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En español | This mile-long curtain of misting, thundering water is on the Zambezi River at the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. Locally the falls are known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (Smoke that Thunders). When David Livingstone first saw them in 1855, their majesty inspired him to name them after Queen Victoria. The best time to visit is during the March-through-May rainy season.
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Thundering into the Hvítá River, Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is Iceland's most famous waterfall and one of Europe's most powerful. Visit on a sunny day and, just above the water level, you'll see misty clouds filled with tiny rainbows. Combine your visit here with a trip to the nearby Geysir geothermal and its field of bubbling waters.
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Venezuela's Angel Falls — named after an American bush pilot, Jimmy Angel, who flew over them in 1937 — fall freely more than 3,000 feet into the Churun River. The world's tallest single-drop waterfall crashes down from a "tepuy" (flat-topped mountain) surrounded by dramatic jungle in Canaima National Park. It's not easily accessed, but you can explore from the air or from a "curiara" (hollowed-out canoe).
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A highlight of Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Falls have three levels: the upper falls, which plunge some 1,430 feet; the middle cascades, with a drop of 675 feet; and the lower falls, which tumble 320 feet. An easy mile-long loop trail leads to the base. If you're feeling energetic, you can continue on a more rigorous 3-mile trail to Columbia Rock for beautiful views of Yosemite Valley.
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In the southwestern state of Karnataka, these falls feature several drops that crash down 829 feet and form the Sharavathi River. They are most dramatic during the June-to-September monsoon season, when a thick spray shrouds the dense forests. The falls are still a sight from November to February, when the skies are clearer and the weather is temperate.
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On the Big Island, water ribbons through the lush Waimanu Valley, where Waihilau Falls crash down 2,600 feet. The bad news is that accessing them means hiking a tough 9-mile trail. But those who make the daylong trek are rewarded with a fantastic panorama of lush natural beauty.
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The jaw-dropping Iguazu Falls straddle the Argentina-Brazil border, a 90-minute flight from Buenos Aires. Two miles of deafening cascades plummet amid humid subtropical wet forest. You can see the falls by boat, by air or on foot. If you opt for the latter, wear rain gear: The sprays are intense.
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Ninety miles southwest of Zagreb, Plitvice Waterfalls take pride of place in a national park with 16 major interconnected lakes and myriad small ones. Between some of these turquoise pools are these waterfalls, which plunge as much as 230 feet over limestone rocks. Located in a dense forest, the falls are accessed via footpaths — though watch out for bears and wild boar!
Clinging to the cliff face on its tumbling descent into Akra Fjord, the 2,000-foot-long waterfall known as Langfoss is best seen in summer, when the bright green vegetation forms an impressive contrast to the white spray. Relax aboard the cruise boat that passes tiny farms and rugged mountains to take you to this spectacular sight.
Waterfalls take many forms: Some are tall and narrow; others are wide and thunderous. Most are mesmerizing. You already know about (and may well have visited) the iconic Niagara Falls, but check out these nine other stunners — impressive in both their scale and gorgeous natural settings.
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