As almost two-thirds of the earth is covered in water, it is not a wonder that the planet is full of uncountable, fast-flowing, cascading waters. Waterfalls are the greatest gift from nature.
The top 20 most extensive waterfalls in the world are listed here, all of which are equally gorgeous and amazing. Be ready to fill your travel buckets with waterfall destinations!
Table of Contents
1. Angel Falls
Angel Falls in Venezuela is the tallest waterfall globally, cascading from 3212 feet (979 meters) with two different falls. It lies in the Canaima National Park, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The waterfall is named after pilot Jimmy Angel who first spotted the waterfall in 1937. Although Angels Falls is located remotely and is quite challenging to visit, it receives many tourists all year round.
|Location||Canaima National Park, Venezuela|
2. Jog Falls, Shimoga, India
Another most stunning waterfall lies hidden in the Shimoga district in Karnataka, India. It is one of the highest cataracts in India, formed by the Sharavathi River flowing from a height of 829 feet (253 meters) above the ground.
It comprises four waterfalls, namely, Rani, Raja, Roarer, and Rocket. The most shocking part is that the fall is almost dead during the winter and autumn seasons, with only a few streams of water running down the cliff.
However, it bounces back to its gigantic structure exceeding the Kaieteur Falls in volume and height during the monsoon seasons. The waterfall is at its best between June and September.
3. Sutherland Waterfalls
If you are from New Zealand or if you have visited the country, it’s pretty confident that you have had to witness Sutherland Falls in its full glory.
After all, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in New Zealand that descends into the Glacier lakes of Fiordland National Park.
The Sutherland waterfall was named after a Scottish settler, Donald Sutherland. It is located 1,904 feet (580 meters) above sea level on the summit of a mountain from the lake Quill on the southern island.
Sutherland waterfall cascades into three steps, offering a majestic view to tourists willing to take a 90-minutes hike towards the location.
|Location||Fiordland National Park, New Zealand|
4. Ban Gioc–Detian Falls, China
This beautiful water jewel lying hidden between the borders of China and Vietnam is one of the largest and yet very unpopular waterfalls in the world. It is the largest waterfall in Vietnam which comprises two distinct waterfalls.
The Ban Gioc-Detian Fall drops down from 3280 feet (1000 meters) in four drops. It has one of the highest cascades at 230 feet (70 meters) with a width of 656 feet (200 meters).
Although it might be a challenge to reach this impeccable destination, the view will indeed remain in your memories for a lifetime.
|Location||China – Vietnam Border|
|Dimension||230 feet tall cascades, 656 feet width|
5. Gulfoss, Iceland
Gulfoss Falls, the Icelandic beauty beneath the Northern lights, is an iconic attraction for Iceland tourists. It lies in the crevices that cut through the barren mountains in northern Europe.
The height of the waterfall is 804 feet (245 meters), formed by the Olfusa River gushing off a cliff into a stream.
This ice-toned beauty has the highest volume of water in entire Europe. And did you know that Gulfos is one of the significant sources of electricity in Iceland?
Gulfoss means “Golden Falls,” named after the colors observed in the water on a bright and sunny morning. The fall consists of two distinct waterfalls lying at a right angle.
Visitors inform that the gushing water sounds resemble a perfect soundtrack complemented by the theatrical scenery.
|Location||Gulfoss Falls, Iceland|
6. Pearl Shoal Waterfall, China
Pearl Shoal Waterfall is located inside Jiuzhaigou valley in China, attracting millions of visitors every year during the warmer seasons.
The waterfall is at the height of 137 feet (40 meters) and width of 533 feet (162 meters), surrounded by seven traditional and beautiful villages.
The waterfall originates from one of the major tributaries of the Bailong River. One of the unique geological features of this waterfall is that it is outwardly concave in shape.
|Location||Jiuzhaigou Valley, China|
|Dimension||137 feet tall, 533 feet width|
7. Iguazu Falls, Brazil- Argentina
Can there be anything more exciting than a collection of 275 different cascading falls and drops? Well, if you want to witness this beauty, you might want to visit either Argentina or Brazil. Iguazu is the world’s most extensive waterfall system.
The highest point in the waterfall is at 269 feet (82 meters), spreading over almost three kilometers and cascading over the Parana Plateau.
Various legends surround the waterfall, one of which relates to a divinity who desired to marry a peasant maiden.
But, the girl eloped with her lover in a canoe on River Iguazu. Hence, the Creator cut the river into two in immense outrage forming the waterfall.
|Dimension||269 feet tall, 3 kilometers extend|
8. Browne Falls, New Zealand
Browne Falls is the highest waterfall in New Zealand at an astounding height of 2743 feet (836 meters). The waterfall originates from Lake Browne. It is considered the 9th tallest waterfall in the world.
This waterfall was discovered by Victor Carlyle, a famous photographer in New Zealand, and is located inside the Fiordland National Park in Doubtful Sound. Although it is not a well-known tourist destination, it has some fantastic hiking and trekking trails.
|Location||Browne Falls, New Zealand|
9. Yosemite Falls, California
Lying at the height of 2425 feet (746 meters) in the Yosemite Valley in Sierra Nevada, California, Yosemite Falls is the second tallest waterfall in all of North America. It comprises three significant drops with the longest individual drop of 1,430 feet.
Legends believe that witches once inhabited the pool at the waterfall’s base. When a young woman went to fetch a bucket of water, she found that the water was full of snakes.
That night, her house was sucked into the pool of water by a powerful storm as a result of trespassing the witch’s territory.
The waterfall offers the best view during the spring seasons, along with numerous hiking trails suitable for both novice and advanced hikers.
|Location||Sierra Nevada, California|
|Dimension||1430 feet (longest drop)|
10. Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
The largest single drop waterfall by volume in the world lies in the deep Amazon, plunging from the Potaro River at the height of 741 feet (226 meters). Kaieteur Falls is a mighty waterfall that disturbs the riverbed giving it a muddy coloration.
