Exploring Iceland’s Waterfalls
April 2017, by David Britnell
I spent 5 days in Iceland by myself circumnavigating the Ring Road, along with a few detours, and was able to see some incredible waterfalls. Below are my favorite waterfalls I was able to visit, some tips on reaching them, and tips on how best to photograph waterfalls. I created daily vlogs that you can check out here.
I arrived at Seljalandsfoss just before sunrise which is great timing for two reasons when shooting a waterfall like this. For one I had the place almost completely to myself, making it very easy to get good wide shots without crowds. Second it meant that the light wasn’t too harsh making for nicer pictures.
I was very fortunate with the timing of my arrival here, the light was just right to create some incredible rainbows in the spray coming from the waterfall. One of my biggest tips for photographing a popular location is to find a different angle to shoot from.
Just after sunrise I drove around a corner, saw this waterfall, and knew I had to stop. Something I recommend having for shooting waterfalls is good Polarizing and ND filters.
I came across this waterfall just as the sun was setting and decided to spend the night. This is a great option as well if you have time as it allows you to shoot it during sunset and sunrise.
This is one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls and for good reason, it is absolutely beautiful and the neighboring Kirkjufell Mounain is stunning as well. I had scheduled a shoot here with Kyle and Kelly who were on their honeymoon and we had a great time getting some gorgeous and unique shots. Parking is very difficult here so I would recommend allowing plenty of time for a visit.
This was definitely the most difficult to find but well worth it. The color was stunning and because it was so secluded there weren’t any crowds.
Will Glacier waterfalls disappear?
November 2016, by Olaf Helwig
There is a lot of research done what the effect of global warming is on glaciers. The amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide is one of them) is rapidly growing. The average worldwide temperature has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 °C over the past century.
Places where the consequences of global warming is clearly visible is on the polar ice cap and glaciers. Especially glaciers in Austria are melting rapidly.
Many waterfalls (the best ones) are fed by melting ice from glaciers in the summer months. But for how long?
In 2015 I was in Austria and the temperature was for weeks above the 30C. I was already worried about the rapidly melting of glaciers, but 2015 was a very bad year.
A higher CO2 emissions and the global warming has dramatic consequences. After some research I discovered the following:
The rainfall in Austria, in the last two years, was approximately 40% lower than previous years and in summertime there was an enormous increase in temperatures. With these two facts you can make a conclusion that this is not good for the existence of glaciers.
One of the most famous waterfalls in Europe is supplied by a small glacier, the Krimmler Kees. The Krimmler Wasserfälle is one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Austria and I enjoy it every time (five time until now) I visited the waterfalls. The only question is for how long?
On the short term I don’t worry to much, but the power of the Krimmler Wasserfälle will decrease in a high temp in in a few decades. That is also the reason why I post this photo of the Krimmler Wasserfälle, enjoy the waterfall now it is still possible.
If you wan’t to react or want to add something to this article please email me on the contact page.
Superb waterfall road Norway
July/August 2016, by Olaf Helwig
If you don’t have much time but you want to see several extremely beautiful waterfalls, then road r13 in Norway is without a doubt the best road you can take. It depends on how much time you have and if you like hiking what I should recommend.
For people who don’t want to spend much time with firm hikes but like driving: start at the Langfoss (near Etne), at road E134. From here drive east to Skare and then north to Odda on to the Voringfossen (road 7) as endpoint.
On this route of 123 kilometer you drive along at least eight waterfalls that are in my top 20-most beautiful waterfalls in Norway:
Langfoss>Skare>Espelandsfossen & Låtefossen>Vidfossen>Strandsfoss & Tjørnadalsfossen (10 min walk)>Odda>Ædnafossen>Skrikjofossen>Vøringsfossen.
There are some alternative side roads you can take to visit more waterfalls:
- In Odda drive into the Jordalen and visit the Buarfossen at the end of the valley (+ 10 km)
- In Odda drive to Sundal (Toll in the Folgefonnatunnel) and the gorgeous Furebergfossen (+50 km)
- In Kinsarvik drive to the Tveitafossen (+ 8 km) and for hikers, three extremely powerful waterfalls in the Husedalen(5-6 hrs RT)
- In Eidfjord drive to the Skytjedalsfossen in the Simadalen (+ 28 km)
- In Ovre Eidfjord to the Vedalsfossen & Beraskødalfossen (+ 12 km) and hikers can take the walk to the Valursfossen (2,5 hrs RT)
I don’t think there is an area or a road with such a high density of waterfalls.
