- From their sheer beauty to their immense power, waterfalls are one of the most picturesque things in the natural world.
- Iceland’s Skógafoss waterfall is easily one of the most stunning falls in the world, with rainbows appearing on most days.
- Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world at an astounding 3,212 feet from a plateau on top of Auyán-Tepuí, which translates to “Devil’s Mountain.”
It’s hard not to be in awe of waterfalls.
From their sheer beauty to their immense power, they’re one of the most picturesque things in the natural world. And since most of us don’t see them nearly as often as we’d like, it’s even more special when we do.
Falls are sometimes found in remote locations, or they’re difficult to get to, or only flow seasonally, so it takes a lot of planning to be able to glimpse a view.
If you need some travel inspiration, here are 27 waterfalls you need to see at least once.
Iceland’s Skógafoss waterfall is easily one of the most stunning falls in the world, with rainbows appearing on most days. They can be viewed from the bottom or the top, after a 370-step climb. One of 22 waterfalls along the Skoga River, this 197-foot fall is especially unique because it flows directly from two glaciers.
Victoria Falls, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe
These well-known falls are on the Zambezi River, which forms the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. There are several viewing points for this incredible 354-foot fall, which can be seen at peak flow during the flood season in March and April. Although it’s not the tallest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is often referred to as “the greatest curtain of falling water in the world.”
Jog Falls, India
Also known as “Gerosoppa Falls” or “Joga Falls,” the Jog Falls are among the highest waterfalls in India at 830 feet. Like many falls on this list, their appearance can change seasonally. During monsoon season – July to September – the falls transform from several segmented falls to one plunge waterfall.
Niagara Falls, New York and Canada
Niagara Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the world, with about 30 million visitors a year. Those tourists are there to get a view of the three falls – Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil – that make up Niagara Falls. Horseshoe Falls, which lies on the Canadian side, is the tallest at 167 feet. An astounding amount of water crashes down the falls every second – 3,160 tons to be exact.
Pearl Shoal Waterfall, China
Pearl Shoal Waterfall is located in China’s Sichuan province, and is named for the pearl-like colours the thin water reflects in the sun when it flows over the shoal surface beneath it. The 130-foot falls are also tied to a fascinating legend of a young girl who pulled sacred water down from the mountain, creating the falls and a dense, beautiful forest.
Veliki Slap Waterfall, Croatia
Located near the border of Bosnia, Plitvice National Park is Croatia’s first national park and home to more than a dozen waterfalls of varying sizes. The largest is the Veliki Slap Waterfall at 255 feet. Visiting in the winter will give you a different view, as the falls partially freeze and become surrounded by snow and ice.
Palouse Falls, Washington
Palouse Falls are considered one of the last waterfalls still active from the Missoula floods, which occurred at the end of the last Ice Age. It was also designated as Washington’s state waterfall in 2014. The winding path of the Palouse River and the 200-foot plunge of the falls are a must-see for any history buff and waterfall fan.
Iguazu Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina
These massive and powerful falls are located in the Iguazu River, which forms the border of Brazil and Argentina. Collectively, they boast a height of around 269 feet and a staggering width of 1.7 miles. Depending on the time of year, there are around 275 separate falls that make up the waterfalls as a whole.
To put their size in perspective, they’re twice as tall as Niagara Falls and three times as wide. From November to March, enough water flows through the falls to fill five Olympic swimming pools. The Brazilian and Argentinian sides both offer completely different, yet both awe-inspiring, views of the falls.
Hanging Glacier, Chile
Chile’s Hanging Glacier is also called “Ventisquero Falls” after the explorer who discovered the wonder in 1875. This attraction – the most popular in Queulat National Park – is exactly what it sounds like – a glacier that “hangs” above a rock ravine, as water plunges down into a river located in a valley formed by mountains surrounding the glacier. Although visitors can see the falls at any time of the year, snow and ice largely cover them during the late spring and early summer.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world at an astounding 3,212 feet from a plateau on top of Auyán-Tepuí, which translates to “Devil’s Mountain.” In 2009, former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez declared the falls be called by their indigenous name, Kerepakupai Merú. The falls are so deep in the jungle that it’s nearly impossible to see them up close from the ground. Your best bet is to get a bird’s-eye view from a plane.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
A short drive from Portland, Multnomah Falls is one of the few falls that doesn’t dry up in the summer, although the flow is usually highest in the spring and winter. If tranquility is what you’re looking for, this might not be the right fall for you. It’s a popular tourist spot, bringing in more than two million visitors a year to see the 611-foot drop.
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
Kaieteur Falls are so impressive that it’s no wonder they remain the top-visited attraction in the country. Located in Kaieteur National Park, the falls consist of a single 741-foot drop. Since they are within the Amazon Rainforest, travelling there can be a challenge, but there are guided tours available.
