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How to Visit Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland (2023)

How to Visit Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland (2023)

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.

Olly Gaspar

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.

Golden Circle Full-Day Tour with Kerid Crater

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.

road near gullfoss waterfall in iceland

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.

rental car in iceland
Our rental car in Iceland

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.

rocky path in the Golden Circle of Iceland

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.

gullfoss waterfall in iceland

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.