Dettifoss Waterfall, north-east Iceland

GPS POINTS N65° 48′ 51.619″ W16° 23′ 3.951″

Dettifoss Waterfall, north-east Iceland

Location: North-east Iceland
Directions on Google maps

Dettifoss is the waterfall with the greatest volume in Europe, with 500 cubic metres of water passing by, per second. It is also known to be the most powerful waterfall in the continent. Situated in the north of Iceland, Detifoss is fed by Jökulsá á Fjöllum, a dominant and all-powerful river glacier. Jökulsá á Fjöllum stems from Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in the country and Europe, in its entirety. This waterfall can be found in the Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland’s biggest natural park. This waterfall is also located north of the Ring road, the Icelandic main road. There are two routes that connect the road to Dettifoss.

Please note: Driving in the winter can be difficult, or even impossible, due to the adverse weather conditions. We recommend you contact travel agents/guides if you are interested in visting during winter time.

Road 864 goes from road 85 past Dettifoss on the east side towards road 1. This is a gravel road and driving speed depends on road conditions each time. Road 864 is closed during wintertime due to snow or wet conditions (muddy road) and does not open until early summer (end of May).

For the biggest part of it, road 862 on the west side of Dettifoss has been paved. The parts that have not been completed are gravel. From May-September, the road is passable for normal vehicles from Asbyrgi to Dettifoss, with Vesturdalur (Hljodaklettar) and Holmatungur between. The conditions of gravel roads in Iceland can vary, so travelers are asked to be aware of road conditions at any time and adjust the driving speed to the conditions.

Dettifoss is part of The Diamond Circle and therefore surrounded by spectacular attractions. The largest urban area closest to Dettifoss is Akureyri, which has often been called the capital of the north. Traveling in Akureyri itself is interesting enough to spend a day or two walking in different parts of town. In the center you’ll find interesting galleries, shops and restaurants. The church of Akureyri sits on a hill above the center and not far from the church is The Akureyri Botanical Garden, known for its beautiful walking paths and luxuriant flora.

Most people who visit Dettifoss are either coming from there or from the east, from Egilsstaðir town. Another town that is worth visiting, and is close to Dettifoss, is Húsavík. The town is most famous for whale watching and fun museums, including The Eurovision Museum.

On The Diamond Circle you will also find other magnificent waterfalls, such as Goðafoss, one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland and clearly one of the most popular attractions in the north.

Lake Mývatn is another paradise worth mentioning. Mývatn offers a unique natural environment and exceptional routes and walkways that will lead you to areas and open spaces you hardly ever will forget. The landscape itself was formed by volcanic eruptions giving the whole area an “out of space” feeling to it. Birdlife by the lake is abundant and you will get the chance to examine all the unique natural phenomena that characterizes the area, once you are actively exploring Lake Myvatn and its surroundings.

When visiting the Myvatn area, you will definitely be interested in checking out Dimmuborgir,The Dark Fortress at Mývatn, a true wonder of nature and nowhere else to be seen in the world, i.e on dry land. The Dimmuborgir area consists of a massive, collapsed lava tube formed by a lava lake flowing in from a large eruption in the Þrengslaborgir and Lúdentsborgir crater row to the East, about 2300 years ago.