Browse our picks for the 20 best waterfalls in the World, click on a heading to learn more about the specific waterfall.
South America’s biggest waterfall is a cinematic, pulsing monster releasing over 61,660 cubic feet of water into the Devil’s Throat gorge every single second. Come here to be blown away by the scale, the noise, and the majesty of this immense cataract. Just don’t be afraid to get wet.
The most famous waterfall in the world, split between the U.S.A and Canada, is surely Niagara, a complex of three huge drops. Split between the U.S.A and Canada, Niagara is surely the most famous waterfall in the world. A complex of three huge drops, Niagara is especially renowned for the ferries that brave the steamy plunge pool, as well as the many daredevils who have attempted to survive the drop. It is one of nature’s most stunning spectacles.
This giant waterfall—the biggest in the world—was named after an American pilot who crashed into it during bad weather. Upon seeing the sheer scale of this magnificent drop, you might be left wondering just how he failed to notice this magnificent 3212-foot-high beast.
The biggest sheet of falling water on earth, Victoria Falls was once referred to by Arab traders as the “End of the World” due to its monumental and frightening size. Named after the Queen during the era of British colonialism, Victoria Falls is so big it straddles two nations.
Milford Sound, voted the world’s best travel destination in 2008, is home to these magnificent and incontestably picturesque falls. Just getting there, however, can be an adventure in itself, requiring a walk through the awesome mountain ranges that can last days.
Fed by a huge, ancient glacier, Europe’s biggest waterfall is the mighty Dettifoss in Iceland, a nation well known for its dramatic geological features. The muddy waters of this cataract are amongst the most powerful in the world, tossing huge boulders and rocks over the edge as though they were pebbles.
Hawaii is truly the land of scenic waterfalls, and Papaulaua, surrounded by volcanic mountains of lush, tropical rainforest, is perhaps the most scenic of all. This 1,250 foot high thread of water is a must-see for any visitor to the most peaceful island in the Hawaiian Archipelago—Molokai.
Famously captured on film by photographer Ansel Adams, the highest waterfall in North America is even more spectacular face-to-face. Yosemite Falls also happens to located in one of the best wildlife parks in the world, great for nature lovers hoping to catch a glimpse of bears, marmots and eagles.
China’s best loved waterfall may also be Vietnam’s, as this complex of rapids and falls is situated right on the border. In fact these squabbling neighbours have been fighting over the falls for decades, and when you visit this breathtaking turquoise cataract in person, it is easy to understand why.
This waterfall, high up in the mountains of Lebanon, is one of the finest underground falls anywhere in the world. Descending more than 837 feet into a limestone cave, the Gorge is criss-crossed by lithe stone arches, so delicate they can barely withstand the weight of an average human.
Havasu Falls in Arizona may just be the most idyllic waterfall this side of Utopia, with azure waters, natural infinity pools, and a shaded sandstone gorge all waiting to be discovered. Near the majestic Grand Canyon, this is a great place to cool down after walking through the punishing deserts of the South West.
One of the most stunning natural wonders on the famous Blue Nile River, these Ethiopian falls are known as Smoking Water in the local Amharic language. Despite the name, don’t expect this waterfall to be brilliantly blue—the soft ground upstream means this 147-foot drop is almost always a muddy brown.
The Khone Pahpheng Falls are the world’s widest at over 8 miles, extending along the immense Mekong River from bank to bank. Known for Irrawoddy dolphins, giant catfish, and the deadly rapids, this is a waterfall under immediate threat of extinction. Visit before a hydro-electric dam turns this impressive fall into a mere trickle.
One of the most scenic waterfalls in the Swiss Alps, this beautiful cataract is most famous for being where Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty were thought to have fallen to their deaths. Read on, however, to find out what really happened to Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous fictional hero.
This dramatic waterfall leaps over cliffs in the otherwise peaceful Italian region of Umbria, and, surprisingly, did not even exist some 2000 years ago. Devised by the ancient Romans who redirected a formerly stagnant river, this waterfall is a monument to their soaring ambition and technical brilliance.
One of the finest waterfall complexes in all of Europe, visitors will have to put some effort in to experience all of this sprawling 5-mile series of lakes, rapids, pools and cataracts. Jagged karst mountains and a protected national park frame the emerald waters of this beautiful natural descent.
Though modest in size, the Amsel Falls in Germany’s scenic Saxon Switzerland district may be the only coin operated waterfall in the world. A wholly artificial fall, it was created in the 19th century by redirecting an underground stream through a steep and narrow gorge.
India’s most powerful waterfall is the Jog Falls, a Jekyll and Hyde waterfall that completely changes between dry and wet seasons. Though elegant and calm for much of the year, monsoon waters manage to transform it into an angry and raging deluge, one of the most impressive in the world.
High in the Drakensberg mountains of North-Eastern South Africa, the Tugela Falls are the second highest in the world. The other-worldly feel of this area is said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and visitors cannot fail to be impressed by the grandeur of this lost land.
Located on the oldest plateau on earth (dating back some three billion years), the Kaieteur falls are, according to some measurements, the biggest single falls in the world. Surrounded by pristine rainforest, this sight is also a must-see should you wish to experience jungle wildlife at its purest.
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