The ultimate guide to visiting Gullfoss Waterfall in the Haukadalur Valley of the Golden Circle Route in Iceland.
Gullfoss literally translates to “Golden Waterfall”. Fittingly, it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls for those driving South Iceland’s Golden Circle route from Reykjavik. Although there is speculation, the name seems to have been inspired by the golden color of the water on a sunny day.
In this guide, I’ll give you a quick rundown of everything you need to know to visit Gullfoss Falls, including how to get here, what to expect, and tips for making the most of the trip based on my experience.
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
How to Get to Gullfoss Waterfall
Gullfoss waterfall is a very popular stop on many Golden Circle day-trip itineraries in the Southern Region. It's also one of the closest major falls for those staying in Reykjavik. There are a couple of options to get here, I've detailed the two best ways below.
1. Waterfall Stop on the Popular Golden Circle Tour
Golden Circle Tour
To see the best of Iceland's southwest sights cost-effectively, book a Golden Circle tour from Reykjavik.
Buses depart Reykjavik daily & visit top natural highlights like the Geysir area, Gullfoss waterfall, & Þingvellir National Park. However, this is one of the most popular tours in Iceland. So, book in advance to avoid missing out.
2. Renting a Car - DIY travel option
By far the best way to see Iceland is by renting a car and driving yourself. This still goes for those looking for a great day trip from Reykjavik.
Car rentals in Iceland are notoriously difficult to secure in the peak season. That's why it's always a good idea to compare prices across dealerships well in advance using a tool like DiscoverCars.
Once you've secured a vehicle, Gullfoss Waterfall will take approximately two hours to reach from Reykjavik, or 2 hours if you're staying in Vik. However, it's probably a better idea to take your time and stop at some of the famous spots on the Golden Circle along the way. You'll drive through Thingvellir, which is one of the best National Parks in Iceland. You could also stop at the Geysir and finish the day off with a swim at the Secret Lagoon.
For those interested in driving Iceland's famous "Ring Road" make sure you check out my write-up on how to do this on a backpacker's budget.
What to Expect at Gullfoss Falls
Gullfoss, also known as the Golden Waterfall, is one of Iceland's most famous and impressive natural attractions. This is a two-tiered waterfall that plunges 32 meters (105 feet) into a narrow canyon. I visited in the chilly winter months, which in my opinion is the most picturesque time to visit this waterfall.
Travel tip: Try to you arrive at Gullfoss waterfall bright and early, or in the Winter months when the sun hugs the horizon during daylight hours. If you do, you will also notice the golden glow of the water particles as the sun hits.
The Walk from the Parking Lot to the Waterfall Viewing Area
The walk begins at the Gullfoss parking lot and takes visitors down a gently sloping path toward the top of the falls. From here, visitors can take in stunning views of the waterfall and the surrounding canyon before descending further down to the lower viewing platforms.
More Iceland & Ring Road Travel Guides
I hope that this short guide to visiting Iceland's Golden Waterfall has proved useful for your adventures on the Golden Circle region of southwest Iceland. Before you head off, make sure to check out some of my other guides below.