Waterfalls are a phenomenon of nature, when water flows almost vertically into a plunge pool. The most beautiful waterfalls in the world are known for their stunning locations and impressive volume of water discharge.
Put these amazing waterfalls from around the world on your bucket list.
The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in the World
Some countries like Iceland and the United States are blessed with many spectacular waterfalls. For example, the U.S. state of Oregon has over 238 waterfalls.
It’s thought that there are as many as 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland! That’s mainly due to the amount of snow and rain falling onto glaciers.
When Should You Visit Waterfalls?
Most of the natural wonders listed here are impressive waterfalls at any time of year. However, some of them are seasonal waterfalls which are at their best in the rainy season.
Early Spring is a good time to visit waterfalls. By Autumn, some of their water may have dried up.
27. Skógafoss Waterfall
One of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, Skógafoss is 25 meters wide and has a 60 meter drop. The word foss means waterfall in Icelandic and skógur means forest.
You can walk right up to these falls via a flat path. There’s so much water spray that you may well get soaked!
You’ll also find a pathway with steps leading up to an observation platform.
26. Burney Falls
Situated within McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Shasta County, California, these falls are surrounded by lush forests. They’re not particularly high at 35 meters but they’re very scenic. Former President Theodore Roosevelt called them the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Thanks to the park’s underground springs, there’s a constant water flow throughout the year. A short paved trail leads to the base of the falls at Lake Britton.
25. Erawan Falls
Located within Erawan National Park in Thailand, this multi-tiered waterfall is surrounded by beautiful foliage. There are seven levels to explore, although the path is quite tricky to reach the top tiers.
In several of the tiers, fish nibble at your feet so you get a free fish pedicure ;-). As well as the falls, there are some limestone caves to explore in the park.
The Waterfall of the Gods, these curved Icelandic falls are 12 meters high and 30 meters wide. With a convenient location on the main ring road, Godafoss is a popular attraction on the Diamond Circle route.
Water from the Skjálfandafljót river pours over the edge into a canyon that’s around 100 meters wide.
23. Konoko Falls
One of the most fun things to do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Konoko Falls is a waterfall that you can climb up! We’d never tried this before, but with the help of a local guide we made it to the top in one piece ;-).
Water shoes are a must and you can cool off in the natural pool at the top. Walk down the stairs to the bar at the bottom for a refreshing Red Stripe Jamaican beer.
22. Bigar Cascade Falls
Tucked away in the Anina mountains of Romania, these cascade falls are a hidden gem. Water flows over a carpet of green moss into the basin below.
There’s a rather sad legend associated with Bigar Waterfall. A young girl in love with a boy named Bigar was locked up by her family in a cave next to the falls. She transformed herself into a waterfall and the boy drowned in this water.
21. Multnomah Falls
One of the best waterfalls in Oregon, Multnomah Falls is popular with photographers. Benson Bridge makes a great focal point, although you can’t currently walk over it.
An easy 30 minute drive from Portland, Multnomah Waterfall is then just a five minute walk away. There’s a lodge and restaurant by the lower viewing platform.
Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland, as you can walk behind it. Located on the South Coast, Seljalandsfoss Falls are 60 meters high.
This gives a unique photo angle and means that these falls are popular with tourists. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall often freezes over in Winter, looking even more atmospheric.
19. Snoqualmie Falls
Over 1.5 million people visit Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State every year. This waterfall is 268 feet high and has an observation deck and gift shop.
You can drive right up to these falls, although there’s also a 1.6 mile hiking trail to the base. Stay at Salish Lodge & Spa, the inspiration behind Twin Peaks which features in the opening credits of the hit show.
18. Torc Waterfall
This cascade waterfall in County Kerry, Ireland is just 5 minutes walk from the N71 road. Around 70 meters high, Torc Falls are a must see if you’re visiting Killarney National Park.
These falls are best viewed after heavy rain. There’s only a small car park so it’s best to visit in the morning before any crowds arrive.
17. Salt Creek Falls
One of the highest single-drop waterfalls in Oregon, Salt Creek Falls cascades 286 feet. The water flows over a basalt ledge into a canyon in Willamette National Forest.
The approximate annual volume of water is 250 cubic feet per second. There are two hiking trails – a 3.4-mile loop and a 6-mile semi-loop hike which both leave from the interpretive kiosk .
Located in the Golden Circle area of Iceland, the Golden Waterfall cascades for 32 meters down Hvítá river canyon. We were glad to have dressed in waterproof outfits for our visit, as you can get very wet!
There are two impressive cascades at Gullfoss Falls. One of these is 11 meters long and the second is 21 meters long. In Summertime, around 140 cubic meters of water pour down, compared to roughly 109 cubic meters in Winter.
15. Ban Gioc-Detian Falls
Also known as Virtuous Heaven Waterfall, this is actually two waterfalls. Located on the border between China and Vietnam, Ban Gioc Detian Falls are generally busier on the Chinese side.
Therefore if you want to get the best photos, we recommend heading to the Vietnamese section. Measuring 30 meters high and 300 meters wide, Ban Gioc Detian Falls have a deep pool over 200 meters wide at their base.
14. Bridal Veil Falls
Rather confusingly, there are several Bridal Veil Falls in the world – in fact there are 39 in the USA alone! Bridal Veil Falls in New Zealand is located in the picturesque Waikato region.
55 meters high, Bridal Veil waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation and abundant wildlife. Bridal Veil Falls Walkway is an easy 0.8 mile trail with quite a few steps towards the bottom.
