Worldly Wonders: Waterfalls of Iceland

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!

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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.

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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?

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Erin founded the Wonderlost Travel blog in February of 2015 after her experience of studying abroad in Europe. Erin has had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and parts of South America and Asia. She enjoys writing about and photographing her travel experiences in order to inspire others to get out and follow their travel dreams. She has collaborated with tourism departments, restaurants, and other travel bloggers to share reviews and travel advice with readers in over 100 countries. Erin has a passion for traveling the world to experience other cultures and explore nature!

14 thoughts on “Worldly Wonders: Waterfalls of Iceland

    1. It really is! I also saw Seljlandsfoss and then others that I don’t know the name of! They were streams of water pouring from cliffsides as we were driving around. It was so beautiful.


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