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Dettifoss Waterfall is an impressive sight in northern Iceland’s wilds. This gigantic waterfall is sure to turn heads. Get ready to be engulfed in a sensory extravaganza as the powerful Jökulsá á Fjöllum river thunderously roars down into the depths below.

1. What is the Dettifoss Waterfall?

Dettifoss Waterfall

Dettifoss is a magnificent waterfall in northeastern Iceland in Vatnajökull National Park. Famously, these waterfalls are the most powerful in Iceland. Because of its massive size and stunning scenery, Dettifoss is an essential Icelandic natural landmark.

A renowned tourist spot in Iceland, it is known yearly for its breathtaking waterfall show. Dettifoss has two entrances, one on the east and one on the west. If you want to know which side is right, read on!

2. Could Dettifoss Be Europe's Most Powerful Waterfall?

Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

Located in Vatnajökull National Park in northeastern Iceland, Dettifoss Waterfall is a bold and imposing waterfall. It is famous for being Europe’s second-strongest waterfall, second only to Switzerland’s formidable Rhine Falls. However, regarding magnitude and volume, Dettifoss is undeniably the most magnificent waterfall in Europe, twice as tall as Rhine Falls.

3. Dettifoss Waterfall: How to Reach It?

Dettifoss, Iceland

Vatnajökull National Park is in northeastern Iceland, where you may find Dettifoss. It is located near the Mývatn Lake region. The following are the distances from the largest cities in Iceland:

• First, take the major route around Iceland, Route 1 (Ring route), and proceed northeast. Keep going on Route 1 until you see the signpost for the detour to Dettifoss, which may be found on either Route 862 (West Side) or Route 864 (East Side).
• The paved path 862 leads to the West Side, while the more steep and unpaved route 864 leads to the East Side of Dettifoss.
• Dettifoss may be reached from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, by traveling about 470 kilometers (292 miles).
• Distance from Akureyri: Approximately 135 kilometers (84 miles). The estimated travel time is two hours.

4. The East vs. The West Side

Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland
Here is some bad news if you’re considering doing both sides. Near the waterfall, no bridge or other means of crossing the river exists. Half the sixty kilometers (37 miles) between the East and West sides are dirt roads.

The West Side

The more common perspective offers the frontal perspective, as shown in images. You can see the waterfall from several perspectives; it’s easier to reach and has several vistas. Going upstream towards Selfoss, you may also access the West Side. This site is paved throughout, making it easier to access. In addition to plenty of parking, there are bathrooms and other amenities.

The East Side

The East Side is a good place to go if you want that one shot that’s just right. From this vantage point, you may approach the waterfall from a different angle than the other side and get somewhat closer to it. However, in contrast to the Western Side, there won’t be a great deal of perspective diversity here. Restrooms are close to the parking area, although the road leading to this side is unpaved.

Cross the West Side of Dettifoss by Hiking

The walk up to the waterfall is only 1 kilometer long and quite level. Since it is walled in, no one should be able to stray off the clearly specified route. Please do not stray away from the marked paths, as the terrain can be very dangerous, and you should take all the precautions necessary not to put yourself in danger.

After 400 meters, the road will fork; take the right fork to reach Selfoss. It is not particularly important in whichever sequence you visit them, but we still suggest going to both. Just because the route finishes at a viewpoint doesn’t mean you can walk to Selfoss. The viewpoint is still quite a ways from the waterfall.

5. Exploring Dettifoss

Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

At first glance, the terrain may seem barren, devoid of prominent features like mountains or trees. However, the scenery drastically changes after a short walk, and the magnificent Dettifoss, the most breathtaking waterfall in Iceland, becomes apparent.

Surprisingly, Iceland’s apparently ordinary landscapes are full of surprises, as the harsh surroundings give way to a dramatic and breathtaking natural spectacle.

A maze of walkways, lookouts, and decks awaits you on the west side of Dettifoss, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in its breathtaking splendor. You may feel the waterfall’s majesty and power by taking the lower routes or climbing to the higher vistas for a broader view.

Suppose you are curious about other falling wonders, as we call waterfalls around here. In that case, we highly encourage you to check out our other articles about Iceland, especially the one detailing the biggest, most beautiful waterfalls all around the country.

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