Dettifoss, Iceland

I’m surprised sometimes at the waterfalls I haven’t written about. I don’t necessarily follow any order or write about the flashiest, biggest waterfalls first. That means that I sometimes am recording big, flashy waterfalls years after I visit them. When I visited the falls in 2012, I was a bit concerned because I read that both roads leading to the falls were unpaved gravel roads, which in Iceland can make accessing attractions somewhat difficult. Luckily, they had recently paved the road that tracks up the west side of the river, at least until you reach Dettifoss.

Dettifoss is widely known as being one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe (when considering water flow per second). It isn’t the tallest waterfall in Europe (not even the tallest waterfall in Iceland), but it is still impressive for sure! It’s definitely worth a visit, but it is somewhat isolated in the scheme of things. Some of the waterfalls in southern Iceland near Reykjavík and along the southern portion of the Ring Road are very easily accessed, sometimes literally by pulling off the road. From Reykjavík, it’s at least a 7 hour drive to Dettifoss, and is approximately 20 miles from the Ring Road. Luckily, you will get a view of Selfoss also.

Directions:

  1. You want to follow the Ring Road (Road 1) to get to Dettifoss, and the closest “large” city is probably Akureyri. Even then, it’s still a bit of a drive.
  2. About 75 miles from Akureyri, you’ll reach a few different roads. If you turn left on road 862, that road is paved and will lead you to Dettifoss. You can also turn left on road 864, which is unpaved, and four wheel drive is recommended.
  3. After about 20 miles on road 862 or 864, you’ll reach parking areas for Dettifoss, which will then require a short hike to view the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 144′
Length of Hike: 1.1 miles round-trip

Dettifoss (2)

Dettifoss in June 2012

Where in the World is Dettifoss?

Goðafoss, Iceland

Goðafoss has an interesting history associated with it, but I’ll leave that for you to discover elsewhere.  Let’s just say that it’s an impressive waterfall, so it’s understandable that it has an importance in such a mystical place.

I had stayed the night in Akureyri (a charming city), and then started heading east.  One of the first very easy waterfalls to visit is Goðafoss!  It is just a short distance from the Ring Road.  There are two separate parking areas.  The parking lot further to the west is closer to the falls, while the eastern parking lot is closer to Geitafoss.

There are also multiple different viewpoints of the falls.  The right side of the falls (in this picture) is very easily accessed from the western parking lot.  I would include a photo from that viewpoint if I hadn’t accidentally deleted nearly every photo I took that day.  The photo below is taken on the left side of the falls.  It might actually allow for a more complete view, but it does require slightly more effort.  If you find the right spot, you can also descend to the edge of the river.  It’s definitely worth the time to explore all around the falls.

Directions:

  1. Head east on Ring Road 1 from Akureyri.
  2. Pass Road 842, and after a short distance, you will come to the parking area for Goðafoss.  If you pass Road 844.  You have gone too far.  (A roadside store is directly near 844, and is a good place to stop before continuing on the barren stretch of Ring Road 1.)

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy, hikes to other viewpoints are still relatively easy)
Height: 39′
Length of Hike: negligible

Goðafoss in June 2012

Where in the World is Goðafoss?