Ten of the World’s Most Awe-Inspiring Waterfalls
The world is full of mesmerizing scenes, and water falls are no exception. Across the globe you can find them at varying heights, varying locations, varying power, but each one seems to have its own appeal and impact on the viewer.
Getting close to nature and marveling at its beauty can present many health benefits and serves as a great escape from city life. Don’t we all need that break every now and then? Relaxing beside and taking in the sound of the powerful water rushing through the falls has many proven benefits, such as improved mood and mental health and stress reduction. It also serves to give your lungs a breath of fresh air. Admiring the majestic views will also help us realize how small we are and how big of a world we live in.
In contrast to TLC’s advice, I would recommend chasing waterfalls every chance that you get!
Here are ten of the world’s most awe-inspiring waterfalls you can visit:
Ranking as the world’s tallest waterfall, it is not hard to see why Angel Falls should be on your bucket list! The falls are named after Jimmy Angel, a US aviator who became the first person to fly over the falls in the 20th century. The waterfall drops over the edge of the Auyán-tepui mountain in the Canaima National Park in Venezuela.
Location: Auyán-tepui, Canaima National Park, Bolívar State, Venezuela
Height: 979 meters (3211 feet)
How to Get There: Accessing Angel Falls can be tricky, as it is not accessible by car and requires a bit of extra work. The falls is accessible by plane, boat, or a short hike to a view point once inside the park. By plane you will want to fly into the town of Canaima, Venezuela, which can be reached from Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela, or Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. Many have said the best way to view the falls from this point is to join a tour that will bring you to the falls as well as include accommodations, flights, and meals. While this water falls is more difficult to reach, it is well worth the effort!
Best Time to Visit: If visiting by foot, June through November is best to ensure the river height is high enough to reach the falls for those stunning views. If booking a fly over tour of the falls any time of year is good. The busiest times are the months of July & August and November through January, so those may be the months to avoid.
2.) Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls of Zambia is named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and it is not difficult to see why. Although not the tallest, Victoria Falls is considered the largest waterfall in the world. The falls was first discovered in 1855 by David Livingstone, a Scottish missionary who explored Africa. The falls produces a mist that can be seen from 30 miles away.
Location: Mosi-o-tunya Road, Livingstone, Zambia, Africa
Height: 108 meters (354 feet)
How to Get There: Arriving to Victoria Falls by flight is easy, with the Victoria Falls airport located just 11 miles from the falls. You can then visit the Victoria Falls National Park, which has 16 stops along the two mile long trail. Helicopter rides are also available for aerial views of the falls.
Best Time to Visit: The peak of Victoria Falls is April, the end of the rainy season. The best months to visit are February to May. The falls are at their lowest in October and early November, so this may be the time to avoid if you are looking to see the waters of the falls at their most powerful.
3.) Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls is one of the top attractions located in Yosemite National Park in California. Yosemite Falls is made up of three different falls, including the Upper Yosemite Falls, Middle Cascades, and Lower Yosemite Falls. The falls is the highest in the park and one of the main attractions that visitors set out to see.
Location: Yosemite Village, CA 95389, USA
Height: 739 meters (2424 feet)
How to Get There: You can travel throughout Yosemite National Park via car or shuttle bus, but some hiking will be required. If you choose, you can take the strenuous eight mile hike to the top of Yosemite Falls for stunning views. As an alternative you can hike the first two miles of the trail and still get some amazing views of the falls.
Best Time to Visit: The best months to visit are November through July, with peak flow in May.
4.) Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls consists of three water falls at the Southern end of the Niagara Gorge,and is located between the border of the United States and Canada. The falls are made up of the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Canadian Falls (or Horseshoe Falls). The falls are contributed with being the most powerful falls in North America. Throughout the years many daredevils have challenged the fury of the falls in various objects, such as barrels, in their attempts to survive the plunge. The falls have also become the sight of high wire attempts over the falls.
Location: Niagara Falls, NY 14303, United States and Ontario, Canada
Height: 51 meters (167 feet)
How to Get There: Niagara Falls is easily accessible in both New York and Ontario. Both sides of the falls have pathways accessible to the public by foot that will bring you up close to the falls. You can also access the falls from below via a boat ride or walking tour that goes up beside the falls on the American side and behind the falls on the Canadian side.
Best Time to Visit: The best months to visit Niagara Falls are June to August.
5.) Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls are located between the border of Argentina and Brazil along the Iguazu River, dividing the river into the upper Iguazu and lower Iguazu. . The falls are made up of 275 waterfalls or cataracts, with the tallest measuring 82 meters (269 feet). The falls were first discovered by a Spanish explorer, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca. The name comes from the Mbyá-Guaraní indigenous people, meaning big water.
Location: Puerto Iguazu, Misiones Province, Argentina and Foz de Iguazu, Brazil
Height: 82 meters (269 feet)
How to Get There: Iguazu is reachable by plane to neighboring towns, Foz do Iguaçu Airport (IGU) in Brazil and Cataratas del Iguazú (IGR) in Argentina. Day excursions into the National Parks are offered and an easy way to explore the falls. You can reach the parks and falls by car or bus as well.
