At Gullfoss, water is king. 9km northeast of Geysir, these “golden falls” owe their name to the golden rainbow that forms over the gorge with good weather. Even if Gullfoss isn’t the highest waterfall in Iceland, that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most impressive!
Gullfoss "the Golden Falls"
32 metres high, the Gullfoss waterfalls are fed by the melting waters of the Langjokull glacier, which has also dug here an impressive canyon of basalt and palagonite. The waterfall in fact is made up of two large cascades that dive down the gorge in zigzags. With deafening noise, they produce scintillating clouds of mist. This is why, even on the sunniest of days, travellers that get too close to the edge come back soaking wet!
Once you get there, many stunning hikes await! Take advantage of your visit to Gullfoss to go horseback riding. The landscape is perfect for it! The Icelandic Horse, or “Viking horse”, is known for its hardiness as well as for its enthusiastic and friendly nature. Icelanders have over a hundred words dedicated to describing the colour of its coat!
On the road that takes you to the bottom of the falls, you’ll see a small monument dedicated to Sigridur Tomasdottir. Born on Brattholt farm in 1871, she devoted most of her life to preserving the site of Gullfoss, namely by struggling against investors who looked to draw profit from the cascade’s potential hydroelectric power.
Finally, not far from Gulfoss, you’ll find an exhibit dedicated to explaining local geology and ecology. An enlightening visit that will give you a deeper understanding of Iceland’s natural environmant.
Gullfoss is 124km from Reykjavik. From Geysir, follow route 35 (Biskupstungnabraut), the drive is about 30 minutes long. 3km southwest of Gullfoss, you can stay in the famous farmhouse of Brattholt (rooms + campsite). Now turned into a boutique hotel, the ambiance here is lovely.