Victoria Falls

(Photo by Sammy Wong on Unsplash)

The unparalleled beauty and sound of waterfalls make them a sight to behold! Hikers, travelers, and vacationers alike visit these natural wonders year-round, and according to a study from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, it isn’t for the beauty alone. While it’s no secret a breath of fresh air can be an instant form of stress relief for people, it turns out it might be what you hear while taking that breath that’s actually doing the calming. Research has proven that natural sounds, be it the “gentle burbling of a brook, or the sound of the wind in the trees,” encourage our brains to submit to a more relaxed state. Taking a trip to one of the best waterfalls in the world can be a great idea.

Though all waterfalls are unique in their own way, not all are created equal. If you want thundering waters to drown your stress, the breathtaking Niagara Falls is a perfect solution! Situated on the Canada-US border, this famous site makes it on nearly every travel list. If there is one destination you’d find in every “best places to visit in Canada during summer” list, it’s Niagara Falls.

If you’re looking to take a dip in front of a picturesque waterfall, you might consider a hike to the magnificent Victoria Falls in Zambia. Want a destination with all of the above? Iceland may be your go-to waterfall destination Home to the Northern Lights, Iceland also contains ancient volcanoes, shining glaciers, and tumbling waterfalls. 

Out of almost 8,000 waterfalls in the world, which ones are considered the best to visit and why? There are a nunber of factors to consider when it comes to figuring out the best waterfalls in the world such as magnitude, height, and location. StudyFinds examined 10 expert travel sites and put together this list for you to reference when planning your next trip into the great outdoors. Our list is based on the top recommendations across these sources. Have a favorite waterfall of your own? Let us know which one in the comments below!

Niagara Falls
(Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images)

The List: Best Waterfalls in the World, Most Recommended by Travel Experts

1. Niagara Falls

When it comes to waterfalls, Niagara Falls is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and breathtaking in the world. With an immense flow of water over two cascading falls – Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls – Niagara Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world and is a must-see destination for any traveler. According to Forbes, “while it isn’t the tallest waterfall in the world, what Niagara Falls lacks in height, it makes up in might and magnitude—with 3,160 tons of roaring water flowing over it per second.”

“When it comes to famous waterfalls, is there any that is more widely recognized than Niagara Falls? This iconic waterfall sits on the border between Canada and the U.S.A. where the Niagara River connects Lake Erie with Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls consists of three distinct waterfalls, but Horseshoe Falls is the largest at 157 ft. and is the most photographed of the three,” explains Road Affair.

Lux Review describes just how massive Niagara Falls really is: “The Niagara Falls is made up of 3 waterfalls (the American Falls, the Bridal Falls and the Horseshoe Falls), combining to produce the highest flow rate of any waterfall on earth. Naturally, this is a great source of hydropower and produces an incredible amount of electricity for millions of people every day.” 

2. Victoria Falls

It’s no surprise that Victoria Falls often tops the list of most recommended waterfalls. Located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is amazing for the sheer power of the water. Forbes describes: “the mighty burbling of the waterfall can be heard nearly 25 miles away, while its billowing clouds of mist reach heights of 1,312 feet—it’s why the natives aptly nicknamed the falls Mosi-oa-Tunya aka “the smoke that thunders.”

Victoria Falls the largest in the world at 1,708 meters wide and 108 meters high. The view is enhanced by the surrounding rainforest, which adds to the beauty of the landscape. “Surrounded by lush terrain, water seems to flow like curtains off the cliff’s edge, resulting in photographs that are almost as impressive as the in-person experience,” adds Travel + Leisure.

Luxury Travel Expert writes that, “columns of spray can be seen from miles away as, at the height of the rainy season, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, over a width of nearly two km (1,2 miles) into a gorge over one hundred m (328 ft.) below. The wide, basalt cliff over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a placid river into a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges. A path along the edge provides visitors prepared to brave the tremendous spray with an unparalleled series of views of the falls.”

