Whether cascading down a cliff face or merrily trickling amongst trees and shrubs, there is always something magical about waterfalls. While some dazzle and daze with their size and scale, others are more subtle in their beauty, as graceful curtains of water cascade into pretty pools below. The world is full of amazing waterfalls. While some are now popular tourist destinations, others lie almost unvisited in remote rainforest regions. Here’s a look at the most beautiful waterfalls in the world:
Number 10. Seljalandsfoss
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the whole of Iceland, Seljalandsfoss is also one of its most popular.
This is in large part because you can walk behind its cascading curtain of water. While this makes for some incredible photos, the falls are just as marvellous to view from in front as they gush off the top of a 60 meter high cliff.
Located just off the renowned Ring Road in the south of the island, Seljalandsfoss is not to be missed out on for its scenic setting and unique and unusual cave viewpoint.
Number 9. Yosemite Falls
Located in the national park of the same name, Yosemite Falls in California is undoubtedly one of the most famous and photographed waterfalls in the world. Made up of the upper and lower falls with the Middle Cascades between, the waterfall drops a colossal 739 metres down the side of Yosemite Valley. This makes it the tallest waterfall in the whole of the United States.
While its spellbinding beauty can be enjoyed from many different parts of the park, it is worth hiking to the top for incomparable views out over the valley, and the Sierra Nevada mountains beyond.
Number 8. Plitvice Waterfalls
One of the most popular attractions in Croatia, the glorious Plitvice Waterfalls are a treat to visit. Set in a gorgeous national park, the endless series of glittering waterfalls course their way between lush vegetation and down limestone walls before merrily merging with the lakes below.
Blessed with clear emerald and turquoise waters, the park’s 16 lakes look absolutely breathtaking, particularly with the lovely waterfalls in the background. Wandering along the wooden walkways that meander their way peacefully around the park is a magical way to view the waterfalls up close.
Number 7. Ban Gioc Falls
Straddling the border between China and Vietnam, Ban Gioc Falls is the name given to two sets of wonderful waterfalls that lie along the Quay Son River.
While the multiple layers and drops of the falls look absolutely astounding, the picture-perfect scene is completed by the lush vegetation, majestic mountains, and karst formations that lie around them. Long shut off to the world due to various border disputes, the falls are now an increasingly popular tourist destination; hordes of visitors take boat trips below the cascades, coating themselves in a fine mist of spray.
Number 6. Gullfoss
As it lies hidden in a colossal crevice that cuts through the otherwise barren Icelandic landscape, the sheer size and scale of Gullfoss only becomes apparent the nearer you approach.
Once you reach the cliff edge, however, you’ll find that the coursing cascades and enormous falls actually have the highest volume in the whole of Europe. Lying almost at right angles to one another, its two sets of falls make for an epic sight, and its gushing roar provides the perfect soundtrack to the dramatic surroundings. Meaning ‘Golden Falls’, Gullfoss is so named due to the color of its waters that shimmer seductively in the sun.
Number 5. Kaieteur Falls
Snaking its way through the Amazon rainforest, the Potaro River passes some of the most pristine and untouched nature on Earth until it abruptly reaches Kaieteur Falls.
Here, the water suddenly plunges 226 metres through the air to the pool below, coating the surrounding area in a fine spray. Remarkably, the huge volume of water that courses over the fall every second makes it the largest single drop waterfall in the world. Coming in at over four times higher than Niagara Falls, it is no wonder at all that Kaieteur Falls is one of Guyana’s most popular tourist attractions.
Number 4. Angel Falls
The tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in Venezuela certainly makes for one of the most spectacular sights imaginable.
Shooting off the summit of a table top mountain, the fall plunges 807 meters uninterrupted to the jungle below, with much of the water turning to mist before it reaches the ground. Adding in its other cascades and rapids and Angel Falls’ total height is a whopping 979 meters.
Due to its remote location in Canaima National Park, Angel Falls is quite hard to visit, though its stunning setting and awe-inspiring scenery certainly makes it well worth the effort.
Number 3. Niagara Falls
Lying on the border between Canada and the USA, Niagara Falls is one of the most famous and recognisable waterfalls on Earth.
Consisting of American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls, its endless wall of gushing water seemingly stretches on forever. While the various observation decks around the falls offer up fantastic views and panoramas, you really need to take a boat trip below them to fully grasp just how large and powerful they are.
Niagara Falls never fails to astound, and every year, millions of people come to see its staggering size and beauty.
Number 2. Victoria Falls
If you thought that Niagara Falls was large, well, Victoria Falls dwarfs it with its colossal curtain of water that stretches for 1,708 metres, reaching 108 metres in height. It is these epic proportions that make Victoria Falls the largest waterfall in the world.
Breathtaking to behold, the endless flow of water that tumbles over the cliff almost defies belief. Fittingly, the cacophonous roar that rises from the gorge below and the fine spray that hangs in the air saw the falls named ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ in the local Lozi language. Nestled on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls truly needs to be seen to be believed.
Number 1. Iguazu Falls
Made up of some 275 different cascades, falls, and drops, Iguazu Falls on the Argentine-Brazilian border is the world’s largest waterfall system.
As such, it is the only waterfall that can rival or possibly even surpass Victoria Falls. For almost three kilometres in total, gorgeous falls course over the Parana Plateau, with the undoubted highlight being Devil’s Throat Canyon.
This is best witnessed from the Brazilian side’s viewing platform, where you are greeted with teeming sheets of water, a deafening roar, and a fine spray. With lush rainforest lying around it, the falls are a treat to visit.
Visitors can take boat trips along the Iguazu River or explore the nearby paths and trails..