Everyone has heard of Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls and Angel Falls. Rather than fighting the crowds, why don’t you seek out one of the many lesser known yet equally impressive waterfalls around the world? In countries with a significant amount of wilderness, such as across Scandinavia, you will discover impressive cascades around almost every corner. Read on to discover our favourite five waterfalls that you’ve probably never heard of before.
Seljalandsfoss & Gljúfrafoss, Iceland
Have you ever wanted to walk behind a waterfall and view the cascading curtain of water from a completely unique perspective? Located on the Ring Road, not too far from the town of Vik, Seljalandsfoss plummets for sixty feet over a former sea cliff with a cave nestled behind it. A path leads behind the waterfall, but ensure that you’re wearing adequate waterproof clothing as you’re certain to get soaked! An added bonus lies just 700 metres north and you’ll find the ‘Secret Waterfall’, Gljúfrafoss hidden within a canyon. Climb inside via a crack in the cliff face to get up close and personal to this seldom visited cascade.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Most visitors to South America who are in search of the perfect waterfall will flock to Angel Falls, but these Argentinian falls should be on everyone’s itinerary. Iguazu is a collection of 275 separate waterfalls that fall for two miles along the river that flows down the border with Brazil, providing an epic scene of cascading water and plenty of spray. Ensure that you head to the area known as Devil’s Throat, a ‘U’ shaped chasm where the falls are at their most powerful and the walkway leads you directly into the mist.
Thac May, Vietnam
Also known as the ‘Cloud Waterfall’, Thac May is little known to those outside of Vietnam despite being both an incredible sight and an idyllic place to swim. The waterfall cascades down nine levels of water that locals attribute to the tracks of nine ferries after they returned to the sky according to legend. It is possible to climb the waterfalls, bathe in the pools formed on each level, and dive down into the water below.
Steall Falls, Scotland
Part of the allure of a little-visited waterfall is the search to find it. Steall Falls in located in a Glen at the base of Ben Nevis in Scotland, and is only accessible by foot. Visitors must park in the car park and take the precarious route through the gorge, climbing over boulders and scrambling across small waterfalls. The end of the path opens up into a vast valley, surrounded by mountains and covered in wild flowers. Steall Falls tumbles down a cliff on the far side of the valley, on the other side of a river. Other than wading across, the only route over the river is to brave the steel rope bridge.
Sutherland Falls, New Zealand
Although Sutherland Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in New Zealand, its remote location keeps the majority of tourists away. To view the falls for yourself, you must embark on a 14.5 mile trek on the Milford Sound Trek or book onto a scenic fly-over. Although the falls appear to be one long drop, they are in fact three separate steps in quick succession, cascading down the mountainside from two lakes that flow into the Arthur River. The combination of green cliffs covered in vegetation, snow-capped peaks and the glimpse of sparkling blue water at the top of the waterfall adds to the dramatic scene.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.