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DW eco@africa - Jokulsargljufur
Image: Dr. Andreas Podufal

Our Beautiful Planet: Iceland's Dettifoss waterfall

September 22, 2017

Iceland's biggest national park includes volcanoes, the continent's biggest glacier and spectacular vistas. It is also home to magnificent waterfalls powered by mountains of melting ice.


Vatnajokull National Park is an Icelandic wonderland. And at over 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles), it is one of the largest national parks in Europe and covers around 14 percent of the island nation.

Created in 2008, the park encompasses the entire Vatnajokull glacier in the southwest of the country and also brought together two other isolated existing national parks under one jurisdiction.

The park is known for its amazing contrasts: geysers spewing geothermal energy, wide untamed vistas, deep gullies, crystal clear streams, glacial ice, volcanoes and rock formations. The Vatnajokull glacier alone is larger than all the other glaciers in Europe put together — the country is called Iceland after all.

Mighty and violent waterfalls

Among the crowd of waterfalls one of them really sticks out — Dettifoss. Situated in the Jokulsargljufur region of the park in the north of the country, the Dettifoss falls sits on the Jokulsa a Fjollum river which flows directly from a nearby glacier.

The falls are 100 meters (330 feet) wide and drop of 44 meters before crashing on the rocks below, causing a dense spray that often obscures the view. It is the largest waterfall in Iceland in terms of volume discharge and is rumored to be the most powerful in all of Europe.

DW eco@africa - Dettifoss waterfall, Jokulsargljufur, Iceland
Dettifoss waterfall, Jokulsargljufur, IcelandImage: Dr. Andreas Podufal

The country's natural phenomena are creating a real tourism boom as more and more people want to explore the geysers and glaciers of this tiny nation in the North Atlantic. Last year tourism overtook fishing to become the country's most important industry.

The nation with the unpronounceable names is becoming a victim of its beauty. According to the Icelandic Tourist Board 1.8 million people visited the island in 2016 — a 39 percent increase over the previous year. For 2017 they are expecting 2 million sightseers.

Iceland (DW)

These photos were sent in by Berlin-based photography and travel enthusiast Andreas Podufal and were taken in July 2017.

Do you have a picture of a beautiful landscape or something amazing in nature that you want to share with our readers? If so, you can send it to us using the upload tool on our website, or by emailing us at ecoafrica@dw.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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