It's hard to explain exactly why waterfalls are so enchanting, but there's no denying their effect. They top travelers' lists and are so cherished, they're often protected by parks or UNESCO designations. Each year, people traverse the globe just to witness the magnetic power of water pouring over a cliff's edge and plummeting to the earth below. And while these wonders exist all over the world — from the lush hills of Hawaii to the rugged coast of Iceland — there's no denying that some waterfalls are a little extra special, and perhaps slightly more beautiful than the rest.
From falls heralded as the largest, tallest, or most powerful in the world to little-known waterfalls with enticing swimming pools at their feet, these are some of the best and most beautiful waterfalls in the world.
More nature travel ideas
Victoria Falls — Zambia and Zimbabwe
In southern Africa, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is the iconic Victoria Falls. 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.
Havasu Falls — Arizona, US
Part of what makes Havasu Falls so spectacular is its remote location in Havasu Canyon on land that is administered by the Havasupai Tribe. While getting there isn't easy, the beauty of the falls is hard to top. Red rock sets off the white plunging water and blue-green pool, making this Arizona waterfall well-worth the extra effort.
Angel Falls — Venezuela
Considered the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world — with a height of 3,212 feet — Venezuela's Angel Falls has captured the imaginations of many. Often surrounded by clouds (due to its enormous height) the waterfall sits in Venezuela's Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Dudhsagar Falls — India
Set in the Indian state of Goa, the milky-white waters of Dudhsagar Falls seem to sprawl against the area's lush, green hillside. The waterfall includes four tiers, a beautiful pool at the bottom, and a train that cuts in front of the falls. Talk about a ride with a view!
Yosemite Falls — California, US
This two-tiered waterfall in Yosemite National Park draws numerous visitors — especially in late spring when the water flow is strongest. The beauty of the falls are only compounded by the surrounding park, which is known for its rugged, granite cliffs.
Seljalandsfoss — Iceland
Right of Route 1 (or the Ring Road), a popular route connecting most of the inhabited parts of Iceland, is the wonder of Seljalandsfoss, a waterfall whose water originates under a glacier (how cool is that?). Part of what makes this narrow falls so spectacular is the fact that it can be fully encircled, allowing for amazing sights and various photo ops.
'Akaka Falls — Hawaii, US
While 'Akaka Falls, which plummets 442 feet into a gorge below, is stunning on its own, the landscape around the falls is what sets it apart from so many others in the world. Surrounded by lush, untouched rainforest, the stark sliver of water drops in a near-perfect stream into the cavernous gorge below.
Iguazú Falls — Argentina and Brazil
Marking the border of Argentina and Brazil is the ever-powerful Iguazú Falls (or Iguaçu Falls). 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.
Plitviče Waterfalls — Croatia
The expansive Plitviče Lakes National Park in Croatia showcases 16 terraced lakes connected by various waterfalls set amongst limestone, tree-covered hills. Perhaps the most renowned waterfall is Veliki Slap, a 256-foot wonder that weaves its way down the rock to the clear blue pool below.
Sutherland Falls — New Zealand
Perhaps what makes this waterfall so spectacular is its simplicity. At Sutherland Falls, the water drops 1,904 feet in a near perfect, yet powerful stream from a picturesque pool of water above. Access to the falls, which occur in three waves, is only by air or a wilderness hike in the mountains.
Niagara Falls — US and Canada
The awe-inspiring Niagara Falls straddles the US-Canadian border, offering visitors on both sides expansive views and continuous roaring water. On the US side, the falls sit in Niagara Falls State Park (the country's oldest state park) where 3,160 tons of water flow every second.
Jog Falls — India
Not far from the western coast of India is Jog Falls, a segmented waterfall that is most stunning when viewed during monsoon season (August to December). During this rain-heavy time, the falls go from a spidery trickle to a powerful force of nature that plunges off the cliffs toward the earth.
Kawasan Falls — Philippines
This series of three waterfalls, which drop into natural swimming holes and lagoons, is not only beautiful, it's interactive. At Kawasan Falls, you can strip down and take a dip in the cool water or continue hiking on the jungle trails toward the next pool. The falls are located on Cebu Island, southwest of Cebu City.
Kuang Si Falls — Laos
Just south of the culture-rich city of Luang Prabang is Kuang Si Falls (aka Kuang Xi Falls). The stunning milky blue waters at the base of the three-tiered waterfall draw swimmers, photographers, and Instagrammers who come to see the standout color of the water and wade in the site's shallow pools.
