Iceland’s Most Amazing Waterfalls
Iceland is famous for its rugged, almost primordial beauty that harkens back to a different time, when man had not yet left his mark on the world. Snow-capped peaks, imposing glaciers and rapidly flowing rivers are ready to awe any traveler who visits this tumultuous country.
One of Iceland’s greatest treasures is its waterfalls. Dramatic and perfectly reflecting the unrestrained wildness of the Icelandic landscape, these natural wonders never cease to wow visitors. They are sights you will not forget, and leave you with a new respect for the power and beauty of nature.
Taking a private tour in Iceland can help ensure that you see the best waterfalls that the country has to offer. To get you started, here are five of the most amazing ones in Iceland that you cannot miss:
Stand at the foot of Skógafoss and prepare to be humbled. This stunning waterfall is 200 feet tall and more than 80 feet across, and is one of the most popular cascades in Iceland. A captivating aspect of Icelandic culture is its respect for folklore that has been passed down through the centuries, which is especially evident at the nearby museum in the town of Skógar, and the falls has a myth of its own. The legend goes that the first Viking to live in Skógar, Þrasi Þórólfsson, hid a treasure chest behind the waterfall.
As you hike up a well-worn trail, hardy grasses and prehistoric rocks on either side, you come upon a hole in the earth. You get closer, and then you see Gullfoss in all its glory. The scope of this magnificent waterfall has to be seen to to be believed – the water catapults into a massive canyon, erupting in monstrous splashes below. This rushing waters come from the second-largest glacier in the country, Langjökull, and one look at the falls drives home the sheer immensity of Iceland’s natural landscape. Gullfoss means Golden Waterfall, and on sunny days, it can be clear why: the water sprays catch the sunlight, creating glowing rainbows, if you’re lucky.
The majestic Seljalandsfoss is a wonderfully unique waterfall to visit because it is the only one in the country where you can walk behind the falls. There is a verdant green trail, watered by the sprays and mist of the falls, that winds its way in front of the surrounding caves that offers one-of-a-kind views impossible to find anywhere else on Earth.
Located in Skaftafell National Park, Svartifoss is another unique waterfall that’s not to be missed. It’s clear from first glance why this waterfall was named “Black Falls” – it cascades in front of a backdrop of shiny black basalt columns, created from lava. These incredible geometric formations that tower as high as the falls itself look like pipe organs. So much so – and reflecting the importance of nature in Icelandic culture – that the design of the National Theater in the capital city of Reykjavik was modeled after it.
Make sure your tour of Iceland’s waterfalls includes a stop at the sprawling Goðafoss. This natural wonder holds a very important place in Icelandic history. In A.D. 1,000, Þorgeir Þorkelsson, an important Icelandic leader and lawspeaker, was dealing with turbulent conflict between Icelanders who believed in Nordic gods and those who were Christians. He declared that Iceland would convert to Christianity, and symbolically cast off the old gods into Goðafoss.
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