If you’re looking for an incredible natural experience, look no further than the waterfalls near Reykjavik in Iceland. These falls are some of the most beautiful in the world, and you can explore them on your own or take a guided tour.
Chasing these waterfalls will be an unforgettable experience. Make sure to bring your camera to capture every moment!
11 Absolutely Breathtaking Iceland Waterfalls near Reykjavik
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
List of waterfalls near Reykjavik in Iceland (located less than a 2.50-hour drive away)
- Seljalandsfoss waterfall
- Skogafoss waterfall
- Gullfoss waterfall
- Glymur waterfall
- Faxi waterfall
- Bruarfoss waterfall
- Hraunfossar waterfall
- Barnafoss waterfall
- Gljúfrabúi waterfall
- Haifoss waterfall
- Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall
Map of waterfalls in Iceland Reykjavik
All of these waterfalls are free to visit in Iceland. Some of the spots will have a small parking fee which we have listed below. Because of the waterfall’s close proximity to Reykjavik, you will also find a lot of day tours available – as a transport option.
Day tours will cover the round trip, with time at natural sites, with many combining 1-3 waterfalls in the area like the popular South Coast Day tour from Reykjavik.
Gullfoss – Most popular closest waterfall to Reykjavik
- Distance from Reykjavik: 116 km (72 miles)
- How to get there: Car (1 hour 40 minutes). No parking fee | Golden Circle tour
Gullfoss or the Golden Falls in English is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls, located close to Reykjavik. Together with Þingvellir or Thingvellir National Park and the geysers of Haukadalur, Gullfoss forms part of the Golden Circle route, a popular day tour from Reyjkavik.
Gullfoss should be a part of any stopover or 3 days in Iceland itinerary. This stunning waterfall near Reykjavik is found in the Hvítá river canyon in Southwest Iceland.
It travels from the Langjökull glacier, before cascading 32 meters (105 feet) down in two stages. The result is a gorgeous display of rainbows and mist that engulfs the waterfall, making it one of the prettiest in Iceland!
When you take a guided tour, you will hear stories and incidents where Gulfoss were rented illegally to generate electricity, by its owners – Tómas Tómasson and Halldór Halldórsson. But it was unsuccessful due to lack of money.
Legend has it that Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson, was determined to save the waterfall and its ecological balance and even threatened to throw herself down. Sigríður Tómasdóttir was an environmentalist and you will see a stone memorial dedicated to her, located above the falls.
Gulfoss requires no hiking. There is a short walk to the viewing platform, and then another short walk down to the waterfall where you can see it up close and personal; and even feel the mist in the air.
Gullfoss is easily accessible by most people. However, keep in mind there are stairs, and it is a heavily trafficked loop. Part of the viewing platform can be slippery. These falls are accessible all year-round.
Glymur – Hvalfjörður – Southwest Iceland
- Distance from Reykjavik: 70.8 km (44 miles)
- How to get there: Car (1 hour) Free parking
With only an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, Glymur waterfall in Hvalfjörður is Iceland’s second tallest waterfall. It is also the tallest in the country that is easily accessible by foot.
Gylmur is located in the fjord of Hvalfjörður in West Iceland, with a height of 198 metres (650 feet). It is fed by the river Botnsá, which has sources in Iceland’s glaciers and runs from a lake above.
Glymur waterfall is not visible from the roadside, and it requires you to drive there. You will also have to hike about 3 to 3.50 hours round trip, to view the falls.
The hike is an adventurous one, it takes you through dirt roads, to a cave, and steep and muddy areas. You also need to do some balancing act on a pole over a river to get there – but the view is worth it!
The waterfall has one drop, and it falls into a mossy green canyon surrounded by nothing, but an incredible landscape!
Read: How to spend one day in Reykjavik
Fossin Faxi or Vatnsleysufoss
- Distance from Reykjavik: 102 km (63.7 miles)
- How to get there: Car (1 hour 20 minutes) Parking is 750 ISK
Faxi waterfall is located on the Golden Circle and is about an hour and 20 minutes away from Reykjavik (east).
