Few things exemplify the beauty and power of nature as dramatically as majestic waterfalls.
The sight of masses of water pouring out over the edge of a cliff or cascading over cliffs always manages to impress us.
While the biggest falls deserve a prominent place on any bucket list, a waterfall doesn’t have to be the tallest, widest, or most extensive to make it an awesome destination.
Here are some of the world’s most amazing waterfalls.
One of the highest waterfalls in Peru
Gocta Cataracts, Peru
One of the highest waterfalls in Peru, the towering Gocta Cataracts near the town of Chachapoyas remained unknown to all but the locals living beneath it until 2005 when a German engineer named Stefan Ziemendorff stumbled upon it while searching for pre-Inca ruins.
Today, the two-level waterfall has become a popular tourist attraction, thanks to the development of the area by the Peruvian government.
Hiking trails now make the waterfall easily accessible on foot or horseback, and every room in the small hotel built near the base offers scenic views of the magnificent waterfall.
Located near the beautiful fjord of Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most popular travel destinations
Sutherland Falls, New Zealand
Located near the beautiful fjord of Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most popular travel destinations, the sea-fed Sutherland Falls descend in three cascades into the glacial lakes of Fiordland National Park.
While aerial sightseeing tours offer glimpses of the distant fells, visitors who take the time to hike the famous Milford Track are rewarded with the best views. A 90-minute walk from the Quintin Public Shelter on the 53 kilometer route leads hikers to the base of the spectacular falls.
One of the highest waterfalls in the world
The Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa’s Royal Natal National Park are home to a series of five interconnected falls that together make up Tugela Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the world.
The water cascades over the stunning amphitheater, an impressive stone wall that is a popular tourist attraction in its own right.
A six-hour hike up the Tugela Gorge crosses back and forth across the river, leading hikers to the summit. A less challenging trail takes visitors to the base of Tugela Falls for a stunning view of the five-tiered waterfall.
Nohkalikai Falls is the tallest of its kind in India
Located near the town of Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places on the planet, Nohkalikai Falls is categorized as a waterfall, meaning the water loses contact with the rock as it cascades over a cliff on the edge of the Himalayas.
Nohkalikai is the tallest of its kind in India and is fed by rainwater collected on the forested plateau above, so its volume changes dramatically depending on the season. During the dry season, the water flows calmly into a turquoise pool. During the monsoon, the water crashes into a tumult of white foam.
Dettifoss in Iceland is ranked as Europe’s most powerful waterfall and is best known for the amount of water that shoots over its edge each season
Dettifoss is ranked as Europe’s most powerful waterfall and is best known for the amount of water that shoots over its edge each season.
Located in Vatnajökull National Park in northeast Iceland, Dettifoss can be seen on either side of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum which feeds the falls and plunges into the canyon below.
The eastern bank of the river has the best views and is equipped with facilities, including a car park, but the slippery paths can get crowded during the tourist season.
The tallest waterfall in the United States
The tallest waterfall in the United States, Yosemite Falls cascades down a cliff in three cascades and offers picturesque views from several locations in Yosemite National Park in California.
A challenging full-day hike takes visitors to the summit for panoramic views of the majestic park and the towering Sierra Mountains beyond. However, the falls vary in water flow and sometimes disappear completely during droughts. The best time to enjoy the splashing water and thunderous roar of the falls is in the spring after the winter thaw.
A series of waterfalls connecting the 16 lakes of the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
The series of waterfalls connecting the 16 lakes of the Plitvice Lakes National Park is what makes this scenic landscape the most popular natural attraction in Croatia.
Set among wooded hills near the Bosnian border, the small streams, lakes and waterfalls form an appealing water garden that invites exploration. A series of boardwalks, bridges and platforms make it easy to explore the park on foot. Free boat tours take passengers from the upper to the lower lakes where visitors can see Veliki Slap, the country’s highest waterfall.
Jog Falls, created by the Sharavathi River in India
Jog Falls, created by the river Sharavathi, which falls from a height of 253 meters, is the highest waterfall in India.
Before the rainy season, Jog Falls is almost unrecognizable with only a couple of thin streams of water trickling down the cliff.
But during the monsoon season, the waterfall comes alive and even surpasses Kaieteur Falls in Guyana in terms of height and volume.
