Iceland’s Best Winter Waterfalls to Visit

Iceland, a land with many waterfalls. It’s estimated there are over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland! Add all that flowing water with the cold temperatures of winter, and you get a winter wonderland! While winter makes any of Iceland’s waterfalls that much more magical, getting to them may be difficult. Unfortunately, some waterfalls are impossible to visit without extreme measures. There is good news! With weather permitting, here are six of Iceland’s waterfalls that you can visit in winter! No F-Roads are needed for these waterfalls.

GULLFOSS

The crown jewel of the Golden Circle, Gullfoss, is one of Iceland’s largest and most powerful waterfalls. Frequently visited in the warmer months, Gullfoss is a significant player in Iceland’s tourism industry. In the colder months, Gullfoss’s crowd diminishes. The waterfall is open to the public all year long and only rarely closes. Depending on the weather, parts of the waterfall may be closed for access as the trail gets too dangerous for public use.

Gullfoss is an intimidating waterfall, and it only becomes that much more fearsome with a blanket of ice and snow nearby. Not to worry, there are great views of this waterfall from safe distances! Plus, the Gullfossgjúfur canyon covered in snow is one of the best vistas the world has to offer!

Learn more about Gullfoss here.

Directions:

  • Gullfoss is well marked and easily accessible with Google Maps.
  • It is located at the northern point of the Golden Circle.
  • The drive is around 1 hour and 30 minutes from Reykjavík.

Öxarárfoss

On your way to Gullfoss, you should check out one of Iceland’s historic waterfalls, Öxarárfoss! The waterfall is located in Þingvellir National Park and is open all year long.

Smaller than most of the other waterfalls on this list, Öxarárfoss only stands at 13 m (44 ft) in height. Its blue water and the historical area of the park brings visitors from all over the world. On the coldest days of the winter, you won’t find as much of the tourist crowds. Instead, you may find local ice climbers scaling the Öxarárfoss! Unlike the others on this list, Öxarárfoss sometimes will freeze over, making this an actual winter waterfall.

Learn more about Öxarárfoss here.

Directions:

  • Öxarárfoss is well marked and easily accessible with Google Maps.
  • It is located on the northern route of the Golden Circle.
  • The drive is around 45 minutes from Reykjavík.

GOÐAFOSS

While not the biggest waterfall Iceland offers, there are little to none that are more significant than Goðafoss. This horseshoe-shaped waterfall is rich in history from the early years of settlement in the country. The name Goðafoss is translated to the fall of the Gods. That title is even more convincing in the winter season. Many locals claim that wintertime is the best time of the year to see Iceland’s most historic waterfall.

Goðafoss is located on the northern side of the country, a little over a five-hour drive from Reykjavík. So getting there in winter maybe a bit more complicated, but it’s located right beside the ring road. The Ring Road, also known as HWY 1, is a well-maintained road circling the entire island. Goðafoss is a short walk from the Ring Road and is accessible all year long!

Learn more about Goðafoss here.

Directions:

  • Goðafoss is well marked and easily accessible with Google Maps.
  • Head north via the Ring Road (HWY 1).
  • The drive is around 5 hours from Reykjavík.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls and is known for its magical beauty. While not powerful in volume, the waterfall does stand at 61 m (200 ft) in height. What makes this waterfall so beautiful is the cliffside that the water gently rolls off from and fills the air with mist. It often creates rainbows on sunny days. Now just imagine that in a sea of white snow!

Seljalandsfoss is also known for its spectacular 360-degree views of the cascading water. It is one of the few waterfalls that you can easily walk behind. The trail leading around the waterfall is open year long but it may be temporarily closed if conditions become too icy. Please be sure to bring warm waterproof apparel if you want a close-up encounter to this one!

The waterfall sees many tourists year-round and is a frequent stop for tour buses. Wintertime is a slower season, but you still may find others visiting this winter wonder with direct access from the ring road.

Learn more about Seljalandsfoss here.

Directions:

  • Seljalandsfoss is well marked and easily accessible with Google Maps.
  • Head east via the Ring Road (HWY 1).
  • The drive is around 1 hour and 45 minutes from Reykjavík.

Skógafoss

A neighbor to Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss is another one of Iceland’s famous waterfalls. This one often appears in movies and TV shows such as “Vikings.” This waterfall has a nordic feel to it, and wintertime only makes it that much more Viking-like. The nordic vibe only adds to the many legends surrounding this waterfall.

Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s largest waterfalls. While there are many waterfalls taller than Skógafoss, few have its height combined with its volume. Like Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss fills the air with mist. In winter, this mist forms sharp icicles that line the walls beside the waterfall.

Skógafoss loses some of its crowd during the winter season, but it is still fully accessible all year-round. The stairs to the top of the waterfalls remain open as well, but watch your step!

Learn more about Skógafoss here.

Directions:

  • Skógafoss is well marked and easily accessible with Google Maps.
  • Head east via the Ring Road (HWY 1).
  • The drive is a little over 2 hours from Reykjavík.

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Klifbrekkufossar 

Klifbrekkufossar is a series of several cascading falls in the Mjóifjörður fjord. Klifbrekkufossar is one of Iceland’s tallest major waterfalls at 300 ft (91 m) but doesn’t often receive that recognition due to the segmented drops. The name means Klifbrekkufossar,  “Climbing Slope Falls,” as the waterfall is shaped like a set of stairs climbing up the cliffside. Fossar is the plural word for waterfalls, but Klifbrekkufossar is considered a single waterfall.

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