12 of the Most Awe-Inspiring Waterfalls Around the World

12 of the Most Awe-Inspiring Waterfalls Around the World

Prepare for an incredible journey to the world's most awe-inspiring waterfalls.

Waterfalls can really lift spirits and inspire awe. There are many spectacular waterfalls on every continent and these are some of the planet’s most beautiful places. Any list is bound to be inadequate at showing the diversity of the great natural wonders of this world, but here are twelve of the most awe-inspiring waterfalls you should visit in your lifetime:

1. Victoria Falls

Image credit: DoctorJoeE

Victoria Falls, also called Mosi-oa-Tunya, is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria falls has a height of 108 metres, spans 1.7 kilometres, and an average flow of 1 million litres per second and is the largest single waterfall in the world. Called ‘the smoke that thunders’, this natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site really is one not to be missed. The awesome power of the water is offset perfectly by the stunning natural surroundings.

2. Iguazu Falls

Image credit: SF Brit

The water hurtles over this impressive two kilometres wide span at the incredible rate of a thousand cubic metres per second. Iguazu Falls is actually made up of 275 individual waterfalls and cascades that you can view up close and personal from a series of viewing points. This waterfall emerges from the rainforest setting of Argentina, close to the Brazillian border, dividing the upper and lower sections of the Iguazu River.

3. Angel Falls

Image credit: ENT108

The Angel Falls is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall. It is situated in Venezuela, in the Canaima National Park. It has a height of 979 metres and a plunge of 807 metres. Its name in the Pemon language, Kerepakupai Vená, means “waterfall of the deepest place”.

The falls are on the Gauja River, also known as the Kerep River, which then flows into the Churun River and thence into the Carrao River. The name Angel Falls comes from aviator Jimmie Angel who was a US aviator, the first person to fly over the falls.

Also read: 10 Of the Most Spectacular Waterfalls in Indonesia

4. Niagara Falls

Image credit: Mark Kaletka

Niagara Falls may not be the most spectacular, especially not in terms of its surroundings, which are far from natural, but this waterfall is definitely amongst the most famous and the most visited. Many, many people visit these falls, on the border of the United States and Canada, each year.

Taking a boat ride is by far the best vantage point on these thundering falls, over which the water flows at a staggering rate of 2,400 cubic metres per second, the highest flow rate of any waterfalls in the world.

5. Kaieteur Falls

Image credit: Allan Hopkins

These falls are located on the Potaro River in the Kaieteur National Park in Guyana. This is said to be the longest single drop waterfall in the world. The falls are set in some of the most pristine and unspoiled rainforest left anywhere in the world. A visit here will also likely yield amazing wildlife encounters in this stunning ecosystem. Be prepared to marvel at the natural wonder of the Kaieteur falls.

6. Yosemite Falls

Image credit: rajapal

Yosemite does not flow all year round but it does flow for a good proportion of the year and when it does, it is a spectacular sight. At 739 metres, Yosemite falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. This is just one of the crowning glories of the amazing and beautiful Yosemite Valley, in the Yosemite National Park in California. While these falls are accessible and therefore have high visitor numbers, the area around the valley is wide and wild and it is easy to escape the crowds.

7. Gullfoss

Image credit: Mark Fischer

This unique waterfall is one of Iceland’s iconic sites. Gulfoss is one of the key features of the famous Golden Circle route that takes in some of Iceland’s main attractions in the south west of the country. The falls has a unique shape with two tumbling ties at 90 degree angles to each other on the Hvita River. This is just one of the many natural attractions in this awe-inspiring land of ice and fire. There are also many other spectacular waterfalls to be seen in this country.

8. Sutherland Falls

Image credit: Or Hiltch

New Zealand often tops charts of countries with outstanding natural beauty. In this majestic and magical country, the Fjordlands, where the Sutherland Falls are located, is one of the most beautiful, wild and remote sections. The Sutherland Falls were long thought to be the highest in the country – now that accolade goes to Browne Falls in Doubtful Sound – but Sutherland Falls is still a must-visit attraction in South Island.

9. Eas a’ Chual Aluinn

Image credit: Toby Speight

This waterfall, located in the far north of mainland Scotland, is the highest waterfall in the UK, at an impressive height of 200 metres. The falls spill from a high plateau that overlooks Loch Glencoul, in a rugged and ancient landscape of outstanding natural beauty. When in full flow, the waterfall is over three times higher than the Niagara Falls. This is a remote and wild place which offers some spectacular hiking in the mountains and moors all around.

10. Plitvice Lakes Waterfalls

Image credit: Sergiu Bacioiu

The waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes National Park cascade between turquoise mineral lakes through the protected and rich ecosystem of the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Northern Dalmatia, Croatia. You can get really up close and personal with these sparkling falls set in the greenest, lushest vegetation imaginable.

Also read: 8 Absolutely Breathtaking Helicopter Rides Around the World

11. Trummelbach Falls

Image credit: sheyneg

The snow melt from the Eiger and other high Swiss peaks thunders down through the rock in the unique and exciting Trummelbach falls. The falls carry up to 20,000 litres of water per second and in their course down from the high Alpine peaks, dislodge 20,200 tons of boulder detritus each year.

12. Ban Gioc – Detian Falls

Image credit: Nguyen Tan Tin

These two picturesque waterfalls straddle the border between Vietnam and China. The water pours down over the series of natural tiers in the karst landscape, separated by rocks and trees. While a popular destination with Chinese and Vietnamese people, there is little mass tourism from the West.

Also Read: 15 Awe-Inspiring Hot Air Balloon Rides Around the World

About Author

Elizabeth Waddington
Elizabeth Waddington

Elizabeth Waddington lives in rural Scotland with her husband and her dog. She is part of a small community who are trying to live as sustainably as possible. A professional freelance writer who works from home full time, she has over ten years of writing experience and an MA in English and Philosophy. She mostly writes about travel, sustainability and permaculture and has a particular interest in adventure holidays, camping, walking and sustainable travel. She travels whenever she can.

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