NATURAL WONDERS

10 Most Beautiful Waterfalls

From the thundering roar of Niagara Falls in the U.S. to the elegant veil of Angel Falls in Venezuela, we found the world's most photogenic waterfalls—and share the best ways to see the action in person.

Closest major city: Fiordland National Park is about 280 miles southwest of Queenstown. Most visitors rent a car to make the drive, which takes about five hours from Queenstown.

Best time to go: Go during New Zealand's summer, December to February, when the days are long and the temperatures hover around a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Gullfoss Falls

Iceland

Located on the southwest coast of Iceland, this is one of the most unconventional-looking waterfalls around. It's two-tiered, and even though neither drop is particularly high, together they make for an incredible sight. The first fall cascades to the right, the water churning around before hitting a sheer cliff, where it turns to the left and drops again. Viator Tours operates a half-day trip that stops at Gullfoss and two more of Iceland's biggest attractions: Geysir, which can spout water up to 230 feet high, and the Kerid volcanic crater ($88 per person).

Closest major city: Viator Tours provides transportation to and from Reykjavik. The bus ride is 75 miles and takes about an hour and a half.

Best time to go: Go during June, July, and August, when the ice has melted and temperatures are at their warmest (ranging from 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit).

 

 

Angel Falls

Venezuela

The tallest waterfall in the world at 3,211 feet, Angel Falls is so high that some of the water evaporates before it even reaches the pool below. When you look up from the base, the waterfall seems to come from nowhere. Unlike most falls, this one isn't fed by snowmelt, a lake, or a river, but by rainfall from the tropical clouds. Getting to and from Angel Falls on your own is logistically tricky, so it's necessary to see this cascade with a guide. The three-day tour from Akanan Travel & Adventure includes airfare from Caracas, Venezuela's capitol, to Angel Falls; hammocks to sleep on; all meals; and insider access to the falls, including hikes, canoe rides, and a dip in a hidden pool at the base of the waterfall ( $450 per person).

Closest major city: Angel Falls is located in Canaima National Park, which has an on-site airport that connects visitors to and from Caracas.

Best time to go: Akanan's tours run from July through November, when the waterfalls flow is at its heaviest.

 

Langfoss Waterfall

Norway

Instead of falling in a straight drop like most waterfalls, Langfoss slips down a cliff, maintaining contact with the rocks the entire way down, before spilling into Akra Fjord. Langfoss isn't the biggest waterfall in Norway, but its combined height (2,008 feet) and width (205 feet) are an impressive combination. The mountainside in the background turns bright green with new vegetation in the summer, providing a striking contrast to the whitewater of the falls and the charcoal-gray rocky outcroppings. It's one of the few waterfalls in Norway that hasn't been tapped for hydroelectric power and is still in its natural state. The Langfoss Waterfall Fjord Cruise travels past tiny farms and rugged mountains on its way to the gusher ($45).

Closest major city: From Oslo, you can drive the 246 miles (about five hours) to the small town of Etne, where Langfoss falls; you can also fly from Oslo directly into Haugesund airport and then drive 43 miles to Etne.

Best time to go: The weather around Langfoss is at its best from June through September.

 

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Angel Falls

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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