaɪjarˌkʰlœɪstʏr]

 3. Skógafoss

Your next stop about 15 minutes down the road from Seljalandsfoss is Skógafoss. Again, super convenient and awesome … how much better can you get for a lazy Trinidadian. I want all my highlights quick and easy to get to – to hell with all this damn nature hiking and fresh air and clean water! The cliffs are a former coastline, much like Seljalandsfoss. Those cliffs, among other mountains, mark the borderline between the coastal lowlands and the highlands of Iceland – that’s a nice fact isn’t it?

Want another awesome fact : Skógarfoss is astonishingly white, just like everyone in Iceland!

Along the way, if you manage to get some sunshine (the weather can be notoriously fickle in Iceland), you run into random waterfalls just to grant you awesome pictures. Foss a Sidu (or more accurately Foss á Siðu, which literally means “waterfall at Siðu”) was a conspicuous waterfall as we drove along Southern Iceland along the Ring Road … and thankfully the sun made for a great picture.

4. Svartifoss

The first waterfall that we actually had to get out and do a bit of hiking was Svartifoss. You can see the people walking on the rock bridge in the distance.

Svartifoss was one of those memorable waterfalls thanks to hanging hexagonal basalt columns underlying it. While basalt columns aren’t anything new around waterfalls nor is this waterfall very big (it’s only 20m tall), it seems that the basalt columns on this waterfall are very pronounced.

Unlike Gullfoss, which I couldn’t figure the Golden Falls nickname … The name of the falls is translated into something like “black falls,” … it’s pretty easy to figure out the name. With the basalt columns, it looks like something from Star Trek …  but it is definitely another tourist haven. I really liked these falls …

Driving along the Ring Road, you’ll continue to see more waterfall at the side of the road, again with very little hiking or walking. Litlanesfoss is shown below.

5. Barnafoss

Another one of my favorites is the little hike to see the children’s falls …

We did a little bit of a walk to reach this rapids flanked by lava walls and rocks. The walk probably takes around 20-30 minutes round trip.

I am missing two obvious waterfalls in Dettifoss and Goðafoss – the days we passed by those waterfalls, we had extremely bad weather … and it was pretty unfortunate, since those are also great lazy waterfalls.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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