Kaieteur Falls — Guyana
In Guyana, people flock to Kaieteur Falls, where an impressive amount of water pours over a cliff's edge amidst the Amazon rainforest. Thanks to the consolidated and immense volume of the falls, Kaieteru is considered the largest single drop waterfall by water volume and boasts a drop of 741 feet. (That's four times taller than Niagara and twice as high as Victoria Falls.)
Tegenungan Waterfall — Bali
Set on the island of Bali in Indonesia, this beautiful, isolated waterfall has become a must for travelers visiting the neighboring art village of Ubud. At Tegenungan, the water drops with force into a pool below that is often full of swimmers trying to escape the heat.
Ban Gioc Waterfall — Vietnam and China
Ban Gioc Waterfall, also known as Detian Falls or Ban Gioc Falls, encompasses a series of waterfalls that straddle the border between China and Vietnam. In a stunning show of power and grandeur, water flows endlessly through pools, down tiers, and over cliffs in a unique horseshoe shape.
Jim Jim Falls — Australia
These Australian falls drop over a rocky escarpment to the earth 656 feet below. Set in the Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia, the Jim Jim Falls are typically only accessible during the dry season (May-October), when you can drive in. During the tropical season (November-April), when the falls are at their full strength, you can only see them from the air.
Yumbilla Falls — Peru
Yumbilla Falls in northern Peru draws people from all over the globe, and for good reason — the waterfall is considered the world's fifth tallest waterfall and drops from a dizzying height in a near perfect stream of power and force.
Rhine Falls — Switzerland
You won't find water toppling over an enormous cliff here, but the surrounding scenery (hello, it is Switzerland after all) makes Rhine Falls a must. The water cascades powerfully over and around the rocky, tiered terrain, showcasing an impressive mass of white, churned up water.
Multnomah Falls — Oregon, US
These falls may be right off the busy Historic Columbia River Highway, but the site's easy accessibility does nothing to tarnish its fairy-like feel. Set in the Columbia River Gorge between Portland and Hood River, Oregon, travelers come to see water plunging from the upper falls and down to the lower falls as the iconic Benson Bridge stands prominently in the foreground.
What is the number 1 waterfall in the world? ›
1) Niagara Falls, North America
Time and time again, the Niagara Falls has been heralded as the best waterfall in the world. Boasting an enormous 2600 ft in length and 167ft in height, it is one of the top attractions bordering both the USA and Canada.
- BRAZIL & ARGENTINA: IGUAZU FALLS. ...
- GUYANA: KAIETEUR FALLS. ...
- VENEZUELA: ANGEL FALLS. ...
- ZAMBIA & ZIMBABWE: VICTORIA FALLS. ...
- CHINA & VIETNAM: BAN GIOC-DETIAN FALLS. ...
- ICELAND: GULLFOSS FALLS. ...
- AUSTRALIA: JIM JIM FALLS. ...
- U.S. & CANADA: NIAGARA FALLS.
Tugela Falls, South Africa
There lies Tugela Falls, second on the list of 10 of the world's tallest waterfalls, with a combined total drop of 948 meters.
Indeed, the world's largest waterfall lies beneath the Denmark Strait, which separates Iceland and Greenland. At the bottom of the strait are a series of cataracts that begin 2,000 feet under the strait's surface and plunge to a depth of 10,000 feet at the southern tip of Greenland—nearly a two-mile drop.What is the biggest falls in the world? ›
The Victoria Falls have been billed as the Greatest Falling Curtain of Water on this Planet, making it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The Victoria Falls is considered to be the largest waterfall in the world.What is the tallest waterfall in the world 2022? ›
Which is the Highest Waterfall in the World in 2022? The highest Waterfall in the World is the Angel Falls. Situated in Venezuela, Angel Falls features a height of 979 meters (3,212 ft).Which country is known for waterfall? ›
Countries like New Zealand and Norway are known for the volume of waterfalls they offer. Argentina/Brazil and Zambia/Zimbabwe are known for the sheer size of their waterfalls, while Japan's falls are renowned for their beauty. Even ice-cold Antarctica has a famous waterfall!What city has the most waterfalls in the world? ›
Promoted as the “City of Waterfalls,” Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, located on the banks of Lake Ontario, is home to 156 waterfalls within the city limits, the most to be counted and recorded to date by any individual city in the world.What is the strongest water fall in the world? ›
Niagara Falls is the most strongest and powerful waterfall in the world. With a vertical drop of more than 188 feet and a volume of water reaching 225,000 cubic feet per second, Niagara Falls probably seemed like the most powerful waterfall in the world.What are the top 3 highest waterfalls? ›
What is the third biggest waterfall in the world? ›
Tres Hermanas Falls, or "the Three Sisters," is a trifecta of threes: its name, its three tiers and its nearly 3,000-foot height make it the third tallest waterfall in the world.Which is the wildest waterfall in the world? ›
Angel Falls (Venezuela, South America)
Located in Venezuela's Canaima National Park, Angel Falls, otherwise known as Kerepakupai Merú, is the world's tallest and some would argue most beautiful waterfall at 979 meters. Around one million people are thought to visit the waterfall each year.
