Known for its myriad natural riches and particularly for its mountains and fjords, Norway is also home to some of the world’s tallest and most beautiful waterfalls.
So integral are these natural features to Norwegian life that many of them form an important part of the country’s power grid. These hardworking Norwegian waterfalls contribute to its hydroelectric supply, which accounts for over 90 percent of the country’s power provision. Despite the ecological advantages of such renewable energy, the subject is controversial, with a number of Norway’s best waterfalls greatly diminished by their use in this manner.
Nevertheless, there remain a plethora of outstanding waterfalls in Norway. So, what are the best Norwegian waterfalls? We’re diving right in, right after we look at the highest waterfall in Norway.
The Highest Waterfall in Norway
There is very little, if any, consensus as to which is the highest waterfall in Norway. Different sources offer a variety of answers. This uncertainty is due to a number of factors. Chief among these is that it’s challenging to effectively measure their height and there doesn’t appear to be an officially recognised system for doing so. Confusion over names is another issue, with disagreement over the identity of certain waterfalls being surprisingly common. What’s more, many of Norway’s most powerful waterfalls have been altered in order to provide hydroelectric power, often leading to them being diminished or even disappearing.
Two Norwegian waterfalls commonly mentioned when talking about the country’s tallest cataract are just over a mile apart in the county of Romsdal. Depending on the source, either Skorga or Vinnufallet may be the highest waterfall in Norway. Vinnufallet is stated in various sources as anywhere between between 2,837 and 2,772 feet tall, while Skorga’s cited height ranges from 2,834 and 2,870 feet. We explore these fascinating contenders for the crown below.
Vinnufallet | More og Romsdal County
Vinnufallet, also known as Vinnufossen or simply Vinnu, is one of Norway’s highest waterfalls. Part of the River Vinnu and fed by the glacier of the same name, this powerful plume of water falls in what is known as a horsetail formation. In other words, it falls in a single plunge, but touches the rocks on the way down, fanning out to resemble a horse’s tail. Interestingly, Vinnu’s neighbour is one possible contender for tallest waterfall in Norway.
Skorga | More og Romsdal County
Thanks to its inaccessibility, Skorga is much lesser known than Vinnufallet, but this tiered horsetail waterfall is equally as impressive.
Vettisfossen | Vestland County
This waterfall in the Vestland county municipality of Årdal is often cited as Norway’s highest protected or unregulated waterfall. This appears to refer to it being protected by law, apparently since 1924, against being controlled for the purpose of power generation. Plunging down in a single 900 foot drop, Vettisfossen is certainly one of the tallest waterfalls in Norway.
Kjosfossen | Vestland County
It’s a case of all-aboard for those who want to see the waterfall of Kjosfossen. Located in the Aurland municipality in Vestland, this dramatic cascade waterfall can only be viewed by train, specifically the Flåmsbana. This popular tourist track offers two views of Kjosfossen as well as several other waterfalls. In high season, there is also a performative element, with an actress playing the Scandinavian folklore character of Huldra in front of Kjosfossen.
Vøringsfossen | Vestland County
A succession of five tiered plunges from the Hardangervidda mountain plateau bring the waters of Vøringsfossen tumbling 597 feet into the Måbødalen valley below. Possibly the best known of the waterfalls of Norway, it’s part of a well-trodden tourist trail. A lot of investment has gone into maximising the views of this natural wonder, including a dramatic pedestrian bridge directly over it, completed in 2020. The water flow of Vøringsfossen is used to generate hydroelectric power, which means it is regulated. However, this is minimised in the summer to allow visitors to enjoy its full majesty.
Sarpsfossen | Viken County
Thanks to the industrial architecture surrounding it, Sarpsfossen is not considered a particularly beautiful waterfall, but it is nonetheless one of the best known waterfalls in Norway. At just 75 feet high, this small but mighty feature of the Glomma is renowned for being second only to the Rhine as the most powerful waterfall in Europe. This, incidentally, is the reason why this waterfall is so heavily used for power generation, leading to its moniker as the “Norwegian Niagara”.
Langfoss | Vestland County
Translated as “Long Falls”, Langfoss is routinely ranked as one of Norway’s best waterfalls and one glimpse explains why. Its waters thunder down in formidable cascades from 2,000 feet up in a formation reminiscent of a veil trailing behind a bride.
The Seven Sisters | More og Romsdal County
Norwegians have several words for both “seven” and “sisters”, leading to this waterfall being known by different names including Syv Systre, Sju Søstre, and Knivsflåfoss, Best viewed between May and July, when snow melt is at its peak, the Seven Sisters waterfalls are a series of glittering streams that hurtle into the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord. Whilst the name implies seven streams, the number does shift depending on one’s viewpoint and at different times. But whenever one views them, they are a truly staggering sight.
Norway's Best Waterfalls
As we’ve seen, this is a place virtually overflowing with cataracts and cascades, making it seemingly impossible to choose the best waterfalls in Norway.