Vettisfossen, the most beautiful waterfall in Norway
June 2016, by Olaf Helwig
I am writing/creating a book about the most beautiful waterfalls in Norway but I want to create my book with suggestions from readers. I think it is better to let people decide which waterfalls are favorite, instead of a personal opinion.
After an inquiry (poll) in the months April and May 2016, among travelers and inhabitants of Norway, 20% of the people rated the Vettisfossen as the most beautiful waterfall in Norway. That is 6% more then the the number two “most beautiful waterfall in Norway, the Avdalsfossen. Both waterfalls are located in the Utladalen near the town of Øvre Ardal (Sogn og Fjordane).
For more informations or statistics about the poll “most beautiful waterfalls in Norway”, please contact me on the contact page.
Renewed website “European waterfalls”
March 2016, by Olaf Helwig
It took a while, but after various setbacks making a new design for my “European waterfalls”, we managed to make a new website with more features and which is more transparent. Waterfalls are now easier to find through a search box on every page and in the sidebar you can directly select a country. Furthermore waterfalls can also be selected by region (of a country) and the listing on a page is improved.
Soon more pages will be added such as photo pages per country, general information about waterfalls by country, top 10 lists of highest waterfalls in a country, the most beautiful waterfalls in a country and the most powerful waterfalls in a country.
All information I provide has the intension to inspire people and to give practical information such as; which waterfall is beautiful, where is a beautiful waterfall, how to get to a waterfall, how long a walk takes and is it easy to visit a waterfall with children. I also will give tips when the best time is to visit waterfalls and where viewpoints are.
At a later stage I will also add videos of several waterfalls I visited. With pictures and video you will have a better picture which waterfalls are interesting and worthwhile to visit.
Unfortunately not each waterfall is provided with complete information, but this is a process that can take years. There are more than 2.000 waterfalls in my database and it takes time to do research and to complete all information. Especially if it is in a language that does not use a western/latin alphabet where characters are not recognizable. At this moment information in the following countries are reasonable in order: Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, Croatia and Slovenia. The information about waterfalls in Switzerland and the United Kingdom are completed for approximately 50%. There is a long way to go.
Waterfalls in Croatia & Austria
July 2015, by Olaf Helwig
The summer of 2015 is an extremely hot summer in Europe. We (my wife and daughter) planned a tour along several capitols in Eastern Europe, Croatia and Austria. The first stop is Prague, a beautiful city with a lot of culture. After that Vienna, Budapest (my favourite city) and then the coast of Croatia. It is a summer with a long period with temperatures between 32-37C. The coolness of sea is a relief and we enjoyed the cheap food and being lazy.
From Sibenek (close to our stay) it is a short drive to the national park Krka with its numerous waterfalls. On Wednesday the first stop was the most beautiful waterfall in Croatia called Skradinski Buk. With a bus you have to drive from the parking to the entry of the park. After that a short (but very warm) walk will take you to the first viewpoint of the upper part of Skradinski Buk. After a short descent you will arrive at a bridge in front of the waterfall. The view is magnificent and it is possible to swim in front of Skradinski Buk. The waterfall is 12 meters high and 40 meters wide.
After enjoying the view and cooling down in the water we decided to drive further following the river Krka to the source: Krčić Slap (near Knin). Unfortunately Krčić Slap is only flowing after a long wet period. Nevertheless a perfect site to visit and again a nice place to swim.
We drove back to Sibenik visiting several waterfalls along the route (but not all): Brljana Slap and Manojlovac Slap. Again beautiful waterfalls, a visit worthwhile. We missed some waterfalls because of a lack of preparation.
The following week we proceded our long journey to north to Austria, but the temperature didn’t lowered. I stayed in Austria for 6 days especially for searching waterfalls in western Tyrol and Vorarlberg. Without a doubt my visit to the Krimmler Wasserfälle was the highlight of my stay in Austria. A beautiful walk leads along several drops, together called the Krimmler Wasserfälle. The Krimmler Wasserfälle is the most beautiful and most powerful waterfall in Austria with a big change of seeing rainbows in the enormous powerful waterfalls.
