Mesmerizing Waterfalls That Are Worth the Detour
From snowmelt serenely cascading downhill to the epic roar of mammoth rivers plummeting hundreds of meters to crash on the rocks below, waterfalls of all shapes and sizes capture travelers’ imagination with their perpetual movement and raw display of natural power. With 81% of global travelers* saying that outstanding scenery is very important when picking the destination for their next trip, we present six off-the-beaten-path places that bring travelers up close and personal with some of Mother Nature’s most unique and stunningly beautiful waterfalls. Whether already planning a road trip through one of these scenic areas or just looking for a little inspiration for your next adventure, from Bulgaria to Bidulginang, these mesmerizing natural landmarks are well worth the detour.
Krushuna Falls, Bulgaria
Set in the middle of the forest just a 2.5-hour drive from Sofia, the gently cascading waters and terraced, turquoise pools of Krushuna Falls make for an excellent day trip from the Bulgarian capital. Only reachable by car and via a 20-minute walk from a village of the same name through the national park, this beautiful series of falls attracts visitors from both near and far with their inviting mineral pools, which at 58°C (146°F) are perfect for a rejuvenating soak. If you’re curious to explore more of the area’s outstanding scenery, the mysterious and otherworldly Devetashka Cave is a short walk away along the main road, near the village of Devetaki.
Where to stay: Located in the village of Krushuna, Guest House Bigora is just a relatively short and easy walk away from the waterfalls. The guest house also offers complimentary bikes in case you would prefer to park your car and explore the nearby area on two wheels instead.
Ouzoud Falls, Morocco
Only a 2.5-hour drive from Marrakech through a varied and stunning landscape, Ouzoud Falls are the highest in North Africa. From the moment you arrive in this beautiful location, you will be thrilled by the dramatically tiered cascade of water that tumbles over the umber rocks, kissed by lush greenery and home to scores of monkeys (Barbary macaques). For the free-spirited, you can take a boat ride straight underneath the mouth of the waterfall to view the beautiful rainbows created by the spray and consequently get absolutely drenched by the thundering torrents of water. You can also swim in the natural pools at the bottom of the falls or climb the path that takes you from the bottom to the top (or vice-versa). No matter your preferred level of adventure, there are a multitude of ways to literally immerse yourself in the experience.
Where to stay: If you fall in love with the austere, rugged beauty of this place and are looking for a truly authentic Moroccan stay, spend the night nearby at the Riad Cascades d'Ouzoud. It’s just a short walk from the waterfall and is a tranquil retreat where you can treat yourself to stunning views of the surrounding valley and Atlas Mountains in the distance.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Multnomah Falls is easily accessible by car and its proximity to the city of Portland (just a 30-minute drive away), makes it a popular side trip year-round. After a moderate two-mile (3.5 km) hike with around 700 feet (213 m) of elevation to contend with, you will be able to get the ideal shot of photogenic Benson Bridge with the falls in the background. For even more impressive views, you can continue to the overlook point, which is an additional 20-minute hike away. While you’re there, make sure to visit Multnomah Falls Lodge, which was built in 1925. In addition to the delicious local fish on the menu, you can enjoy fine wines from both Oregon and Washington state, as well as craft beers from the area, all from a privileged vantage point at the base of the falls.
Where to stay: Eva's Cottage - Romancing the River is a holiday home located in Washougal, a little over 3.5 miles (6 km) from Multnomah Falls on the Washington side of the Columbia River. All forests are, by definition, a dream for nature-lovers and just a short drive away from the falls and a busy interstate, you can find yourself in this peaceful, wooded location. This cozy cottage near the Washougal River is a secluded escape for travelers who love a little fishing or are simply looking to take a digital detox.
Rhine Falls, Switzerland
During the summer, up to 160,000 gallons (600,000 liters) of water flow over Rhine Falls every second in the Swiss town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall. There are more than a few viewing points to witness Mainland Europe’s largest waterfall ferociously roaring, as the falls are accessible from both the northern and the southern banks. The most popular observation platform though is the ‘Känzeli’ on the South shore, which you can access through Laufen Castle (where you can also enjoy a tour), or you can take a boat trip to the Rhine Falls cliffs. But be warned – you will get wet. The scenic falls are only a quick 45-minute drive from Zurich with plenty of must-sees along the way, including Munot Fortress, a 16th-century ring-shaped fortification overlooking Schaffhausen, a picturesque medieval town on the Upper Rhine between the Black Forest and Lake Constance.
Where to stay: Dating from 1654, the traditional Hotel2B is located in the historic centre of Schaffhausen. Travelers who would like to continue enjoying the outstanding beauty of the area can visit the Regionaler Naturpark Schaffhausen, a natural wonderland straddling the Swiss-German border about a six-mile (10 km) drive away.
Bidulginang Waterfalls, South Korea
Home to the Bidulginang Waterfalls, Pocheon is an inland city about 40 minutes to the northeast of Seoul. Your first stop on your road trip to visit these secluded waterfalls should be Peace Land Korea, a beautiful botanical garden at the entrance of Sanjeong Lake. The gardens are home to the ‘forgotten giants’, five sculptures made from recycled materials by the Danish artist Thomas Dambo, which playfully complement the area’s natural beauty. Your second stop should be Pocheon Herb Island, a small village where mediteranean herbs are grown and used both for cooking and healing. If you visit between November and April, the annual Herb Island Lighting & Illumination Festival impresses with millions of LED lights that decorate every building and garden in the village.
Where to stay: Located in Pocheon, Sunny Terrace offers stunning views of the surrounding area and makes for a lovely home base if you want to spend more time exploring the region’s many lakes, springs, mountains and forests.
Salto Grande, Torres del Paine, Chile
The thundering waterfalls of Salto Grande in the Patagonian paradise of Torres del Paine can be visited by driving to the Pudeto sector of the national park. After an exciting, yet accessible hike of a little over a mile (2 km) from the main road, you will reach these imposing, glacier-fed falls. With a wealth of other natural landmarks to visit, including the Grey Glacier, Lake Pehoé and Lake Sarmiento, Nordenskjöld Lake (named after the Swede who discovered it) is another real standout. Formed by a melting glacier and known for its stunning turquoise color and surrounding mountain vistas, keep your fingers crossed for a clear day to enjoy the crisp array of blues in all their glory, as the weather in Torres del Paine is famously unpredictable.
Where to stay: From mountains and glaciers to forests and lakes, Torres del Paine (‘Towers of Blue’) is a bucket-list part of Chile that many travelers are aching to visit. Just a short drive from the national park entrance and overlooking the Paine massif, Pampa Lodge, Quincho & Caballos is a great base to get in touch with nature and rest before you hike, climb and ride your way through the park’s marvels. You can even take advantage of an unforgettable adventure on horseback through the surrounding area’s incredible mountainous terrain.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 53,492 respondents across 31 markets. In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place between October 16th and November 12th, 2018.