This location has a pool at the top, perfect for visitors who want to cool off! Road Affair concludes that Victoria Falls is, “one of the best experiences here at one of the seven natural wonders of the world is to take a dip in the Devil’s Pool, which precariously sits right at the top of the waterfall.”

3. Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls comes in at number three on our list of the world’s best waterfalls. This natural wonder is located in Argentina and Brazil and is comprised of around 275 individual falls, with the Devil’s Throat, a U-shaped waterfall, being the most notable. Planetware says “Iguazu Falls is actually a chain of hundreds of individual waterfalls stretched out almost three kilometers to create the world’s largest waterfall on the border between Brazil and Argentina on the Iguazu River. The visual and sound effects of all this water tumbling down some 70 meters is truly like nothing else in the world. The surrounding environs of jungly rainforest are equally beautiful, creating a magical memory you won’t ever forget. The falls are protected in a national park and can be viewed from either the Argentine or Brazilian side.”

“The tier-style falls are sprawling, flowing around rocks and lush green terrain, offering sightseers hundreds of drops to photograph. Just don’t miss the horseshoe-shaped Devil’s Throat, which marks the site’s largest waterfall,” adds Travel + Leisure.

Lux Review concludes that “the sheer enormity of the Iguazu Falls is what makes this one of the most unique and beautiful waterfalls on the planet. At 269 ft. high and an outstanding 8858 ft. wide, the Iguazu Falls is twice as wide as the famous Niagara Falls. Being one of the wettest waterfalls in the world, you won’t have to worry about experiencing a dry fall when visiting this stunning wonder of the world.”

4. Angel Falls

Angel Falls, the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, is located in Venezuela. Angel Falls stands at a towering 3,212 feet (979 meters) and offers a stunning view of the jungle below. Luxury Travel Expert says, “Angel Falls is located in the Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Venezuela. It’s the world’s highest waterfall, spilling from the Auyantepui into what is known as the Devil’s canyon 979 m (3211 ft.) below. The indigenous people call it Kerepakupai-mer but it was named Angel Falls after Jimmy Angel, an American bush pilot and gold-hunting adventurer, who discovered it in 1937. The height of the falls is so great that before getting anywhere near the ground, the water is atomized by the strong winds and turned into mist.”

What makes Angel Falls even more spectacular is that it is the only waterfall in the world that you can view from a plane – a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t soon forget. Luxury Columnist says that Angel Falls is “around 15 times higher than Niagara Falls. To visit Angel Falls, you can take a one day boat ride from Canaima through Devil’s Canyon, or a flight from Ciudad Bolívar to Canaima followed by a trek.” 

Lux Review concludes: “When the water levels are high enough between June and December, visitors can take river trips and feel the mist of the waterfall as they journey upriver. Dropping over the edge of Auyantepui mountain, the Angel Falls is truly one of the most spectacular sites in the world.”

5. Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss Waterfall is located in the canyon of the Hvítá River in southwest Iceland, and its beauty is simply mesmerizing. Trips to Discover says, “Gullfoss Falls, or Golden Falls in English, is one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls. It features two distinct drops in succession at right angles to each other, while spanning the entire width of the Hvítá River. On a summer afternoon, you’ll frequently see spectacular rainbows in its wafting mist.”

“Gullfoss is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions, which is normally photographed with a rainbow emerging from the mist. The falls are made up of two cascades and have a total drop of 105 feet. The falls are surrounded by a wide, rocky canyon, and in winter, the falls freeze over, creating a spectacular ice sculpture,” adds The Travel Bible.

From its thundering cascades to its aqua blue waters, Gullfoss is a sight to behold. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or just want to relax and admire the beauty of nature, Gullfoss is sure to take your breath away. Exodus Travels describes , “Iceland’s Gold Falls are a microcosm of Iceland itself; ferocious, raw energy of nature, the sheer scale of the beast, the power of the elements. This incredible force showcases the best this almost-Arctic island has to offer. Over one million liters of water plunges over the precipice every second, pummelling spray into the air in a misty halo.” It’s no wonder that Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and attracts visitors from all over the world. If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, make sure to add Gullfoss Waterfall to your itinerary. 

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations

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