Icelandic Road Trip – Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall

After having enjoyed the surroundings of lake Myvatn and the beautiful ice cave, we were ready to see what the diamond circle route had to offer :-)

We left the guesthouse after a good breakfast, made one last stop at the lake and took road 1 then road 862 towards the famous Jökulsárgljúfur National Park.

We first came across Dettifoss waterfall, Europe’s most powerful waterfall (for the record, it’s the waterfall you can see in Prometheus). The milky colour of the waterfall is apparently due to the presence of the sediment-rich waters of the Vatnajökull glacier. From the car park to Dettifoss it’s a 30 minutes walk to the brink of the falls. By the time we reached the falls, we were completely drenched by the drops and mist blown away from the waterfall… don’t forget your waterproof ! The weather was not great and the sky was really grey, with little to no sun at all.

When I think about it, and when I look at the pictures, I can say that this was the “disappointment” of the trip (even if disappointment is a big word :-)). Yes the waterfall was powerful, but it was not so nice to look at. The waterfall didn’t impress me that much, it was difficult to have a great view of the falls. Maybe it would have been better to take the other road ? Maybe the weather didn’t help ? In any case, I preferred the other waterfall nearby : Selfoss.

There was a short straightforward walking path upstream of Dettifoss to Selfoss waterfall, a horseshoe-shaped waterfall that was very iconic. We really enjoyed this waterfall !

Another path is leading to Hafragilsfoss Waterfall, the third waterfall of the National Park, but it’s best to drive over there if you don’t have a lot of time as the walk can take several hours. The waterfall is 27 m high and disappeared into a deep canyon, Jökulsárgljúfur , that has been carved out by river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Unfortunately, we missed the road and we didn’t really want to go back… but if you have time, I could be interesting to stop by.


19 responses to “Icelandic Road Trip – Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall

  1. Such a pity that you didn’t like Dettifoss so much. For me it’s the most impressive waterfall in Iceland. The power of it blowed me away as I saw the fall. We had bright sunshine and it was a really goosebump experience.


    • Yeah, I know it’s a shame, but I really felt that way. I was disappointed. I had this scene of prometheus in mind, a lot of expectations… and all we got was bad weather and cold bones, it was raining a lot that day. Maybe under better climatic conditions I would have had another feeling… :-)


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    • Oh Niagara are more powerful ! And Victoria is even more powerful than Niagara. This one is not that big, but it’s the most powerful waterfall of Europe with a flow of 500 cubic meters per second. For the comparison, I think Niagara is several thousands cubic meters per seconds :-)


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  4. Another amazing visit! Maybe it was the mist created by the waterfall that stopped you from enjoying its beauty. But you are right. The second one looks pretty awesome!


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