#1: Gljúfrabúi Waterfall
The waterfall that no one can pronounce is my favorite out of the 10+ waterfalls we saw in Iceland. We parked at the Hamragarðar Campground, from which you can see the widely-known Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. If you google Icelandic waterfalls, you are sure to see Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and the trail that takes you behind the falls. But many people don’t know there is an equally impressive waterfall right beside Seljalandsfoss.
The name “Gljúfrabúi” literally means "the one that lives within the canyon". Not only does the name ring true, but it is without a doubt one of the best hidden gems in Iceland. The waterfall is 130 feet high and partially hidden behind a large cliff. It was a good thing we wore our rain boots because we had to walk in a flowing stream through a narrow opening in the cliff. Needless to say, we got wet, so be sure to bring your rain gear and waterproof camera. Once we were inside, the view is breathtaking, and we were lucky enough to be the only people there.
#2: Skógafoss Waterfall
Not only is “Skógafoss” a fun word to say, but it is a great place to visit. Skógafoss is right off Route 1, on the Southern Coast, between Ásólfsskáli and Vik. The waterfall drops near 200 feet, and you can walk right up to it! We really appreciated the power of the waterfall as we approached the base. We got drenched, and nearly blew over, but it was worth it!
Before we visited, I had researched Skógafoss and found out there is a viewing platform above the waterfall. Since it was a nice day, we decided to climb the 500+ steps to check out the view from the top. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that a trail exists past the observation deck. Since we allotted ourselves plenty of time to explore Skógafoss, we decided to hike the trail, which hugs the Skógá River that feeds Skógafoss. We saw a half dozen more waterfalls along the way. After walking about 1.5-2 miles on the trail, we turned back, but the trail goes on for many, many more miles into the Highlands.
#3: Dettifoss Waterfall
Dettifoss, located in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland, is said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Nearly 18,000 cubic feet of water per second plunge over waterfall, which measures 150 feet high by 330 feet wide.
But getting to Dettifoss is no easy task, especially in our campervan. We drove 20 miles, about 45 minutes, down the gravel, potholed covered road of Hólsfjallavegur (Route 864). Since had to get back to Route 1, we had to go in and back on this hellish road, so be prepared!
When you see Dettifoss in person, it is quite astonishing. The most unbelievable part of Dettifoss, which you will find to be true at many of Iceland’s sights, is that there are no guard rails. You can literally walk right up to the rushing water and stick your feet in if you so desired. I saw a man sitting on the edge of rock, not 2 feet from the quickly flowing water. A slight change in current would have swept him down the falls in a heartbeat. Out of the three waterfalls listed on this page, Dettifoss was definitely the most busy, but since the area is so large, there are plenty of spots for you to explore on your own and get some great photos.