Rhine Falls, Switzerland
Rhine Falls is not only the largest waterfall in Switzerland, it’s also very friendly to tourists. You can get an amazing view of the 75-foot-high fall, which flows heaviest in the summer, while standing on platforms that jut out over the Rhine River. While you’re there, make sure to see the castles near the falls – Worth and Laufen – which are reachable by river boat.
Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland
The Gullfoss Waterfall is truly a display of natural beauty. This multi-staged waterfall is in the Hvítá River and plunges 104 feet. It gets its water from the country’s second largest glacier, Langjökull. The fall can be visited on its own or as a part of Iceland’s famous Golden Circle tour.
Havasu Falls, Arizona
Located in the Grand Canyon as one of five of the Havasupai Falls, the Havasu Falls are among the most difficult on this list to visit. To see the 100-foot drop requires a 10-mile hike, in addition to a permit to visit the Havasupai Indian Reservation. There are other falls in the area that are easier to see, but the Havasu Falls are considered the most beautiful thanks to their signature turquoise water.
Wallaman Falls, Australia
Australia’s tallest single-drop waterfall, Wallaman Falls’ main drop is around 880 feet, not counting multiple smaller ledes. The falls are located in the Girringun National Park – which is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, a UNESCO World Heritage site – where camping and hiking is also available.
Huangguoshu Waterfall, China
The Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park contains eighteen different waterfalls, but its namesake fall is the most remarkable at 255 feet. One of the best views is from the Shuiliandong (or Water-Curtain) Cave just behind the fall.
Ban Gioc–Detian Falls, on the border of China and Vietnam
The Ban Gioc-Detian Falls are a set of two falls on the border of China and Vietnam. Known as Ban Gioc in Vietnam and Detian in China, they make up the largest border-shared waterfall in Asia, with a plunge of 98 feet.
The falls can be visited from either country, and each offers amazing views. The higher the water flow, the more they appear as one singular fall, which some argue isn’t as thrilling. Visitors are best off going between the months of May through July. Both hiking and rafting are great ways to see the falls.
Dettifoss is not only a beautiful waterfall, but it’s also said to be the most powerful in Europe, boasting the most volume out of any other falls on the continent. Every second 17,657 cubic feet of water gushes over the falls.
It can be viewed from within the Vatnajökull National Park, which has well-maintained trails leading to the waterfall. The 328-foot-wide falls drop from a height of 148 feet.
Taughannock Falls, New York
Taughannock Falls are located in an unsuspecting state park near Trumansburg, New York. With playgrounds, boating, picnic tables, and grills, it’s hard to believe it’s also home to a 215-foot waterfall. Some trails are closed seasonally, but the fall is usually accessible year-round.
Yosemite Falls, California
There are so many waterfalls in California’s Yosemite National Park that they haven’t even been counted. Out of all of them, Yosemite Falls is the most spectacular. At a height of 2,425 feet, it’s also the park’s tallest waterfall. Peak flow is in May, but the waterfall is viewable from November to July.
Sutherland Falls, New Zealand
The tallest waterfall in New Zealand, Sutherland Falls is an impressive 1,900 feet. The view is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, but you’ll have to really work for it. It’s a four-day hike via the Milford Track to get to the spot, or you can take a scenic flight if that’s more your speed.
Nuorilang Waterfall, China
Like the Pearl Shoal Waterfall, the Nuorilang fall is located in China’s Sichuan Province, near the city of Chengdu. It’s only 66 feet tall, but with a width of 885 feet, it’s the widest waterfall in China. Nuorilang reaches its strongest flow in the summer.
Nohkalikai Falls, India
These breathtaking falls are can be found in Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places on Earth. Despite being named after a dark legend that tells the story of a mother jumping down the waterfall to her death after her second husband killed her child, the falls are one of the most beautiful sites in India. The 1,100-foot plunge is best viewed in the fall.
Tugela Falls, South Africa
If you’ve never heard of Tugela Falls, it might surprise you to know that it’s actually the world’s second tallest waterfall with five different falls that drop a combined total of 3110 feet. The Royal Natal National Park where the falls are located can be visited year-round, but note that Tugela Falls is very dependent on the Tugela River, which can dry up at certain points throughout the year.
Gocta Cataracts, Peru
Despite being one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, the Gocta Cataracts remained a well-kept Peruvian secret until 2006, when a German economist working on a project in the area accidentally came across the falls on a hike. It’s a two-tiered waterfall that has a combined height of 2,531 feet.
This waterfall is a rare treat, as it’s only open to tourists from June 20th – August 20th each year. For the rest of the year, water from the massive 974-foot fall is channeled elsewhere for hydroelectric power, and visitors are prohibited. If your trip to Norway falls during those dates, you’ll be able to walk right up to the fall, providing an up-close view of its beauty.
- Read more:
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