The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in the World
We're suckers for a gorgeous waterfall, especially when the sun hits just right. From California to Croatia, here are eight jaw-dropping cascades to visit now.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Just a half-hour drive from Portland, Columbia River Gorge is, ahem, overflowing with waterfalls. There are more than 50 to choose from, but the most impressive one is Multnomah. The two-tier cascade towers at 611 feet, and has a charming bridge that connects two easy hiking trails. On the way there, make sure to take the Historic Columbia River Highway, a winding back road that takes you past fresh berry stands and the Vista House, a scenic half-way point overlooking the gorge.
Although the Blue Lagoon tends to steal the spotlight, Iceland is full of natural wonders. Start off on the southern side of Ring Road, a 827-mile trek surrounded by glaciers, waterfalls and fjords, and stop at Seljalandsfoss. At 200 feet high, it’s not the tallest waterfall around, but it is the only one that visitors can actually walk behind for that perfect Insta shot.
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Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
It may take more than a day to reach Victoria Falls, but trust us it’s worth the trip. As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, it's is right up there alongside Everest, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Grand Canyon. For a postcard view, visit the Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe, which has paths overlooking the main falls, Horseshoe Falls and Rainbow Falls, or take a sunset river cruise along the upper Zambezi. If you're looking to get your blood pumping, don't miss a dip in the Devil’s Pool located on the Zambian side. The natural rock pool juts out over the very edge of the thundering falls.
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Staubbach Falls, Switzerland
Wildflower-filled meadows, charming alpine villages, craggy snow-capped peaks. There’s nothing quite like the Swiss Alps. But while most crowds make a beeline for Jungfraujoch (known as the Top of Europe), we suggest you head to the lower valleys of the lush Bernese Oberland. There you’ll find Staubbach Falls, a 1,000-foot sliver of a stream that spills into the Lütschine River at the town of Lauterbrunnen. Make a day trip out of it by jumping on the 20-minute train from Interlaken and spending the early afternoon at Lauterbrunnen before continuing up to the peak of Kleine Scheidegg, where you can hike six miles down to Grindelwald to catch the train circling back to Interlaken.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
Stretching across Argentina and Brazil, these rushing rapids make up one of the world’s biggest waterfall systems. While most of the falls are located on the Argentinian side of the river, it’s best to stay on the Brazilian border. Bed down at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas—as the only hotel in Iguaçu National Park, it claims prime real estate on the lip of the largest falls. The concierge can hook you up with a hair-raising helicopter ride over the gorge as well as a jungle trek to see colorful toucans, giant butterflies, and more wildlife.
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Plitvice Falls, Croatia
Stretching across Plitvice in central Croatia is a fairytale landscape made up of 16 crystalline cascading pools in a rainbow of azure blue, turquoise, and emerald green. Stroll along the boardwalk for spot-on views of the waterfalls, fir tree forests and hidden caves around the park. Just don't forget your camera.
Bridalveil Fall Yosemite, California
When it comes to picking the best national parks in the US, Yosemite National Park makes our top five. The sweeping Sierra Nevada Mountains serve as a backdrop for the park’s waterfalls, wetlands and forests. We especially love hiking to Bridalveil Fall, which flows 600 feet off a cliff across from El Capitan, one of the most striking rock formations in the area.
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Mulafossur Waterfall, Faroe Islands
Hidden between Norway and Iceland sits the Faroe Islands, a rugged archipelago home to 18 remote inlets dotted with green fjords, volcanic mountains, and colorful fishing villages. One of which, Gasadalur, hovers atop a windswept, coastal cliff marked by the Múlafossur waterfall , which plunges into the sea below. Stay at the area’s first inn—a cozy, four-guestroom cottage and café— that just opened this summer.
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