This article discussing Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland is part of our travel guide series. A series of articles aimed at highlighting amazing, unique and affordable experiences around the world.
Gullfoss Waterfall Will Take Your Breath Away
In fact, this beautiful waterfall located in Iceland is so epic, it looks as if it’s carving the earth in two. Gullfoss, which is Icelandic for “Golden Falls,” sets itself apart from many other waterfalls around the world. That’s because if you visit Gullfoss waterfall during Iceland’s warmer months (April – September), during minimal cloud cover, you’re in for a treat. Because of the sheer scale of this waterfall, a substantial amount of mist is created and exasperated by a persistent wind. Rays of sunshine permeate the mist and cast a beautiful golden hue across the landscape and falls themselves. Simultaneously, you get an uplifting and exciting sensation from the sheer raw power of the Earth emanating from the surrounding landscape.
Gullfoss was not used in Prometheus
While many believe that Gullfoss waterfall is the same waterfall portrayed in the Hollywood film Prometheus, it was actually Dettifoss that was used in the film. Located in Northeastern Iceland.
Tips For Visiting the Gullfoss Area
- If you’re visiting during the Icelandic winter — bundle up. I wore snow pants most of the trip. With water resistant hiking boots, an insulated, waterproof snowboard jacket, water resistant gloves and an Icelandic wool hat I picked up in Reykjavik. It’s not only cold and wet (the water mist from Gullfoss freezes as it’s flying through the air, hitting your face with ice crystals), it’s also especially windy.
- Don’t miss nearby the geothermal area, featuring nearby Strokkur and Geysir.
- Stop into the restaurant and half a bottomless bowl of Lamb Stew
- If you’re self driving to Gullfoss during the winter, make sure you have a four wheel vehicle with good tread. The weather can change in an instant, especially between November and February.
Gullfoss is located roughly 130 kilometers East of downtown Reykjavik. On a good day, you can get there in about an hour and a half. However, you may want to stop and see some other sites along the way, including Þingvellir National Park and its Rift Valley. We talk a bit more about including Gullfoss along a popular tour route below.
How to See Gullfoss Waterfall
There are numerous tour options providing visits and insight into the history, geology and geography into the area. Companies such as Iceland Unlimited, offer privately guided, in depth tours of the area. You can also make the drive yourself, which will take you about an hour and a half if you’re coming from Reykjavik.
You can also self-drive this tour from Reykjavik. As mentioned above, consider setting aside a little more time to fully enjoy several sites you’ll be passing along the way to Gullfoss. Your first stop can be Þingvellir National Park, which is an especially interesting location given that it’s at this spot where the North American and Eurasian continents are pulling apart from each other. After visiting Þingvellir, continue on to Gullfoss to have your breath stolen and for an incredibly scenic backdrop for photos. When you’re finished, head over to see the Strokkur / Geysir geothermal areas (this geothermal area is called Haukadalur). This route is one of the most toured in all of Iceland, and is commonly dubbed the “Golden Circle Tour.”
Grab a Warm Lamb Soup Nearby
While you’re at Gullfoss, don’t hesitate to visit the visitor’s center. Lamb, one of the more popular meats served in Iceland, can be had in stew form one hundred yards away from the waterfall. Grab a big hot bowl of lamb soup after viewing the falls and warm yourself up.
Gullfoss Waterfall in Winter vs. Summer