After this I pulled westward to the Stubai Valley where I first came along the beautiful Mischbachfall, visible from the roadside. A short walk takes you to a good viewpoint, perfect for taking pictures. I was too impatient to climb up to another viewpoint so I drove on to the gigantic Grawafall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Austria. The force of the water was visible from a distance. A short walk takes you to a platform where you enjoy the view in a wooden sun chair!
My next stop brings me to the Otztal with a lot of huge and beautiful waterfalls, highly recommended again. And with with (again) one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Austria: the Stuibenfall. Other big waterfalls were waiting for me down the valley: Lehnerfall, Tumpener wasserfall and Rotmoos wasserfall. There are too many waterfalls to mention them all, but the Otztal is one of the best valleys in Austria when you like waterfalls.
In addition to the Otztal, the Pitztal (with five waterfalls) is also worthwhile mentioning. The best waterfall I guess is the Pfitschebach wasserfall or maybe the Bichler wasserfall. Both are gorgeous waterfalls worthwhile visiting.
The next two days I headed to the region around Lech (Vorarlberg) with many, less powerful, waterfalls. But this will not mean those waterfalls were not gorgeous. Later on I will add an article specially about waterfall around Lech.
3 days Norway chasing waterfalls
May 2015, by Olaf Helwig
Because I usually have a two week holiday in May, in 2015 I wanted to go on a waterfall journey somewhere in Europe. I had three options: Norway, Slovenia/Italy or Austria. A few days before the start of my holiday, I watched the weather throughout Europe and Norway was the best option. Although the temperatures were not very high, May is normally one of the driest months. Later on I discovered that Springtime had been very cold and there wasn’t much melted snow and ice in the rivers feeding all those waterfalls in Norway.
From the Netherlands I drove to the north of Denmark where a ferry leaves to Langesund in Norway (very cheap), some 150 kilometer south of Oslo. A perfect start for my trip, I thought … The weather was perfect, sunny and approximately 11C.
The first waterfall I wanted to visit was the 100 meter high Rjukanfossen in Rjukan / Tinn. This was the first waterfall with no water in it. A little bit disappointed or better disillusioned and angry with myself I drove like crazy to Roldal not far from the famous Langfoss. I stayed the night here.
The next day I was awake very early (it is short time dark in Norway in May) and at 8.15 in the morning I arrived at the Langfoss, which was still in the shadow, but I had no hurry. It was still cold and after an hour waiting for the sunrise I took several pictures.
I drove back to road 13, on to the Låtefossen/Espelandsfoss, Vidfossen, Tjornadalsfoss and all those other amazing waterfalls along road 13. My main goal was to walk to four huge waterfalls (Tveitafossen, Nyastølfossen, Nykkjesøyfossen and the most beautiful one Søtefossen) in the Husedalen near Kinsarvik. But again a big disappointment, there was no water in the otherwise mighty Tveitafossen. I did not made an effort look upstream because there simply was no water in the river.
I started to get the feeling that I would be disappointed more often. I decided to estimate which waterfall was worthwhile visiting and which waterfall I never visited. Fortunately the Ordalsfossen, Steindalsfossen and Fossen Bratte were quite a good choice and I was able to make beautiful pictures. Though I did have some trouble getting at the Ordalsfossen because of the amount of snow.
I had read that the waterfalls in the Geiranger Fjord were beautiful in May. A nice ride, but I had the time. I decided to stay at the campground down the Tvinnefossen, which otherwise was quite powerful, but definitely not at its best in May.
From now on everything would go differently than I had imagined. Several roads were closed and because my Norwegian was not too good, I was confronted with a closed road at roadblock. Maybe I should had prepared myself better for this journey! This happened twice to me and after visiting the Buldrefossen, buried under the snow, I decided to drive back to the Netherlands. Do not get me wrong, I also visited several waterfalls that were worthwhile (Stalheimsfossen / Sivlefossen, Kjelsfossen, Rjoandefossen, Turlifossen, Stodnafossen), but I think I got a little homesick to. Travelling alone has its advantage, but when getting disappointed several time there is nobody saying “what the heck, there are still so many beautiful things in Norway, just enjoy”.
After 3 days of traveling through the south of Norway, where I drove more than 1.500 kilometer in Norway and again 1.600 kilometer to arrive in Norway, it was a damn expensive 3 days in Norway but looking back quite nice.