The highest or tallest waterfall in the world is generally agreed to be Angel Falls, or Kerepakupai Merú, meaning 'waterfall of the deepest place', in Venezuela, which drop a reported 979 metres.What is underneath Niagara Falls? ›
The brown foam below Niagara Falls is a natural result of tons of water plummeting into the depths below. It is not dangerous. The brown colour is clay, which contains suspended particles of decayed vegetative matter. It is mostly from the shallow eastern basin of Lake Erie.Where is Angel waterfall? ›
The highest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls in Venezuela (807 m [2,650 feet]).Is there a waterfall under the sea? ›
Earth's biggest waterfalls are in the ocean
In the Strait, meet the freezing waters of the Greenland Sea and those slightly less cold of the Irminger Sea. The colder and denser current, flows under the warmer waters, creating these immense waterfalls that unfortunately remain hidden from human sight.
In comparison, Victoria Falls is the world's largest sheet of falling water and is almost double the height of Niagara Falls and half a kilometer wider. In the wet season, the spray from Victoria Falls can rise 400m above the falls and can be seen from up to 48km away.Is Niagara Falls biggest waterfall in the world? ›
No, Niagara Falls is not the tallest waterfall in the world. About 50 other waterfalls are “taller” including the Angel Falls in Venezuela, ranking first at a height at 979 metres (3,212 feet).Which waterfall flows the most water? ›
The World Waterfalls Database lists Inga Falls, an area of rapids on the Congo River, as the waterfall with the largest volume. More than 11 million gallons (46 million liters) of water flow through Inga Falls each second.Is Niagara Falls natural or man made? ›
Niagara Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. This magnificent waterfall is nature's creation and not man-made. It is a group of 3 waterfalls on the Niagara River, which flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.
What is the tallest waterfall in Asia? ›
The Ban Gioc Falls is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest waterfall along an international border, with only the Iguazu Falls, Victoria Falls and Niagara Falls larger than it.In which continent is the highest waterfall located? ›
Angel Falls is a waterfall in Venezuela. It is the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, with a height of 979 meters in South America.How many waterfalls are in the world? ›
Out of the over 7,800 documented waterfalls in the world, there are only 31 known perennial and seasonal waterfalls that empty directly into an open ocean or sea (as opposed flowing into a river, stream, inlet, or fjord).Which is highest falls in India? ›
Which is the highest waterfall in India? Kunchikal Falls in Shimoga District Karnataka is the highest waterfall in India with a height of 1493 feet.What is the largest waterfall by volume? ›
- Location: Parana, Argentina, South America.
- Width: 8,858 feet or 2,700 meters Volume: 1,746 cubic meters per second.
- Location: Misiones, Argentina, South America.
- Width: 6,774 feet or 2,065 meters Volume: Unknown (variable)
Lower Falls of the Yellowstone (WY)
Perhaps the biggest waterfall in the US Rockies, the Lower Falls surge more than 300 feet into the pinnacled Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone to create one of the defining landmarks of the world's oldest national park.
Which US state has the most waterfalls? - Quora. With 17,077 documented waterfalls across America, the nation has more waterfalls than any other country in the world. Just for fun, I'll give you the top 10 states.Which state has the most beautiful waterfalls? ›
- Niagara Falls, New York.
- Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California.
- Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho.
- Multnomah Falls, Oregon.
- Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
- Palouse Falls, Washington.
- Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, Arizona.
Taking volume into consideration, Niagara Falls is still not the largest. It ranks in the top 10 in the world, with controversy surrounding which waterfall has the most flow.Where is the biggest waterfall in Europe? ›
Europe's biggest waterfall is in Switzerland. Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen fascinates visitors with its great water volume. The Rhine Falls provides a magnificent spectacle.
