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Your Guide to Gullfoss Waterfall

Updated: Apr 18

Iceland is known for its spectacular waterfalls, and the island boasts more than 10,000 of them. So, if it’s waterfalls you’re looking for, you’ll have plenty to choose from. But herein lies the problem; how do you choose between 10,000 waterfalls? Luckily, we’re here to give you the inside scoop on all the top-rated waterfalls in Iceland that are simply not to be missed, and one of these is the incredible Gullfoss Waterfall.

Gullfoss hasn’t found itself on many an Iceland tourism website or brochure for nothing. Visiting Gullfoss truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We tell you everything you need to know about the falls and why you need to have it on your Iceland bucket list.

Gullfoss waterfall

What is Gullfoss Waterfall?

Gullfoss is one of our most beautiful, biggest, and most powerful waterfalls here on the island. In fact, the falls see an astounding 109,000 to 2,000,000 liters going over the edge each second!

And if you thought that that impressive fact was the only reason Gullfoss is so incredibly special, you would be wrong. Unlike most waterfalls here on the island, Gullfoss also doesn’t come crashing over cliffs from high up above – it actually disappears into a gigantic crevice.

Another interesting fact about the falls is that despite us referring to it by one name, Gullfoss actually consists of two waterfalls falling down in a tier each. So even when we say that Gullfoss is 32 meters high, in reality, the first tier is 11 meters and the second 21 meters.

How Gullfoss Falls in Iceland was Formed

It is estimated that Gullfoss Waterfall must’ve been created by glacial flooding at the end of the last Ice Age. Now why exactly this even occurred there is still a lot of speculation about. Some blame general climate change, others say it was volcanic activity, whilst others believe it was a combination of the two.

Either way, these glacial floods carved their paths across the earth, changing the Icelandic landscape forever. The crevice at Gullfoss wouldn’t have ever existed if it wasn’t for the glacial floods that created it.

gullfoss iceland

Where is Gullfoss in Iceland

Gullfoss Waterfall can be found in Southwest Iceland in the canyon of the Hvita River. It’s not too far away from the capital city of Reykjavík (113 kilometers) and is situated close to one of our main roads and popular road trip routes, the Golden Circle.

How to Get to Gullfoss Waterfall

You have three options when it comes to visiting Gullfoss:

Go on a Tour

We have plenty of tour operators and private guides here on the island that will take you to Gullfoss. You’ll usually have your pick of options to choose from such as whether you’d like to go on a dedicated day outing, a combination tour, or even a multi-day holiday tour that includes various local attractions, including Gullfoss.

But if going on a tour is something that you’re considering and you’re planning on visiting the island during our busy summer season we highly recommend that you book your spot well in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Take a Bus

There are actually a variety of buses that have Gullfoss as a stop departing from various towns and cities across the country. Once again, you’ll have the option of picking a direct bus, or doing a bit of “bus hopping”.

Drive Yourself

This will always be the best way to explore the island since you’re not dependent on third parties and always stay in full control of your time and schedule. Even though Gullfoss is close enough to make a day trip out of it during the warmer months of the year, we suggest that you add it as a stop along your Golden Circle road trip.

Camper rental Iceland

The Legend Behind Gullfoss Waterfall

If you’re a bit of a treasure hunter at heart, it’s best to skip this part of the article before temptation gets the best of you.

The legend goes that a very rich man named Grygur had made up his mind that no one would get his hard-earned wealth after his death. He then decided to hide his stash behind the falls. Many believe that this is how the waterfall got its name, since Gullfoss translates to ‘Golden Waterfall.

The Best Time to Visit Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss technically remains open to the public all year round, but as an outdoor site, seasons do have an impact on your visit. During the summer months, you’ll have the benefit of nice weather and plenty of daylight hours to admire the gushing Gullfoss Waterfall.

But summer is also our busiest time here on the island, so you’ll inevitably be dealing with peak-season crowds. During the colder months of the year, Gullfoss turns into a scene from Frozen with the landscape draped in a white blanket of snow and the falls characterized by icy tentacles draping themselves into the crevice.

But it also means that you will need to deal with harsh weather conditions, and things get pretty slippery on the roads as well as at the falls.

Gullfoss in summer

How Much Does it Cost to Go to Gullfoss?

Nothing. Visiting Gulfoss is completely free of charge. Unless you want to visit the falls via a tour, then you’ll need to fork out quite a substantial amount.

How Long Does it Take to See Gullfoss Waterfall?

Set aside between 1-2 hours at Gullfoss. This will give you more than enough time to walk down from the parking lot and view the falls from the various viewing points.

Do You Get Wet at Gullfoss Waterfall?

Yes. Expect to get wet with all the mist and spray being generated. So, come prepared and bring a raincoat and some waterproof clothing and gear.

Other Things to Do and See Around Gullfoss

If you’re planning on staying in the area for a bit, you can also add the following to your trip itinerary:

  • Hiking in Haukadalur Valley.

  • Visiting Faxafoss Waterfall.

  • Riding snowmobiles on Langjökull Glacier.

  • Taking a snapshot of an erupting geyser at Geysir.

where is gullfoss

Where to Stay Near Gullfoss Waterfall

If you are planning on staying over, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. For a touch of luxury, you can opt for a hotel stay at places such as Hotel Gullfoss. Or, for a more affordable option, you can book at a place like Geysir Modern Log Cabin. For the most budget-friendly option, you can book a spot at a campground such as Camping Geysir.

Gullfoss & Surrounds; Worth Exlploring

Gullfoss Waterfall is a breathtaking sight that’s not to be missed and the surroundings also offer more than enough unique experiences to spend some time exploring the area. Just rent a campervan in Reykjavík once you arrive on the island, start your Golden Circle road trip, and camp in comfort and style near the falls to experience everything Gullfoss and its surrounds have to offer.



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