The Reason Why You Should Visit Dettifoss Falls in Iceland
Updated: Aug 9
There is something almost magical in waterfalls. They got that something that makes everyone feel the urge to visit them and admire them. Waterfalls have been the protagonists of thousands of postcards, pictures, and images around the globe. They, somehow, get to delight whoever visits them. And sometimes, they leave them breathless for a moment. In some areas, waterfalls are the main and only reason tourists decide to come. That is precisely what happens to some regions of Iceland. This Nordic island is undoubtedly a paradise for waterfalls hunters and lovers. Have you heard about Detifoss falls before? If not, then stick around.
Everyone coming for a road trip wish to see at least one waterfall in Iceland. However, when you already see one, you always want more, and I bet you will find yourself adding them all to your bucket list even though you haven’t planned it before. When speaking of powerful and amazing waterfalls, it would be a crime not to mention Dettifoss falls in Iceland. Let’s then have a closer look at this cascade and learn where it is located and how to get there and basically why you should visit this specific water beast.
Where is Dettifoss in Iceland?
Iceland is home for over 10.000 waterfalls. That sounds incredible, right? It is then almost impossible to see all of them on just one trip. Therefore, when planning your itinerary in Iceland, it becomes essential to get familiar with the most famous waterfalls. One of them is the mentioned Dettifoss waterfall. It is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe, which makes this spot even more popular, so do not be surprised if you meet other tourists enjoying the fantastic views.
Dettifoss waterfall is a part of the most famous route after the Golden Circle - the Diamond Circle. It is around 260 km long route, full of amazing places where you can see the real nature of Iceland. Dettifoss is located in the North of Iceland, and it is part of the Jokulsa a Fjollum river. The source of the river is Europe’s largest glacier: Vatnajokull glacier. The waterfall itself belongs then to the Vatnajokull National Park. It is around 75 kilometers away from lake Myvatn, so if you are traveling to Askja, Dettifoss should be your next stop.
How to get to the Dettifoss waterfall?
It is rather easy to reach this place. If you are not planning to rent your vehicle for the trip, you can join one of the many tour agencies offer to the area. In case you are coming to Dettifoss in your rental vehile, there are two routes you can choose. The final decision depends on which side of the waterfall you wish to see and the preferred perspective to admire the waterfall.
If you decide to choose the Westside, you will need to follow the road 862, which is considered to be the easier route. You will start your trip on the well known Ring Road, road no.1, and then turn into road 862; you should then continue for around 22 kilometers. You will finally reach the parking area from where you can expect only a short walk of about 15 minutes to get to the waterfall. The parking here is free of charge, and you will also be able to find toilets here.
The other route is to get to the eastern bank of the waterfall. That involves road 864, which is an entirely unpaved road- a gravel road. If you choose this route, prepare yourself for a bumpy ride. You should check before traveling on this road if it is open on the date of your trip. Due to harsh weather and road conditions, some parts can be closed. When you get to the east side, you will as well find here a parking lot where you can leave your vehicle free of worry.
Dettifoss waterfall facts
Dettifoss is only 45 meters high and 100 meters long.
The average flow of water comes to about 400 cubic meters per second on summer days. It can get a more powerful stream during periods of heavy rain and floods. That makes Dettifoss the most powerful waterfall and helps much in locating him. You will hear the falling water far before you will even spot the waterfall. You can feel its power when touching the stream running by the rocks; you will feel how it makes them vibrate.
Dettifoss takes its power from the second longest river in Iceland- river Jökulsá á Fjöllum which is a glacial river. The river has its commence in the Vatnajokull glacier.
Fans of the Prometheus movie will recognize this place int he first minute! It served as a background of the first scene. I think that Dettifoss played a significant part here. That is why I had to watch the first scene twice because I could only focus on the swirling tons of water falling and crushing against the rocks.
On the west side of the waterfall, you will find the view platform, which will let you stand just in front of the waterfall. Be careful as the steps might be wet and slippery.
Around 20 minutes walk away from the Dettifoss waterfall; there is another one waiting for you to explore- the Selfoss waterfall. It is not that powerful as our main character of this post, but when you are already in the area, it is worth to visit it. The walk is rather lovely and enjoyable, especially when the weather is favorable. The view from the east side is slightly better.