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Dettifoss, which means “tumble falls,” is the largest waterfall on the island and the most powerful in Europe, with an average flow of 200 cubic metres of water per second. This force is not because of the fall’s height but its width. Spanning 100 metres wide and 45 metres high, Dettifoss is gigantic. The greyish colour of the water comes from sand and rocks that get picked up along the way.
Two individuals capturing photos of Dettifoss, recognized as the most powerful waterfall in Iceland.

Dettifoss, a powerful and iconic waterfall located in northeastern Iceland, is renowned for being one of the most voluminous waterfalls in Europe and for its impressive size and thunderous flow. Dettifoss is in Vatnajökull National Park and offers visitors a mesmerising display of nature’s raw power.

Dettifoss is situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which originates from the Vatnajökull glacier. The waterfall is located in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park, within the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. The waterfall is 28 kilometres south of Ásbyrgi. From Ásbyrgi and Route 85, head south on Route 862 on the west side of the river Jökulsá. Route 862 is a gravel road between Route 85 and Dettifoss.

There are two main viewing points for Dettifoss. One is located on the east side of the river and offers a panoramic view of the waterfall from a distance. The other, located on the west side, provides a closer view and a chance to witness the powerful flow up close.

Attractions Near Dettifoss

Vatnajökull National Park

Dettifoss is located within Vatnajökull National Park, encompassing diverse landscapes, including glaciers, waterfalls, canyons, and geothermal areas.

Selfoss Waterfall

Selfoss is another impressive waterfall located upstream from Dettifoss on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. It features a series of cascades and unique rock formations. Visitors can hike to Selfoss from Dettifoss, enjoying the scenic surroundings.

Ásbyrgi Canyon

Ásbyrgi is a horseshoe-shaped canyon that’s a short drive from Dettifoss. It’s a unique geological formation with towering cliffs and lush vegetation. The area is famous for hiking and offers stunning views from the canyon’s rim.


Hljóðaklettar, also known as the “Echo Rocks,” is an area of unique basalt columns and rock formations located near Ásbyrgi. It’s an excellent place for hiking and exploring surreal geological features.


Húsavík is a charming town known as the “Whale Watching Capital of Iceland.” It’s located on the shores of Skjálfandi Bay and offers whale-watching tours, a whale museum, and a picturesque harbour.

Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon

The canyon in which Dettifoss is situated, Jökulsárgljúfur, is a unique geological feature with dramatic cliffs and landscapes. It’s a part of Vatnajökull National Park and offers various hiking opportunities.

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