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Dettifoss

  • Iceland

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 23 April, 2024

Iceland isn’t short on waterfalls, but precious few can match mighty Dettifoss for sheer, jaw-dropping power.

100m wide and 45m high, the falls handle about 400 cubic metres of water every second – the largest volume of any waterfall in Europe – creating a vast plume of spray that can be seen for miles around. It’s quite a sight, and the sound as it echoes from the surrounding canyon walls can be utterly deafening.

When conditions are just right, you’ll see double rainbows lighting up the falls. Film buffs might recognise it – it’s been used by many big-budget movies, including Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The falls are an easy 25km detour off Highway 1. Look out for the signed turn-off onto Rte 862 about 28km east of Myvatn. The road is usually closed in winter due to snowfall. Many organised tours visit the site, but at present there are no scheduled public buses.

When to do it

The falls are theoretically accessible year-round if you have a 4×4, but practically, the only sensible time to visit is from April or May to October or November, depending on seasonal snowfall. Come early or late in the day to dodge the inevitable crowds.