Dettifoss is a spectacular waterfall, located in the surreal lunar landscapes of the enormous Vatnajökull National Park. At 330 feet (100 metres) wide and with an 144 foot (44 metre) drop, the waterfall stands out for being the second most powerful in Europe in terms of water flow!
Seeing the raging waters of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River cascading in the middle of such wild scenery makes visiting Dettifoss an excellent stop on your trip around Iceland.
Just a few kilometres from Dettifoss is Selfoss, a smaller but equally mesmerising waterfall. It can be reached on foot, hiking on a stony but accessible path. The reward for your walk is a beautiful waterfall flowing down dramatic basalt columns.
How to visit Dettifoss?
Due to its location "in the middle of nowhere" and the poor condition of the roads that lead to it, some people choose not to include Dettifoss on their route through Iceland, therefore missing out on one of the country's most outstanding natural wonders.
If you haven't booked an organised excursion to visit the falls, the only way to visit is by rental car: however, it can only usually be visited during the summer months between July and August. There are three different routes:
- Route 862 from Ásbyrgi: to reach Dettifoss from the north of Iceland, it's a 45 minute drive on Route 862. The road is semi-paved and usually open from June to the end of September.
- Route 862 from Reykjahlid: if you're staying in Reykjahlid, drive along the Ring Road to Route 862, which you'll take for another 25 minutes until reaching Dettifoss car park. This section of the road may even be closed in summer, so always check the state of the roads in advance.
- Route 864: while normally open from the end of May until the beginning of October, this road is only suitable for off-road vehicles.