What is the world's waterfall capital? ›
About 54 miles northwest of Niagara on the edge of Lake Ontario, you'll find the Canadian port city of Hamilton—otherwise known as the "Waterfall Capital of the World." And it's not just a marketing scheme.Which city is known as city of waterfalls? ›
The capital of an eastern state, Jharkhand, Ranchi use to be known as Lohardaga in earlier times.What state in USA has the most waterfalls? ›
The one state, in particular, that has slightly more waterfalls than any other is Washington - with its neighbor, Oregon, being a close second. Washington's landscape is chiseled by the most extreme and breathtaking mountains, rivers that curve through cliffsides, and lush forests that envelop much of the state.Which is bigger Niagara Falls or Iguazu Falls? ›
To put that in perspective, Iguazu Falls is nearly twice as tall as Niagara Falls and rivaled only by Zambia and Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls, which is taller at 108 meters. It's nearly three times as wide as Niagara Falls and significantly wider still than Victoria Falls.What is the longest single drop waterfall? ›
Kaieteur Falls is the world's largest single drop waterfall. Located on the Potaro River in the Kaieteur National Park, it sits in a section of the Amazon rainforest included in the Potaro-Siparuni region of Guyana.How fast does water fall? ›
When all the parameters are considered the terminal velocity of a typical raindrop is calculated to be about 9 meters per second or 20 mph. A smaller raindrop of radius 0.15 cm has a terminal velocity of about 7 meters per second or 16 mph.Is Niagara Falls a wonder of the world? ›
While there is no 'official' seven wonders of the world list, Niagara Falls is commonly listed amongst various lists as a seventh wonder, as a candidate for the 'natural wonders of the world', or as an honorary 8th wonder of the world.Where is Angel Falls located in which country? ›
Angel Falls (Spanish: Salto Ángel; Pemon language: Kerepakupai Merú meaning "waterfall of the deepest place", or Parakupá Vená, meaning "the fall from the highest point") is a waterfall in Venezuela.Which is the most beautiful waterfall in India? ›
The Nohkalikai Falls is the largest and most beautiful waterfall in India, measuring a whopping 335 meter and is located in Cherrapunji, which is also one of the wettest places on earth.Which is bigger Niagara Falls or Victoria Falls? ›
In comparison, Victoria Falls is the world's largest sheet of falling water and is almost double the height of Niagara Falls and half a kilometer wider.
What is Niagara Falls famous for? ›
What makes Niagara Falls so impressive is the amount of water flowing over. Most of the tallest falls in the world have very little water flowing over them. It's the combination of height and volume that makes Niagara Falls so breathtaking.Which City is known as City of waterfalls? ›
The capital of an eastern state, Jharkhand, Ranchi use to be known as Lohardaga in earlier times.Which City is known for its beautiful waterfall? ›
Athirapally Waterfalls, Kerala
The sizzling silver water droplets fall down into the lush green forest, which is home to species like Great Indian Hornbill, Cochin Forest Cane Turtle and the Nilgiri Langur. Appropriately called the 'Niagara in India', Athirappilly falls can make anyone fall in love at first sight.
Shivasamudram fall is the second largest water fall in India ( and 16th in the world). It has average width of about 850 mtrs, height of about 90 mtrs.Which city has the most waterfalls? ›
Promoted as the “City of Waterfalls,” Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, located on the banks of Lake Ontario, is home to 156 waterfalls within the city limits, the most to be counted and recorded to date by any individual city in the world.Where is the red waterfall? ›
The Red Waterfall is between West Newton and McKeesport, and the closest parking is at the GAP trailhead near Sutersville, Pa.What is the biggest falls in the world? ›
The Victoria Falls have been billed as the Greatest Falling Curtain of Water on this Planet, making it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The Victoria Falls is considered to be the largest waterfall in the world.Which waterfall has the most water? ›
The World Waterfalls Database lists Inga Falls, an area of rapids on the Congo River, as the waterfall with the largest volume. More than 11 million gallons (46 million liters) of water flow through Inga Falls each second.Which is the wildest waterfall in the world? ›
The widest waterfall in the world can be found on the Mekong River in Laos. The 35,376-foot wide Khone Phapheng Falls in Ban Hang Khone is actually a combination of the Khone and Pha Pheng Falls. Two and a half million gallons of water flow through these falls — double what Niagara Falls sees!How long will Niagara Falls last? ›
Even today, erosion pushes the falls upstream at a rate of around a foot every year. According to some projections, the river will erode to Lake Erie in 50,000 years, going through a cliff and soft rock before draining Lake Erie.
Can you swim in Niagara Falls? ›
NO Swimming Access. Downstream there is a lot of water exposure via the falls mist, through the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds. Niagara River @ upstream of Niagara Falls is sampled monthly from April 1st to October 31st.What are the 7 Wonders of the World Niagara Falls? ›
While there is no 'official' seven wonders of the world list, Niagara Falls is commonly listed amongst various lists as a seventh wonder, as a candidate for the 'natural wonders of the world', or as an honorary 8th wonder of the world.