Dettifoss: Most Powerful Waterfall of Europe


Basic Information

The heavy flow of water from a height of 45 meters makes Dettifoss Waterfall as the most powerful waterfall in Europe. With the 100 meters wide stream, Dettifoss holds its reputation as the most voluminous waterfall in Iceland. Throughout the year, this giant waterfall draws the attention of travelers in huge numbers.  It is one of the attractions that complete the famous Diamond Circle of Iceland. The stunning waterfall is popular for its power rather than appearance. The mists from the water stream can be seen from miles away. The rainbows formed through this huge waterfall offer an amazing view. You can capture nature’s beauty during your visit to North Iceland. The source of this waterfall is the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River, a powerful river that flows from the largest glacier of Europe. This cascade throws water at a speed of 193 cubic meters per second, making it magnificent.

The thunderous waterfall is located in the northern region of Vatnajökull National Park that is the largest national park in Iceland. When you explore the nearby places of this waterfall, you will get a view of Selfoss and Hafragilsfoss waterfalls. The panoramic view of the mountains in the backdrop and waterfalls in the front will amaze you. There is a platform at the Dettifoss to get a complete view of the waterfall.

man standing in front of Dettifoss the most powerful waterfall in Europe

Places To Explore Around Dettifoss

Being a part of Diamond Circle, Dettifoss is surrounded by many tourist attractions. You can travel to Akureyri, the biggest settlement in North Iceland. This town is a hub to many cultural sites such as museums and botanical gardens. You can go whale watching and visit Akureyri church while exploring the fourth populous town of Iceland. Near the Dettifoss Waterfall, there is another town Húsavík that is regarded as the best whale watching town of Europe. You can get a glimpse of humpback and minke whales, harbor porpoises, and white-beaked dolphins. We also recommend the multi awarded GeoSea baths when visiting Húsavík. 

While traveling to Akureyri, you can stop at Lake Mývatn that is known to be the fourth largest water body of Iceland. This beautiful expanse is renowned for being home to birds of different species. Near the lake Mývatn, you can see the Dimmuborgir lava fields that is known as Black Fortress.

Dettifoss the most powerful waterfall in Europe during summer

Reaching Dettifoss Waterfall

Dettifoss is located around 530 kilometers from Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. If you are traveling to Dettifoss from Reykjavík, it will take around 7 hours. Drive on the Ring Road route number 1 from Reykjavík towards the north. Cross the towns of Borgarnes, Laugarbakki, and Varmahlíð and reach Akureyri. From Akureyri, the Dettifoss waterfall is 2 hours away through Þjóðvegur road to Hólsfjallavegur. After passing the sign of Mývatn, turn onto route number 862. This gravel road will lead you to the west bank of Dettifoss. The condition of the gravel path can vary from season to season but be cautious while traveling at any time of the year. We always recommend that you check out the road conditions before heading out for a winter adventure at Dettifoss. Parking space at this waterfall is free and can accommodate a large number of vehicles.

Man standing in front of Dettifoss waterfall the most powerful waterfall in Europe

Best Time To Visit Dettifoss

During the winter season, the path near the waterfall becomes slippery so it cannot be accessed without the aid of crampons and traction cleats. The water freezes and icicles hang from the rocks during the cold months. In the summer months, the waterfall is mightiest with an average flow of 400 cubic meters per second. Visiting the Dettifoss waterfall during the summer is convenient as the roads may get closed during winter. Just be careful while climbing the steps as it can be icy. Bring proper clothing according to the weather and a pair of crampons for safe access to the waterfall.

You can plan a weekend road trip to North Iceland to cover the surrounding areas of Dettifoss. For accommodation, you will find many hotels, hostels, and guesthouses in the nearby towns of Akureyri and Húsavík.

Dettifoss the most powerful waterfall in Europe

Map of Dettifoss

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