Advantages Amazing natural beauty and power.
Disadvantages Very icy paths in winter.
Visiting Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall) in the winter is amazing spectacular and just a little scary. Why so? Well, on average 109 cubic metres of water falls over Gullfoss every second providing an incredible spectacle of movement, colour and sound. The spray created from the plummeting water cloaks the surrounding paths quickly turning to ice making them precarious and scary to walk on.Gullfoss can be found in the South West region of Iceland some 90 or so kilometres away from the capital, Reykjavik. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and along with Geysir and Thingvellir forms what is often referred to as the Golden Circle. Many organised excursions complete the circle daily. You can of course, do as we did and hire a car. The route is well signposted and Gullfoss easy to find.
A large car park is situated just off the main road. Until this point, the falls are not visible. But as you get out of your car or climb down from the coach, the mighty falls capture you in all their thunderous glory.
Gullfoss is actually two separate waterfalls. Gullfoss forms part of the wide White River's (Hvítá) course from Iceland's central glacier to the Atlantic Ocean. About a kilometre before the river reaches the falls, it veers sharply to the left and plunges downwards in two steps; the first fall is 11 metres followed by a 21 metre drop into a canyon 32 metres deep, 20 metres wide and 2.5 kilometres long.
The view from this point is impressive and probably gives the best photographic opportunity. However, the rails are still quite a distance away from the falls. To get nearer, there are paths just beyond the northern fence paralleling the river's edge enabling you to get up close. However due to the freezing conditions and concerns for our safety, we satisfied ourselves with the viewing area.The immense power of these falls has attracted more than the tourist interested in its natural beauty. During the 20th century, there have been several attempts to utilize Gullfoss to create electricity. So strong was the opposition to this that even Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson one of the waterfall's owners threatened to throw herself into the waterfall in protest. So popular did the story become that a stone memorial was erected in 1978 to her memory.
In 1939, Einar Guðmundsson bought the falls from Sigríður. Several decades later in1976, he made a gift of the falls land surrounding land to the Nature Conservation Council. Today Gullfoss is a nature reserve preserved and protected for all to see and experience.Leading upwards from the car park is a set of steps which take you to a souvenir shop come café. Or if you are in your car, you can drive a little further up the road where there is another large car park. The café serves a nice range of hot beverages and an assortment of snacks - the hot drinks particularly welcome after the icy cold by the falls. The shop sells a nice range of souvenirs (many I had not seen elsewhere in Iceland) for a variety of prices. There are also postcards aplenty just in case you forgot your camera!!! Toilets are available in the café area.
A visit to Gullfoss is a must when in Iceland. It is an awesome area of natural beauty, "the queen of Iceland's waterfalls". There is no fee to the falls. However getting to the falls is another matter. If travelling by care there is petrol (which is costly) and a hair-raising journey along some pot-holed gravel roads. There are several tours, a Golden Circle excursion at the time of writing costs 7000 Icelandic Krona per person.
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment