Gullfoss is one of the main country attractions, located on the Hvítá River. This waterfall was once rented to produce energy, but it was finally sold to the Iceland Government bu its owners Tómas Tómasson and Halldór Halldórsson. None of the plans to use this place to generate power has been successful as it would completely change the place and it’s a protected landmark now.
If we can still enjoy Gullfoss as it was is in part because of Sigríður Tómasdóttir, a young farmer who threaten to jump on the waterfall if it was sold to the electric company. One of the best things to do while visit Gullfoss is try to find a rock monument there to remember this heroic act.
This beautiful waterfall is part of the Golden Circle, an interesting route near Reykjavik. It’s formed by the fracture of two huge plaques which allows a 11, 21 and 32 meters falls being one of the most amazing waterfalls in Europe because of its dimensions and the high water flow it has. Because of its form, the river seems to disappear inside the earth until you reach the very end of the land next to the waterfall. This place is of course free of charge and it’s open all year-round.
How to get there?
Gullfoss is 110km away from Reykjavik on road 35, around 1 hour and a half driving. Buses run daily from Reykjavik in summer but the rest of the year are not really frequent so it’s advised to rent a car to get there or arrange an excursion with one of the many local companies. You don’t need a 4×4 car to get to Gullfoss, the road is in good conditions but if visiting during winter always check road and weather conditions before starting your trip.
Where to stay?
As previously mentioned, Gullfoss is a protected place, but still you can find some accommodation options nearby as little hostels and farms
We recommend Hotel Gullfoss, in Selfoss. This hotel well deserved its name as it is located only 5 minutes away from the waterfalls and it’s a really nice place to enjoy the northern light as there are no lights around –this is also one of the best things to do while visiting Gullfoss: northern lights hunting!- This place is open almost all year, only closed from 15th December to 15th January.
There are other nice options as Hotel Borealis and Hotel Geysir, both of them are around one or away from Gullfoss.
What to do?
One of the best things to do while visiting Gullfoss if looking for a place where to recharge your batteries is to visit Gulffoss Kaffi. This café is located just a few minutes walking on the wooden boardwalk from the waterfall. It opens everyday from 10am to 6pm ad they serve hot food, sandwiches, drinks and cakes.
You can watch the waterfall from this point or from downwards. To get to this second viewpoint you need to walk down the wooden boardwalk – not recommendable for reduce mobility people or if carrying baby chairs- or you can also get by car to the free car parking located right down the waterfall. Keep in mind you will get wet if looking for this viewpoint, so any rain jacket would be a good idea!
As mentioned, Gullfoss is part of the Golden Circle route. You can visit Gullfoss, Thingvellir and Haukadalur geyser in one day, but not spending much time on each place. This is a good idea if coming only for a short time and you want to have an overall idea of Iceland wonders.