Iceland has earned a reputation for breathtaking landscapes, and Sólheimajökull glacier is no exception. Nestled among black sand beaches, volcanoes and glaciers, two waterfalls await visitors: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The tumbling chutes are a reminder of the astounding powers of nature.
With a free fall of 3,212 feet (979 meters), Venezuela’s Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world. This hidden treasure has only been accessible to tourists since 1990. And even though there are many guided tours on offer, it’s not an easy place to reach. Nature lovers will first need to face the rather intricate route to Canaima with several domestic flight changes, before undertaking a four-hour river trip and a 90-minute hike through the jungle. However, the complex logistics are worth the impressive view of the water gushing over the Auyán-tepui mountain before plunging into Cañón del Diablo below.
Tucked in the jungle on the border of Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls has been a national park since 1934, and was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1984. The surrounding jungle is home to caimáns (a breed of reptile similar to alligators), ocelots, anteaters and jaguars.
According to Guarani legend, Iguaza Falls were created by a monstrous serpent called Boi. He was angry when a tribe leader canoed away with a girl who was supposed to be sacrificed to the serpent. Boi split the river in two, creating the waterfall and separating the lovers forever.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Located in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes is one of the oldest national parks of southeastern Europe. Deep in the woods, 16 lakes are connected by a series of picturesque waterfalls. Hiking trails were constructed in the 19th century, but the area was a secret and mysterious place before that. The local people called it “The Devil’s Gardens” and told tales of a wintery landscape filled with fairies and giants.
Today the park retains its fairytale charm. Informed hikers take their time and spend at least a half-day in each of the two sections of the park: Upper Lakes and Lower Lakes. The walks offer several ways to access the many waterfalls and lakes, and the combination of boardwalks, lookout points, shuttle buses and boats ensure that everyone can enjoy the views.
Arizona’s iconic Grand Canyon — one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World — is home to Havasupai Falls, which includes five dramatic blue-green waterfalls cascading over the Red Wall. The area is home to 639 members of the Havasupai Tribe, the traditional guardians of the Grand Canyon. The waterfall is only accessible by foot, but the sight is worth the 10-mile trek. The unusual rock formations and bright turquoise waters make it a visually stunning destination.
With the largest curtain of falling water in the world, Victoria Falls (another Natural World Wonder) is on the border of Africa’s Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is one of the most impressive waterfalls in existence. During the rainy season, travellers can see more than 17 billion cubic feet (500 million cubic meters) of water plummet over the edge. Local tribe Kololo-Lozi nicknamed this fierce phenomenon of nature “The Smoke That Thunders.”
There’s something about the sound of rushing water that quiets everyday troubles and inspires a feeling of complete relaxation. When it’s accompanied by stunning scenery, as is the case for these six waterfalls, you may never want to leave.
Written by Kamila Beyssembaeva
Headline image of Venezuela’s Angel Falls by Nils van der Burg