The water plunges at 226 meters through the air covering the entire surrounding in a fine water spray. It’s no surprise that it’s one of Guyana’s most popular tourist destinations.
11. Gocta Cataracts, Peru
This perennial waterfall is the second tallest waterfall in South America and the largest one in Peru that remained undiscovered until 2005.
Gocta Cataracts was discovered by Stefan Ziemendorff, a German engineer who came across the waterfall, hunting for pre-Incan ruins.
Although the waterfall was in view for the entire village and the residents had known about its existence, no one ever talked about it. Locals believed that anyone who revealed the waterfall would be cursed by the mermaid who lived in the waters.
It drops from a height of 2530 feet (771 meters) above sea level. The waterfall consists of two drops, and the longest one is 1772 feet.
The waterfall is located in the Peruvian province of Bongara, in the Amazon region.
12. Plitvice Waterfalls, Croatia
Croatia is famous for its breathtaking view of 16 interconnected waterfalls originating from 16 different lakes in Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Plitvice is one of the most beautiful waterfalls globally, which offers a stunning view of the waters and the natural beauty surrounding the fall.
Plitvice fall is situated amongst the hills near the Bosnian borders forming a captivating water garden. And the best part about these falls is that visitors can get a free boat ride from the upper part of the lake to the lower.
This particular natural beauty attracts more than a million tourists in Croatia every year during the summer season.
|Location||Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia|
|Dimension||256 feet (most prolonged fall)|
13. Niagara Falls, US – Canada Border
Situated between Canada and the US, Niagara Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls globally, consisting of three different falls that stretch on what seems like forever.
The three other waterfalls are American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls, creating a natural border between the US and Canada.
Niagara Falls drops a total of 85,000 cubic feet of water in just one second. Over 20 million people visit Niagara Falls yearly, and it is also popularly known as “the Vegas of waterfalls.”
14. Vinnufossen Waterfall, Sunndal, Norway
Vinufossen waterfall is one of the most visited locations in Norway and the tallest waterfall in Europe at 2838 feet (853 meters) in height.
The waterfall is a part of the Vinnu River that originates from melting the Vinnubreen glacier and drops in four separate cascades before hitting the surface. At the base of the fall, Vinufossen joins the Driva River.
15. Salto Para Falls, Venezuela
The second widest waterfall globally, Salto Para Falls, acted as a primitive boundary between Venezuela’s Ye’kuana and Kalina tribes.
It has a powerful flow of 3540 cubic meters per second and a width of 18,400 feet (5,608 meters). The highest drop of Salto Para is at 197 feet (60 meters).
It is popularly known as the half-moon-shaped waterfall circulated by thick forest on either side of the enormous rivers.
Although no roads lead directly to Salto Para Falls, you can easily access this magnetic view by taking a boat trip into the forest.
|Location||Venezuela-Yekuana-kalina tribes border|
|Dimension||197 feet (highest drop)|
16. Tugela, South Africa
Due to the reason that this South African waterfall completely dries out during certain times of the year and plunges heavily during the monsoon seasons, it was named Tugela. Tugela is another word for “surprise” or “startling.”
It is the highest waterfall in Africa, plunging from about 3,110 feet with five magnificent drops. Furthermore, it is also considered the highest cascade on earth.
The fall is also known as Thukela falls and originates from Tugela River, located in the Royal Natal National Park.
Tugela Falls has been found over 100 feet taller than its current recognized height; if verified, it would make it the tallest waterfall in the world over Angel Falls.
|Dimension||3110 feet in 5 drops|
17. Khone Falls, Laos
The largest waterfall in South East Asia is Khone Falls, which is also the broadest one in the world. It spreads over, covering a great distance of 9.7 km (6 miles) in succession rapids. Tourists claim that it is one-of-a-kind waterfalls on earth.
The waterfall consists of the tallest rapid cascading from a height of 69 feet (21 meters), followed by numerous cascades gushing one after another.
|Dimension||69 feet (tallest cascade)|
18. Dettifoss, Iceland
Dettifoss is the second most beautiful waterfall in Europe, flowing from the Vatanahokull to Glacier. It is a part of the Diamond circle comprising significant attractions like Lake Myvatn, Abyrgi Canyon, and Husavik.
The waterfall, 144ft (44m) tall, is wrapped up in a misty blanket along with numerous rainbows that can be observed from miles away.
19. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, one of Africa’s most famous tourist locations, is not the world’s tallest or widest waterfall, but it is the world’s largest waterfall in terms of height and weight.
With a height of 354 feet and a width of 5,600 feet, it produces an immense sheet of the waterfall on the planet, resembling a curtain of falling water.
Victoria Falls is a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe formed as the Zimbabwe River lowers into a single drop.
|Dimension||354 feet height, 5600 feet width|
20. Rhine Falls, Switzerland
Switzerland hosts one of the largest waterfalls by volume in Europe, namely Rhine Falls, located on the Upper Rhine River. The waterfall is about 15,000 years old, formed during the Ice Age.
It is only about 75 feet in height, but its width is nearly 500 feet. During the summer, as the snow melts, a large amount of water flows through the Rhine falls.
The water from the falls flows to four countries before it accumulates in the North Sea. Almost one million tourists visit the falls every year, making it one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.
|Dimension||75 feet height, 500 feet width|
Have you decided which of these beauties you want to visit on your next travel tour? Well, if you are a city person, Niagara Falls will not disappoint you.
However, if you want a little bit of adventure, Ban Gioc–Detian Falls will satisfy your thirst for the thrill. How about we clear our schedule for a water tour, right?
(Last Updated on October 28, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)