We were lucky to visit this waterfall on a detour while we were on a Golden Circle day tour. Faxi falls is approximately twelve kilometres (seven miles) away from Gullfoss and Geysir Geothermal Area, which are part of the route.
Faxi is located on the Tungufljót river and is a wide waterfall with a short drop.
You don’t have to hike to get a view of the falls, as there is a viewing platform on the roadside, from where you can stop to check it out.
But if you wish to go hiking, you will love the landscape in the summer. There are Icelandic horses around and you can go bird watching. This area also draws those who enjoy salmon fishing.
Bruarfoss Waterfall – Southwest Iceland
- Distance from Reykjavik: 95 km (59 miles)
- How to get there: Car (1 hour 25 minutes) Parking is free
Brúarfoss or Bridge Falls is a small waterfall showcasing a stunning blue color. Although it is not one of the tallest or grandest waterfalls in Iceland, many regard the Brúarfoss as one of the hidden gems often called the ‘Iceland’s Bluest Waterfall!
The waterfall is fed by the Brúará River, which is a glacier melt from Langjökull glacier. This glacial water is what gives Brúarfoss its sky blue color.
The glacial river Brúará falls 2 -3 metres (7-10 feet), ending in a U-turn at the base of the waterfall. This is where the river is concentrated into a deep crevice that runs through the centre of volcanic rock formations.
The stunning blue color, with the dark black landscape and surrounding green flora, makes it one of the stunning spots in Iceland.
Brúarfoss is located an hour and 25 minutes drive away from Reykjavik. The best way to get there is by car, and it is part of the Golden Circle route. And then you will have to hike around 3.2 km (1.9 miles) one way to reach the falls.
The hike starts from the parking lot by the river, and with stops, the hike takes around 2 to 2.50 hours (round trip).
Hraunfossar and Barnafoss – West Iceland
- Distance from Reykjavik: 125.5 km (78 miles)
- How to get there: Car (1 hour 40 minutes) Parking is free
Hraunfossar or Lava Falls in English is a series of waterfalls located in the Borgarfjörður district of Iceland. The waterfalls are formed by rivulets streaming out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field.
The lava field that Hraunfossar trickles through comes from the eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the Langjökull glacier which is the second largest ice cap in Iceland. These waterfalls then pour into the Hvítá river.
Because the area around Hraunfossar is prone to constant eruptions, these lava fields are known for hidden caves, including Víðgelmir, which is the longest in Iceland. Its geological history is also laced with an interesting past, of lava eruptions, bandits and, was said to be the home of trolls.
Located very close to Hraunfossar, is another waterfall called Barnafoss.
Barnafoss surges down a narrow valley with immense power, creating foams and churning beautifully. Its name means ‘Waterfall of the Children’ and legend has it that there was an accident where two children died by drowning from a bridge that existed there before.
This natural bridge was believed to be destroyed by the grief-stricken mother.
Both Hraunfossar and Barnafoss can be explored in about 30 minutes. It is easily accessible by well-maintained trails from the parking lot.
You do need a car to get there, and it is a must stop if you are road tripping to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss ‘the one you can walk behind waterfall’ – South Iceland
- Distance from Reykjavik: 128 km (79.5 miles)
- How to get there: Car (1 hour 50 minutes) 800 ISK for parking | South Coast Day tour
Seljalandsfoss is one of my favorite waterfalls in Iceland. It is a popular tourist attraction on the south coast and is along the Ring Road. Due to its popularity, you will find a plethora of day tours from Reykjavik to Seljalandsfoss.
Seljalandsfoss drops 60 metres (200 feet) and it is part of the Seljalands River, which originates in the volcano glacier of Eyjafjallajökull. It is absolutely picturesque and is one of the easiest waterfalls to get to.
One of the unique features of Seljalandsfoss is that you can walk behind it.
