The Gullfoss Waterfall The Gullfoss Waterfall

The Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland: A Captivating Dance of Water and Rock!

Did you know? The Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland has topped the list of the best 10 waterfalls on the planet! Think I am kidding? Well, absolutely not!

Gullfoss is, without a doubt, the ultimate showstopper of nature’s never-ending work of art. Its source is the Hvíta River, which slams over two distinct decks before plunging into the bottomless volcanic fissure. I must say you will be blown away by witnessing its beauty in summer. Its fine mist gets struck by the sun’s sizzling rays creating tiny rainbows. That’s why it is also popularity known as the Golden Waterfall. However, the landscape transcends beauty even during winter. It transforms into rock and ice to treat your eyeballs with an entirely new perspective. 

So, let me inform you more about the world of Gullfoss Waterfall to help you plan a visit there in your upcoming vacation. Meanwhile do check this map below to trace the exact location.

The majestic Gullfoss Falls sits at the heart of the Golden Circle, Haukadalur, in the Southern part of Iceland.  But if you wish to travel there, you need to start from the capital city of Reykjavík, which is around 107 km (66.4 mi) away from the waterfall.

Coordinates: GP N64° 19′ 38.220″ W20° 7′ 8.135″

You must also note that Gullfoss is not the ONLY waterfall in Iceland on the Golden Circle. Just 12km away from Gullfoss lies the small yet gorgeous waterfall called the Faxi Waterfall. So, if you enjoy fishing, this one is for you. Also, you get a quieter waterfall experience here, giving you ample time to enjoy. Though Faxi is less powerful than Gullfoss, it’s also worth visiting! If you have opted for a self-driving Golden Circle tour, don’t miss to add this waterfall to your touring itinerary. 

As I already mentioned Gullfoss is one of the popular destinations in Iceland. No matter what time you visit this iconic landscape, you will surely have an awe-inspiring journey at the falls. Being an incredibly powerful waterfall, the Gullfoss has a flowing speed of 140 cubic meters per second during summer. As a result, a misty cloud arises out of it, giving birth to a magical rainbow. Additionally, you have a higher chance of getting wet… very wet if you take a trip there during the summer months. Cool!

On the other hand, the flowing speed of the mighty waterfall reduces to 109 cubic meters per second once the Langjökull glacier is highly frozen. You can watch the frozen falls beneath the Northern Lights as the frozen water meets the crevasse underground. That means each season is so stunning so much that your heart will pound your wanderlust, again and again, to come back to the falls!

Now, this is not a single stretch of waterfall. They comprise two unique steps falling at a 90-degree angle on the other.

  • The first step, or the upper tier, cascades at 41 feet and spans around 800 feet in width along the waterfall crest. This tier has two types of water flow. One is the cascading type found on the left side, and the other plunges into the narrow throat down the canyon. 
  • Subsequently, the second step, or the lower tier falls at 69 feet. It flows across a 400-foot narrow reach, with a small island-like segregation separating it into two unique channels. 

So, the gorge beneath the waterfalls is significantly narrower than the upstream. And you cannot look at the base as it’s hidden from the developed viewpoints. I must say that the sight of this natural wonder leaves you awe-struck at how these forces shape our planet.

I’ll Tell You Some Additional Details to Simplify Your Visit to Gullfoss Waterfall

  • Take the Ring Road 1 (or Route 1) southeast starting from Reykjavík.
  • Then, cross the small town of Hveragerði. Take a 10 km (6 mile) drive and take the left to Route 35 before arriving at Selfoss. 
  • Stay on Route 35 to reach the Gullfoss parking area directly. 
  • However, if you are taking a day tour by self-driving to the Golden Circle, you should begin from Thingvellir National Park and stay on Street 36 East from there.
  • Then drive past Laugarvatn to Geysir and then to Gullfoss. 
  • There are just two ways to reach Gullfoss. One is to hire a car or take one of the numerous Golden Circle tours for some Artic Adventures daily!

For self-driving, here is some vital information you must follow while driving in Iceland.

So, it’s up to you to choose…!!

The good thing is that the Gullfoss is open to visitors 365 days with its majestic appearance shifting every season. So, you can visit anytime. It roars out in all its glory and power during the summer months. And during winter it stands still with snow and ice, adding extra freshness to the air. 

In case you wish to visit during winter, check out before heading out to know the road conditions.

Also, no matter the season, I highly recommend you to dress properly in that frigid environment of Gullfoss to stand and stare at the waterfall for a while! You want to know why. Because you will get the top view of the waterfall and get exposed to all the elements. Strong wind is a usual phenomenon in Iceland that drops the air temperature. So, pick a day with minimal wind speed!

On the other hand, summer flocks crowds at the waterfall. So, hold your cameras tight and be patient to click a picture.

I know you don’t want to be like the rest, stuck in crowds and waiting for a turn to click. That’s why I have compiled a few tricks to be alone and capture the dazzling beauty of the waterfall without humans!

Land at Gullfoss before 10 am since the first tourist buses reach the spot after that. 

This is a recommended tip if you tour the waterfall in summer during the high season or even public holidays. If you make it, you can clearly hear the waterfall’s roar and not talk to people. Also, you can avoid your pictures being filled with others taking a selfie!

As you approach the waterfall, take a moment to stop and listen to the hissing sound of the waterfall even before you see it.

Two viewpoints are available to look at the Gullfoss plummeting down into the bottomless crevasse.  Simultaneously, there are two parking lots available. The upper parking lot has a footway that takes you to the upper viewing area. Similarly, the lower parking lot is quite smaller, but it leads you to the rocky terrace in the middle of the lower and upper cascades of the waterfall.

This is a place just next to the waterfall, and I recommend you get there to see the waterfall just a few inches away from you. Also, you can get wet as much as you like here from the waterfall’s misty spray!

Mind you! It can be muddy and slippery in summer and extra slippery in winter, so watch your step. If visiting with children, then be extra careful…!!

It is no surprise that the popularity of Gullfoss has led to the rise of shops around it. So, don’t forget to stop by Gullfoss Café (Gullfosskaffi), a popular stop for eateries. From cakes, and sandwiches to even soups and beer, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

However, the food here is a bit pricey. A cup of the famous and tasty lamb soup is $20. But I must admit that Iceland’s travel is more expensive than most other European countries. So, if you’re on a budget bring your own lunch with you! There are restrooms close to the café and inside it for free to paying clients. Ultimately the Gullfoss Waterfall entrance fee is free to all visitors.

I am sure that will make you happy…!!

Gullfoss Waterfalls, Iceland   The Golden Falls

There is nothing that can dazzle you like the Gullfoss Waterfall over the few others you might have come across in Iceland. With its powerful descents, bold colors, and swirling action, it is irresistible to turn your back on this wild beauty. That’s why I say that it is one of the many high-rated tourist spots in the Golden Circle. 

I bet you are to experience the dazzling beauty of the waterfall and the splendors of Iceland as two distinct worlds…!!

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Pragya


  1. The Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland, crowned among the world’s top 10 waterfalls, enchants with its dual-tiered majesty. Powered by the Hvíta River, it unleashes a spectacular show of nature’s prowess. In summer, a golden mist rises, creating ethereal rainbows, while winter transforms it into a frozen wonder. With a rich history dating back to the last Ice Age, Gullfoss stands as a timeless testament to the forces shaping our planet. Prepare to be awestruck by the dance of water and rock in this Icelandic marvel!

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