Why does Iceland have so many waterfalls? There are thousands of them and they range in all different sizes and strength. When I was driving around the Golden Circle I even ran into waterfalls unplanned!
Iceland is a unique island situated at a very high latitude, not far from Greenland and the Arctic Circle, yet it has a relatively mild climate considering its location. Iceland is full of glaciers and it experiences regular snow/rainfall throughout the year. As temperatures fluctuate between below freezing in the dark days of winter (the shortest day has just four hours of sunlight!) and the warmer days in the summer, the glaciers experience periodic melting.
And we benefit from it! Some of the waterfalls in Iceland are considered to the best waterfalls throughout all of Europe. The largest waterfall is Gullfoss–pictured below. Gullfoss dropped so far, I couldn’t see the bottom of it from where I was standing. Gullfoss means “Golden Waterfall” because when the sun is out and it strikes the cascading waters, the water looks golden. Unfortunately it was cloudy the day I went to see it but it was still an incredible sight. The water is fed from a glacial lake about 40km north called Hvitavatn. The power behind this waterfall is tremendous, the ground practically shook from the sound of the water crashing down. Similar to how I felt when I saw Niagra Falls for the very first time.
I saw a caption to a photo of Gullfoss as I was scrolling through Instagram that said “One feels more energetic when leaving Gullfoss than when arriving. That’s the impact these unique nature sites have on us.” I believe that to be true.
I love the power you feel standing close to a waterfall, the mist as it blows in your direction and the rainbows generated when the sun’s rays strike it in just the right way.
What waterfalls have you visited? Do you have a favorite?