There is a pathway that stretches around it. The cliffs behind the falls have a wide cavern, with rocks and paths that allow you to go behind it.
Plan to visit this waterfall at sunset as it looks absolutely gorgeous with the sun rays peeking through the falls. Or visit during the months of the midnight sun in Iceland.
Don’t forget to wear a waterproof jacket, and hiking shoes to enjoy Seljalandsfoss. It will take you 15 to 30 minutes to explore the falls. There is no hike, just a short walk. There is a parking lot located nearby.
The surroundings of Seljalandsfoss and the view from behind makes it one of the most photographed landscapes in all of Iceland.
After Seljalandsfoss, you can also visit Skogafoss and Gljúfrabúi (located north of Seljalandsfoss) along the same route!
READ: Epic Iceland bucket list
Gljúfrafoss or Gljúfrabúi – South Iceland
- Distance from Reykjavik: 128 km (79.5 miles)
- How to get there: Car (1 hour 50 minutes) Parking is free
Gljúfrafoss or Gljúfrabúi is a small waterfall located north of the popular Seljalandsfoss in Iceland.
Gljúfrabúi waterfall is 40 meters (131 feet) and runs from the Gljúfurá River. These falls are partially obscured by the cliff rock, but you can follow a trail to enter the narrow canyon to view the Gljúfrafoss from below. The viewing platform only allows you to see it from the top of the drop.
The view of the falls from the green hills of Eyjafjöll mountains and into a gorge makes for an amazing photography spot in Iceland!
Gljúfrafoss or Gljúfrabúi is easily accessible by road, as it is located along Route 1 (Iceland’s Ring Road).
Most South Coast Iceland tours do not cover this waterfall when they promote their excursions, but you can surely walk there if you have the time.
This unique South Coast waterfalls tour does include a stop at the Gljufrafoss.
To access Gljúfrabúi, driving the Ring Road is the best option. It is still considered a hidden gem! There is free parking at Gljúfrabúi with well-marked areas for you to see.
You don’t need to hike to get there (unless you are heading to the gorge). It is about a 4-minute walk to Gljúfrafoss from the parking lot to the falls.
Skógafoss – South Iceland
- Distance from Reykjavik: 155.7 km (96 miles)
- How to get there: Car (2 hours) Parking is free | South Coast Day tour
Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. It has a drop of 60 metres (197 feet) and the waterfall is part of the Skógá River located in the south of Iceland, at the cliff marking the former coastline.
It has only one drop, and it comes down with a cascading force. You can walk very close to this powerful waterfall, but be ready with waterproof clothing and shoes so that you are not completely drenched!
On most days, you will see a drizzle with beautiful rainbows.
There is a legend that says that Þrasi Þórólfsson, the Viking Settler at Skógar (Eystriskógar) hid a chest full of treasures behind the waterfall, in around 900. And it is believed that the first man who goes there will find great treasures.
Skógafoss is an easy visit on the South Coast tour. The walk to the base of the waterfall is fairly easy from the parking lot. Many people visit Skogafoss for 10-15 minutes.
But to enjoy a hike to the top you will need an hour (30 minutes each way). With extra time, you can get to an observation platform located above Skógafoss. It has about 527 steps, depending on where you start.
There are other hiking paths in the Skogafoss area including the famous Fimmvörðuháls trail. Fimmvörðuháls is the original eruption site of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption.
Háifoss – South Iceland
- Distance from Reykjavik: 141.7 km (88 miles)
- How to get there: Car (2+ hours)
Háifoss or High Waterfall in English is located near the volcano Hekla in southern Iceland. It is situated in the Fossárdalur valley’s innermost Þjórsárdalur valley. It is fed by river Fossá, a tributary of Þjórsá, and it drops here from a height of 122 metres (400 feet).
This is the fourth highest waterfall on the island, after Morsárfoss, Glymur, and Hengifoss.