13. Jog Falls
Situated on the Sharavathi River, Jog Falls is the second highest plunge waterfall in India, after Nohkalikai Falls. Plunge waterfalls drop vertically without touching the cliff face.
Also known as Gersoppa Falls and Jogada Gundi, this natural phenomenon discharges around 3.4 million tonnes of water every second.
There are four cascades in all: Raja, Rani, Rocket and Rover. Around the falls, the forests are popular with hikers.
With a height of 253 meters, Jog Falls are at their best in monsoon season when water levels are at their highest.
12. Proxy Falls
One of the highest plunge waterfalls in Oregon, Proxy Falls drop 226 feet. Open seasonally, the best time to go is in Spring and mid week as there is limited car parking available.
Located off McKenzie Scenic Byway 242, there are two sections at Proxy Falls: Lower and Upper. Lower Proxy Falls are the most popular as you can get so close to the water.
They are reached by a family friendly 1.5 mile hike.
11. Tugela Falls
Situated within the Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, Tugela is one of the highest waterfalls in the world. The total drop is 947 meters, with an uninterrupted section measuring 411 meters.
The word tugela means something that startles, and these majestic falls are certainly an impressive sight. There are five tiers at this seasonal waterfall, which runs dry in Winter.
10. Havasu Falls
Located in the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Havasu is one of the most impressive American falls. Surrounded by travertine rock formations, Havasu waterfall is part of Havasupai Indian Reservation.
The word Havasupai actually means people of the blue-green waters. The color of the water comes from dissolved calcium carbonate.
You have to stay overnight in the canyon and book a hiking permit to visit. Swimming is allowed and it’s possible to go behind the base of the falls.
9. Kaieteur Falls
Nestled in the Amazon rainforest in Guyana, Kaiteur Falls are the world’s largest single drop waterfall by volume of water. The average flow rate is 663 cubic meters per second.
This huge waterfall is 741 feet tall, around four times the height of Niagara Falls. Located within Kaieteur National Park, the falls are just a 15 minute walk away from Kaieteur International Airport.
8. Plitvice Lakes National Park
The largest waterfall network in the world, with 90 waterfalls and 16 cascading lakes can be found in Croatia. Plitvice Waterfalls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, Plitvice are famous for the color of the water. The vibrant turquoise blue shade is caused by water pouring over limestone rocks, algae and mosses and algae, depositing calcium carbonate crystals.
You can visit the highest waterfall in Croatia at the Lower Lakes area. The Great Waterfall is 78 meters high and flows into the river Korana.
7. Rhine Falls
The most powerful waterfall in Europe, Rhine Falls are located on the High Rhine river in Switzerland. 150 meters wide, these scenic falls have a drop of around 30 meters.
They can be easily reached from Zurich, which is 35 kilometres away. You can then hike to the falls or take a boat tour on the Rhine.
After dusk, there’s an impressive light show that illuminates the waterfalls. May and June are great months to visit as the water flow is high at this time of year.
6. Sutherland Falls
On New Zealand’s South Island in Fiordland National Park you’ll find Sutherland Falls. One of the tallest waterfalls in New Zealand, they are 580 meters high.
These spectacular falls feature in the movie, The Hobbit during the eagle scene. They take their name from Donald Sutherland, a Scottish prospector who saw them in 1880.
You can reach the falls via the Milford Track. This hiking trail is quite challenging and the weather can be unpredictable, so come prepared.
5. Yosemite Falls
A popular attraction in Yosemite National Park, these are the highest falls in the area. The total drop is 2,425 feet.
However, there are actually three separate falls: Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet) and Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet). It’s a long, tough hike to the top of the falls, with the round trip taking between 6 to 8 hours.
This seasonal waterfall generally flows from November through July. The highest flow is in May.
4. Iguazu Falls
One of the most famous waterfalls in the world, Iguazu is located on the border of Argentina and Brazil in South America.
Flowing into the Iguazu river, Iguazu Falls is made up of over 250 different cascades. The tallest waterfall is named Devil’s Throat and has a drop of 269 feet.
The best views are generally considered to be on the Brazilian side. There are more panoramic viewpoints. You can also take a boat ride in Argentina or Brazil to get up close.
3. Niagara Falls
There are actually three waterfalls at this famous landmark in Ontario, Canada and New York State. These are the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls.
This powerful waterfall discharges over six million cubic feet of water every minute. There are some great vantage points on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
You can take a Made of the Mist boat ride from the American side of the falls. These tours run from April to October when weather conditions permit.
2. Angel Falls
The tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls is also the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. Located in Canaima National Park in Venezuela, this gigantic waterfall has a record breaking drop of 2,648 feet.
That’s around 15 times higher than Niagara Falls. There’s actually a taller waterfall that’s completely underwater, called The Denmark Strait Cataract, in the Atlantic Ocean which drops 11,500 feet.
To visit Angel Falls, you can take a one day boat ride from Canaima through Devil’s Canyon, or a flight from Ciudad Bolívar to Canaima followed by a trek.
These spectacular waterfalls take their name from Jimmie Angel, an American aviator who came across them in 1933.
1. Victoria Falls
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls is considered to be the biggest waterfall in the world. Situated on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is 1,708 meters wide.
Flowing into the Zambezi river, Victoria Falls has the highest volume of water from March to May. When the water flow is weaker in October and November, some daredevils swim in the Devil’s Pool at the base of the falls.
Which of these most beautiful waterfalls in the world is your favorite? Which ones are on your bucket list? For us, Plitvice is one we can’t wait to visit.
Let us know in the comments if you think there are any other incredible waterfalls that we should add.
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