Water has always been one of the most soothing elements to calm frayed nerves. Yes, even a raging body of water, like waterfalls, can be an absolute reprieve, both for the eyes and your sanity.
So for those chasing waterfalls, here’s a list of some of the world’s most breathtaking. Some are easily accessible and for others, you’ll have to trek and cross and tread many unbeaten paths. But no matter the difficulty, the effort is more than worth it.
Victoria Falls ( Africa)
Between the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe lies the mighty Victoria Falls, named in honor of the British monarch, Queen Victoria. Though it’s not the highest in the world, it’s no less majestic than the falls that are more massive than it.
For those who are daring enough to try it, there’s Devil’s Pool, a naturally formed pool on the falls that runs the risk of plunging those swimming in it over the edge!
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall (Iceland)
The fact that three waterfalls on this list are located in Iceland is testament to how truly beautiful the country is in terms of natural wonders. Seljalandsfoss drops 60 meters over the cliffs of the coastline surrounding it and though it’s been largely untouched, it recently became famous because it was chosen as a waypoint during the first leg of the sixth season of the adventure reality TV show, The Amazing Race.
Blood Falls (Antarctica)
A name like Blood Falls may not be all that enticing, but the blood-red waterfall in Antarctica is truly a sight to behold. The red color is due to a mixture of salt water and iron oxide and the color stands out even more against the backdrop of ice and snow prevalent in the predominantly frozen continent. What makes it more fascinating is the fact that despite the water containing no oxygen, there are actually alien-like microbes that inhabit in the area. Scientists assume that these specimens are able to survive from the sulfur and iron properties of the region, truly making them out of this world!
Iguazu Falls (Argentina)
The majestic Iguazu Falls in Argentina is such because it’s actually a combination of 275 separate waterfalls that span 2 miles. There’s a section aptly called Devil’s Throat and true to its name, the spray can get too intense to handle. Like all popular sites, its appeal is backed by a tragic legend, which says that the area was formed when a beautiful young maiden refused to marry a god because she was in love with a mortal. As the maiden and her lover fled in a canoe, the god in his anger, spliced the river and cursed the lovers to an eternal fall.
Iceland’s beauty in terms of nature and scenery is arguably unparalleled. It’s therefore no surprise that one of the most beautiful waterfalls to make it to the list is found in this idyllic country. Gullfoss is located in the southern part of Iceland and due to the cold climate, the water isn’t always falling all year round. But perhaps what makes it unique to other falls is the impression one gets when first approaching the falls. Because the drop is hidden from view, it gives the notion of a majestic river disappearing into the bowels of the earth.
Another Icelandic beauty makes its way to the list in the form of Dettifoss, this time located in northeast Iceland. It’s known to be the largest and most potent waterfall in all Europe and is found within the confines of a natural park. Considering its power, it has yet to be tapped as a natural energy source. Plans for a hydroelectric plant in that area were initially drawn up, but upon further study, the effort was deemed a safety and engineering risk.
Langfoss Falls (Norway)
What makes Langfossen in Norway unique from the other falls is that allows motorists to get as close as possible to the natural wonder. That’s because a road was built almost right in front of the waterfall drop, making it seem like the falls are flowing right onto the road. It certainly makes for a pretty photo opportunity for passersby.
Plitvice Lakes (Croatia)
Nestled in the heart of Croatia is a gorge akin to the Grand Canyon. But while the Arizonian marvel is red and brown, Plitvice Lakes is laced with green and blue, for the moss clinging to the rocks and the clear blue lakes at the bottom. And best of all, the water retains a turquoise glow, thanks to the minerals from the nearby Dinerac Alps.
Detian Falls (border of Vietnam and China)
In the land between Vietnam and China is a sight for sore eyes in the form of Detian Falls. It’s the fourth largest fall formation to straddle a national border, after Iguazu Falls, Niagara Falls, and Victoria Falls. The expanse of cliffs contains several stand-alone waterfalls that, when viewed from afar, paints an absolutely pretty picture, complete with lush trees in the background. But what makes it most unique is the nearby Tongling Gorge, which was discovered to house species not found anywhere else in the world!
Helmet Falls (Canadian Rockies)
The Canadian Rockies are not just known for their snow-capped mountains and clear, blue lakes. Nestled in their midst is Helmet Falls, whose water comes from the Washmawwapta Icefields. The water drops 1,000 feet to the valleys and plains, making for a majestic sight.
Ouzoud Waterfalls (Morocco)
In the seemingly arid land of Morocco sits the Ouzoud Waterfalls, set against green trees and brown cliffs and rock formations. The trees are actually olive trees, hence the name of the falls, Ouzoud—which can be translated to “olive” in Berber. The Ouzoud waterfall stands tall at 330 ft in heigh.
Havasu Canyon Falls (Grand Canyon, Arizona)
Deep in the recesses of the desert-surrounded Grand Canyon in Arizona is a beautiful contrast of blue and green to the canyon’s red-brown hues. An oasis in the desert if you will, Havasu Canyon Falls is a wonderful reprieve from the dry land surrounding it, with its cascading waterfalls flowing over the blue-green limestone that gives the body of water, which flows into the Colorado River, its serene color. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the most photographed spots in all the world.
Sutherland Falls (New Zealand)
New Zealand may be most well-known as the location of the Lord of The Rings films, but make no mistake, there’s much more to the country’s natural wonders than what was shown in the films. In the southwestern tip of New Zealand is located Sutherland Falls with its seemingly endless flow of water. The area where it’s located also sees rainfall almost all year round. So expecting a backdrop of sun and cloudless skies is highly unlikely, yet it doesn’t make the view (or the swim, if it’s your thing) less enjoyable.
Baatara Gorge Falls (Lebanon)
Lebanon may be known as a country perennially wrought in strife, but it does have its natural wonders. Into the Baatara Pothole flows a crystal clear waterfall. The hole looks like a formation of three caves stacked one atop the other, separated by naturally formed walkways. And that’s why the hole is aptly called the cave of three bridges.
Angel Falls (Venezuela)
Arguably lauded the most beautiful waterfall in the world is Angel Falls, located in the Venezuelan jungles and standing over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain. Standing at over 3,200 feet, it’s also the most massive in the world with the water intensely raging below. But since the falls are so high, the water doesn’t even hit the bottom of the cliff—it evaporates into a fine mist before it can even reach ground level!