There is popular folklore around Háifoss. Haifoss is said to be the home of an ogress, who once was angry with a teenage boy when he threw a rock in the river. The boy was camping with some of his friends in the area.
The ogress was really upset, but she waited until midnight to take the boy in. Thankfully for his camping friends, he was safe but was badly injured.
To get to Háifoss, you will need a four-wheel-drive vehicle, as it goes over a bumpy gravel road. This road takes you to a car parking lot, located south of the waterfall. From here, you can take a short walk to the viewing spot.
The falls can also be hiked to, by following along the river Fossá from the reconstructed farm of Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng.
The best time to visit is in the summer months. You can combine a trip to Háifoss (Granni waterfall aka ‘Neighbour’), as both can be easily seen from the viewing area located on the south side of the falls.
Kirkjufellsfoss – West Iceland
- Distance from Reykjavik: 179 km (111 miles)
- How to get there: Car (2 hours 20 minutes) Free Parking | West Iceland tour
Kirkjufellsfoss or Church Mountain Falls in English is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Iceland. It is located in the western part of the country and is very well-situated along with the Kirkjufell mountain.
Its name ‘church mountain’, or ‘church mountain falls’ was coined due to the shape of Mt. Kirkjufell. Danish sailors, in the past also called it ‘Sugar Top’ or “Sukkertoppen” or the Sugar Top.
There are 3 waterfalls in front of the mountain, all known as Kirkjufellsfoss. The Kirkjufellsá river runs from a volcano called Helgrindur, and it creates falls with a short drop.
Both Mt. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss are very popular with visitors – just like the south coast.
It is easy to get there and to view the waterfalls. You don’t have to go on a strenuous hike to view the falls either. There is an old bridge lying on top of the waterfall which is accessible with a good walk.
Mt. Kirkjufell with Kirkjufellsfoss and starry skies or northern lights makes it one of the most photographed spots in Iceland.
The mountain is free-standing and referred to as the most beautiful mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. You can book a West Iceland tour to visit them!
Iceland waterfalls near Reykjavik: Travel tips
Glymur waterfall in Hvalfjörður is located closest to Reykjavik. The driving distance is one hour. It is Iceland’s second tallest waterfall. Gullfoss is the most popular waterfall that is located along the Golden Circle route, located about an hour and 40 minutes drive away.
Here are the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland from coast to coast,
Seljalandsfoss waterfall – South Iceland
Skogafoss waterfall – South Iceland
Gullfoss waterfall – South Iceland
Glymur waterfall – South Iceland
Faxi waterfall – South Iceland
Bruarfoss waterfall – Southwest Iceland
Hraunfossar waterfall – West Iceland
Barnafoss waterfall – West Iceland
Gljúfrabúi waterfall – South Iceland
Haifoss waterfall – South Iceland
Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall – West Iceland
Goðafoss waterfall – North Iceland
Dettifoss waterfall – Northeast Iceland
Svartifoss waterfall – Northeast Iceland
Dynjandi waterfall – West Iceland
Goðafoss is located in northern Iceland and it will take 5+ hours to get there from Reykjavik.
Dettifoss and Svartifoss are located in Vatnajökull National Park, and you need to set aside 4+ hours to get there and enjoy all the waterfalls in the region. There are no day tours or direct connections to Vatnajokull National Park from Reykjavik.
Almost all of the waterfalls in Iceland are free to visit. Some parking areas are also open free of charge.
There are waterfalls sprinkled all over Iceland – some are easy to get to, are accessible by tours and a short walk, and some require a few hours of hike and drive. Most of the popular waterfalls as shown on Instagram or postcards are found in the south and western part of the country!
So there you have it! From the second tallest to the most powerful waterfall spots in Iceland, you don’t have to travel far and wide to view them.
Get to Reykjavik and then go chasing them!
Traveling to Iceland soon? Read these guides
- Tips on visiting Iceland
- Iceland in October
- What to wear in Iceland in October
- Best airbnbs in Iceland
- Winter tours: Iceland northern lights tour