Discover the most beautiful waterfalls in the world in this ultimate guide!
Beautiful waterfalls around the world always attract visitors looking to witness the sheer force of nature. From the tallest to the widest, people are drawn to these captivating natural wonders, which in turn become huge tourist attractions for their respective countries.
In this list I put forward 23 spectacular waterfalls from around the world. Some are well known and some are more off the beaten path. Some require little effort to see, whilst others require challenging treks to reap the rewards.
Whichever you prefer, if you’re looking for inspiration for your next waterfall adventure, take a look at the list below.
The top 23 most beautiful waterfalls in the world!
1. Iguazu Falls
Iguazu falls is the largest waterfall system in the world and is one of the most awe-inspiring sights I’ve ever witnessed. The falls sit on the Argentina/Brazil border and consist of over 270 waterfalls. The falls can be seen from the air, land or even from underneath (if you’re bold enough!).
Iguazu Falls definitely is the most beautiful waterfall in the world that I’ve been lucky enough to visit.
2. Victoria Falls
Straddling the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria falls is one of the Severn Natural Wonders of the World. The falls are an incredible sight on the mighty Zambezi River, which has been attracting visitors since the turn of the last century.
Take to the air for the best view of these iconic falls or if you’re feeling brave, take a dip in the devil’s pool, which sits precariously above the waterfall’s edge.
Another of the Severn Natural Wonders of the World is Parcutin Volcano in Mexico. Discover more about this natural wonder here.
3. Plitvice Waterfalls
Plitvice National Park in Croatia is an unbelievably picturesque series of lakes and waterfalls. Boardwalks meander through forest and around pools, along which visitors can observe their jaw-dropping beauty.
These falls are a well known attraction in Eastern Europe and attract nearly 1 million visitors every year. Arrive early to avoid the crowds.
4. Havasu Falls
The gorgeous aqua marine blue of Havasu Falls is one of five waterfalls located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, within the Grand Canyon. The amazing contrast of orange rocks with turquoise water, makes Havasu a strong contender for being the world’s most beautiful waterfall.
Access to the reserve is strictly controlled with reservations only, so if you want to visit this little piece of paradise, some forward planning is required.
5. Angel Falls
At 979 meters, Angel Falls in Venezuela is the world’s highest single drop waterfall. It might also be the most difficult waterfall on this list to access, requiring an adventure through the Venezuelan jungle. However, laying eyes on this incredible natural wonder will no doubt make the journey worthwhile.
6. Kuang Si Falls
Kuang Si may not win any awards for its’ size or volume but there’s certainly merit in the adage that good things come in small packages. For me this cascade of pale turquoise water over limestone pools surrounded by tropical jungle, is easily the prettiest waterfall in the world.
Kuang Si is located just a short drive from the Laos capital, Lunang Prabang. Take your swimmers and enjoy a dip in the lower pools.
7. Gullfoss Falls
Gullfoss Falls is Iceland’s most famous waterfall and for good reason. Their zig-zag shape makes them quite unique in the world of waterfalls, but their sheer force is what makes Gullfoss so staggering.
I’d love to go back and visit these falls in winter with a covering of snow on the remote landscape – who’s with me?
8. Ban Gioc-Detian Falls
Another waterfall that knows no boundaries, Ban Gioc-Detian straddles the border of China and Vietnam. Surrounded by pointy, jungle-covered mountains, the waterfall tumbles down several staggered levels which is fed by the Quay Son River. This beauty is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest along a national border in the world.
9. Niagra Falls
The famous Niagra Falls is actually a collection of three waterfalls spanning the border of Canada and the USA. The largest of the three waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, is the most powerful waterfall in North America. If you want to feel the force of the falls, take the iconic Maid of the Mist boat trip. Be warned, you will get wet!
Random Fact: I had the biggest ice cream of my life at Niagra Falls. It took me forever to eat but the view whilst I did so was pretty epic!
10. McWay Falls
McWay Falls is a 24 meter waterfall on the coast of Big Sur in California. At high tide it becomes a tidefall, one of only two on this list. Access to McWay cove is off limits, so the beauty of this scenic waterfall must be admired from afar. I must admit, it took me a long time to leave this magical viewpoint.
11. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
This is the second Icelandic waterfall on this list which is unsurprising as there are many contenders in this volcanic island. One of the awesome things about Seljalandsfoss is the ability to walk behind the fast flowing curtain of water. Located just a short walk from the road, it’s very easy to fully admire the force (and noise) of this waterfall.
12. Tumpak Sewu Waterfall
Tumpak Sewu is a collection of waterfalls surrounded by beautiful jungle, overlooked by an active volcano – what more do I need to say?! This simply breathtaking spot is located in East Java and is unsurprisingly, a popular tourist destination for Indonesia.
This incredible waterfall is well and truly on my bucket list!
13. Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn
Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn is one of several waterfalls located within the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. The area known as Waterfall Country has many waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, but what makes this waterfall special is the lush moss that thrives on the rocks, providing an almost illuminous green colour.
For more waterfalls of Wales, take a look at this post.
14. Kaieteur Falls
Located in Kaieteur National Park, west Guyana, Kaieteur is the world’s largest single drop waterfall by volume. Nestled deep within the Amazon Rainforest, the remoteness only adds to the majesty of this waterfall. The best views of Kaieteur are provided by flights from the capital city of Georgetown.
15. Jog Falls
Jog Falls is a waterfall located on the Sharavati River in Karnataka, India. In full flow the water thunders down the cliff, away from the rocks, making it the tallest un-tiered waterfall in India. To fully experience these falls, hike to the base and take a plunge in the pool.
Learn more about off the beaten path destinations in India in this article.
16. Paulina Falls
Paulina Creek Falls is a two for the price of one waterfall, found near Bend in Oregon. A short hike through the dense conifers towards the riverbed, provides a dramatic view of both falls.
17. Sutherland Falls
Sutherland Falls are tucked away near Milford Sound, on the South Island of New Zealand. At 580 meters high it’s a very impressive waterfall flowing effortlessly out of Lake Quill above. A short walk along Milford Track will take visitors to the base of the falls.
18. Anisakan Falls
Pyin Oo Lwin is a former Colonial town in Myanmar which offers several spectacular natural attractions. One of which is the Anisakan Falls. At the foot of the main falls there are restaurants and a small pagoda, but hike up into the thick jungle to escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful dip in one of the many plunge pools.
19. Los Tercios
I think Los Tercios in Suchitoto, El Salvador is the most unique waterfall in the world. What makes Los Tercios unique is not the waterfall itself, but the hexagonally shaped basalt columns over which the water flows. Think of the Giants Causeway but in a jungle environment!
Be warned this waterfall is seasonal so visitors in the dry months may be disappointed.
Read more about my Central American road trip in this post.
20. Mealt Waterfall
Mealt is the second tidefall on this list and is found on the scenic Isle of Skye in Scotland. This impressive waterfall has quite a unique backdrop as the rock cliffs behind it are known as Kilt Rock – rocks that bear a striking resemblance to the Scottish Kilt.
I don’t believe there are any other waterfalls in the world that can make that claim!
21. Multnomah Falls
There is no shortage of waterfalls to choose from in Oregon, but this two tier fall at 186 meters tall is Oregon’s tallest waterfall. A short hike allows visitors to cross over the creek along Benson Bridge and feel the spray from the upper falls.
22. Love Waterfall
It’s all in the name! The outdoor mecca of Sapa in Vietnam certainly has lots of natural beauty on offer, including this secluded and delightfully named, Love Waterfall. It’s a short drive from town followed by a straightforward hike down to the base of the waterfall where, legend has it, fairies used to bathe.
23. Yosemite Falls
Yosemite is one of the USA’s great National Parks, with fabulous granite cliffs and fresh pine forests around every corner. Stumbling down an impressive 739 meters, is the three section waterfall of Yosemite Falls – the tallest waterfall in North America.
Enjoy the full height of Yosemite Falls from the footpath along the valley floor or for the more adventurous, trek to the top of Upper Falls for unbeatable views.
Final Thoughts on beautiful waterfalls of the world
Waterfalls are one of mother nature’s real treats. They can be mesmerising, exhilarating, inspiring and soothing all at the same time. There are many waterfalls around the globe but not all can lay claim to being the world’s most beautiful.
From the aquamarine waters of Havasu to the thundering roar of Gullfoss, I hope you enjoyed this watery journey around this incredible planet of ours. Are there any waterfalls you think should make this list? Let me know your thoughts below.
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