Best Time to Visit: The best months to visit are from April to May and September to October, the weather will be good for exploring and the crowds will be less. November and December are the best months for peak flow of the falls due to higher rain levels.
6.) Skradinski Buk Falls
Skradinski Buk Falls is a series of multiple waterfalls spaced out over 450 meters (1476 feet). The falls are located within Krka National Park along the Krka river in Dalmatia, Croatia. The falls ends in a large pool, a popular place for swimming.
Location: Dalmatia, Krka National Park, Croatia
Height: Varies, with the tallest waterfall reaching 22 meters (72 feet).
How to Get There: The falls can be accessed within Krka National Park via boat, hiking, or biking. When arriving at Krka National Park, park in the parking lot near Lozovac, the main entrance of the park. The hiking trail down to the falls is mostly a wooden trail, creating an easily hiked walkway.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Skradinski Buk falls for peak flow is Fall or early winter. However, if you are looking for a good swim, the warmer months would be better for visiting. June and September are best, as crowds will be lower, with July and August being peak months.
7.) Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls is located along the Havasu Creek in the Havasupi Tribal Lands of the Grand Canyon. The falls drop 99 feet into plunge pools that have a blue-green color because of the high calcium carbonate levels. Interestingly, the make up of the falls has changed over time due to flash flooding. The falls were once a number of springs flowing over, but are currently is one continuous stream.
Location: Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States
Height: 29 meters (99 feet)
How to Get There: Havasu Falls can be reached off of Route 66, onto Indian Route 18, and finally to the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot. From there an eight mile trail will take you to Supai Village and the falls. The hike to the falls is a strenuous ten mile hike one way. Note that before visiting you must obtain a permit to access the falls and must stay overnight in the canyon (according to regulations of the Havasupi Tribe).
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Havasu Falls is early spring and late fall, when the temperature is still cool enough for hiking, but warm enough for camping overnight.
8.) Serio Falls
Serio Falls has been named the tallest waterfall in Italy, and second tallest waterfall in Europe. The legend behind the falls involves a story about a woman who fell in love with a shepherd who was engaged. The legend has it that the woman kidnapped the shepherd’s fiance and locked her in a castle above the falls, and the falls are the result of her tear drops.
Location: 24020 Valbondione Province of Bergamo, Italy
Height: 315 meters (1033 feet)
How to Get There: Serio Falls are easily accessible via hike. To get to the falls, park in Valbondione, Italy and find the trailhead for Cascate del Serio. The trail to Serio Falls is approximately 2 miles one way to the viewpoint.
Best Time to Visit: Serio Waterfalls is a regulated waterfall and is open only five times a year for 30 minutes at a time. For 2020, the scheduled dates are June 21st 11am to 11:30am, July 18th 10pm to 10:30pm, August 16th 11 to 11:30pm, September 13th 11am to 11:30am, and October 11th 11am to 11:30am.
Gullfoss Falls, or “Golden Falls”, lies within the Hvítá River Canyon in Southwestern Iceland. The Langjökull glacier supplies the river with water that eventually reaches and flows over the falls. Gullfoss Falls is a tiered cascade, with two separate stages, the first measuring at 11 meters and the second at 21 meters. There are three different theories on the origin of the name of the falls. The first is the golden hue that is often seen in the waters of the falls, the second the rainbow that can often be seen in the mist produced by the waterfall, and the third is a legend that a farmer, Gýgur, threw his gold over the falls in an attempt to prevent anyone else from getting it.
Location: Hvítá River Canyon, Southwest Iceland
Height: 32 meters (104 feet)
How to Get There: Gullfoss Falls is located along the Golden Circle sightseeing route located about an hour and a half outside of Reykjavik. Gullfoss Falls is accessible via car and most major tours around the country include a stop there.
Best Time to Visit: Gullfoss is accessible year round, but in the winter time many viewpoints will be closed. Any time of year is good to visit the falls and winter time brings unique views, but due to the ice it is essential to have proper gear and be cautious when visiting.
Godafoss Falls, or the “waterfalls of the gods”, is located along the Skjálfandafljót River in Northeran Iceland. Godafoss Falls is considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in Iceland. The history of the waterfalls is interesting and explains how it obtained it’s name as the waterfalls of the gods. In the year 1,000 when Christanity became the official religion, it is believed that Thorgeir Thorkelsson threw his pagan idols in the waters of the falls. You can enjoy views of the falls on the West side, or get up close to the water’s edge on the East side.
Location: Akureyri, Iceland
Height: 12 meters (39 feet)
How to Get There: Godafoss is located a short drive outside of Akureyri and is accessible from Route 1. Godafoss is easily accessible for those with cars, being located on the Ring Road. There are also plenty of tour options available for exploring the Ring Road that include a stop at Godafoss Falls.
Best Time to Visit: Godafoss can be visited year round and has unique views for each season. If visiting in the winter it is recommended to make sure you have 4 wheel drive.