Feel the force of the second most powerful waterfall in Europe.

North Iceland
The Dettifoss waterfall in autumn
A man standing in front of the Dettifoss waterfall
The Dettifoss waterfall in autumn
A man standing in front of the Dettifoss waterfall
The Dettifoss waterfall in autumn
Best time to visit
Every day
Charging station

Your guide to Dettifoss falls

Sitting on the Diamond Circle route in North Iceland, Dettifoss is a jaw-droppingly powerful set of falls that span over 100 meters (330 feet) in width. Dettifoss claims the title of most powerful waterfall in Europe, after Switzerland’s Rhine Falls.

Dettifoss is located in Vatnajökull National Park, a vast protected area that stretches all the way to Iceland’s south coast. The waterfall is one of several on the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, which ultimately runs into the remarkable Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.

The waterfall serves as the backdrop to the opening scene of the 2012 film Prometheus, where a human-like alien falls into the watery plume.

Other attractions near Dettifoss

The rocky Jökulsárgljúfur canyon


Marvel at one of the deepest canyons in Iceland.

20 km (12 mi)

Trees in the lush Ásbyrgi canyon


Venture to this odd-shaped canyon on the Diamond Circle route and discover its mythological connections.

30 km (19 mi)

Lake Mývatn in its autumn colors

Lake Mývatn

Explore otherworldly lava formations and get close to wildlife near this lush lake.

56 km (35 mi)

The harbor in the fishing village of Húsavík


Get up close to gentle giants on a boat tour from Iceland’s whale watching capital.

88 km (55 mi)


FAQs about Dettifoss

Nestled in one of the most unspoiled parts of Iceland, Dettifoss is worth visiting just to witness the force of the water tumbling down the 44-meter (145-foot) drop!

You’ll find Dettifoss in northeast Iceland, not too far from the Lake Mývatn area. The waterfall itself is fed by the Vatnajökull glacier. At its closest point, the glacier is 110 kilometers (68 miles) away as the crow flies.

Just north of Dettifoss is another handful of waterfalls: Hafragilsfoss, Réttarfoss, Urriðafossar, and Hólmárfossar. You can get to these from the east bank of the river, via road 864.

You can get to the west side of Dettifoss via road 862, a paved road that’s open year-round. It connects to the Ring Road (Route 1) in the south.

The east side of Dettifoss is reachable by road 864, which is a seasonal gravel road. Road conditions mean that this route is often closed in wintertime.

Both routes are just over 1½ hour’s drive east from the town of Akureyri in North Iceland.

The west bank of Dettifoss is more accessible, being on a tarmac road that’s open all year. On this side of the river there are also more parking spaces, a viewing platform, and plenty of walking trails.

Meanwhile, you can reach the east side of the river by driving on a gravel road. This means it’s best to visit in summer, and in a larger vehicle like a 4x4. That said, it’s easier to access the extra waterfalls further upstream from this side.

Dettifoss is often labeled as the second most powerful waterfall in Europe. It has a water flow of 193 cubic meters (6,800 cubic feet) per second.

When this is multiplied by the 44-meter (145-foot) fall distance, you get a figure that describes how powerful Dettifoss is.