Measuring 77.8 meters high and 101 meters wide, Huangguoshu in China is one of the largest waterfalls in Asia
Measuring 77.8 meters high and 101 meters wide, Huangguoshu is one of the largest waterfalls in Asia and part of a group of 18 waterfalls in the surrounding area.
A 134-meter long naturally formed cave at the back of Huangguoshu allows visitors to see the waterfall very close and you can even touch the water.
The two falls in Iceland lie almost at right angles to each other and create an epic sight
As it lies hidden in a colossal fissure that cuts through the otherwise barren Icelandic landscape, the size and scale of Gullfoss only becomes apparent the closer you get.
Once you reach the edge of the cliff, however, you’ll discover that the flowing cascades and enormous falls actually have the highest volume in all of Europe.
The two falls lie almost at right angles to each other creating an epic sight, its roar providing the perfect soundtrack to the dramatic landscape on display. Gullfoss, which means “Golden Falls”, is so named because of the color of its water that shimmers seductively in the sun.
Detian Falls is located on the border between China and Vietnam
Located on the border between China and Vietnam, Detian Falls is the name of two sets of gorgeous waterfalls located along the Quay Son River.
While the many layers and drops of the falls look absolutely stunning, the perfect scene is completed by the lush vegetation, majestic mountains and karst formations that surround them.
Long closed off to the world due to various border disputes, the Detian Falls are now an increasingly popular tourist destination; hordes of visitors take boat trips below the cascades, covering themselves in a fine mist of water.
Blue Nile Falls
Blue Nile Falls is located on the Blue Nile River in northern Ethiopia
Blue Nile Falls
Known as Tis Issat (“water of smoke”) in Amharic, Blue Nile Falls are located on the Blue Nile River in northern Ethiopia.
Although much of the water is now diverted to a power dam, it is still a beautiful sight and one of Ethiopia’s most famous tourist attractions.
Kaieteur Falls is one of Guyana’s most popular tourist attractions
The Potaro River snakes its way through the Amazon rainforest, passing some of the most untouched areas on earth until it suddenly reaches Kaieteur Falls.
Here, the water suddenly plunges 226 meters through the air to the pool below, covering the surrounding area with a fine water mist.
Remarkably, the enormous volume of water that flows over the edge every second makes it the largest single drop waterfall in the world. At over four times the level of Niagara Falls, it’s no wonder Kaieteur Falls is one of Guyana’s most popular tourist attractions.
The tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in Venezuela
The tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in Venezuela is truly one of the most spectacular sights imaginable.
The falls shoot from the top of Mount Auyan Tepui and plunge 807 meters continuously to the jungle below, much of the water turning into mist before reaching the ground.
Add 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 difficult to visit, although its stunning setting and impressive scenery certainly make it well worth the effort.
Niagara Falls is located on the border between Canada and the United States and is one of the most famous waterfalls on earth
Niagara Falls is located on the border between Canada and the United States and is one of the most famous waterfalls on earth.
Consisting of American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls, its endless wall of cascading water stretches seemingly forever.
While the various observation decks around the falls offer amazing views and panoramas, you really have to take a boat ride under them to fully understand how big and powerful they are.
Niagara Falls never fails to impress, and every year millions of people come to see its astonishing size and beauty.
Victoria Falls is nestled on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls outshines Niagra Falls with its colossal curtain of water that stretches 1,708 meters and reaches 108 meters in height.
It is these epic proportions that make Victoria Falls the largest waterfall in the world. Breathtaking to see the endless flow of water pouring over the cliff.
The cacophonous roar rising from the gorge below and the fine water mist hanging in the air from the falls is called “The Smoke That Thunders” in the local Lozi language. Nestled on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border, Victoria Falls is a must-see.
Iguazu Falls on the Argentine-Brazilian border consists of approximately 275 different falls and is the world’s largest waterfall system
Iguazu Falls on the Argentine-Brazilian border consists of approximately 275 different falls and 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 kilometers in total, beautiful falls and cascades cross the Parana Plateau, with the undoubted highlight being Devil’s Throat Canyon.
This is best witnessed from the viewing platform of the Brazilian side, where you are greeted by rushing water, a deafening roar and fine spray. With lush rainforest surrounding it, the falls are a treat to visit.
Visitors can take boat tours along the Iguazu River or explore the nearby trails and hiking trails. Set in a stunning setting like no other, the sheer size, scale and spectacular scenery of Iguazu Falls definitely make it one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.
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