Gulfoss Falls – Everything You Need To Know

Gulfoss falls is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in Iceland, situated close to Rejkjavik. Visiting Gullfoss in Iceland is like stepping into a world where nature’s power and beauty reign supreme. This colossal waterfall, part of the iconic Golden Circle route, cascades down in a stunning display of raw natural force throwing vaste amounts of mist that in the air far above. Whether bathed in the midnight sun of summer or framed by ice in the winter. I highly recommend adding Gulfoss Falls to your need to your Iceland itinerary so matter when you’re visiting Iceland.

Gulfoss Falls

How far is Gulfoss Waterfall from Reykjavik

How far is Gullfoss waterfall from Reykjavik? Kickstart your adventure with a drive on Route 1, then veer onto Route 35, and you’re on your way. The trip takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, giving you plenty of scenic views to soak in as you go. Rental cars are a popular choice, offering freedom to explore at your own pace. If driving in Iceland isn’t your jam, no worries—plenty of tours run from Reykjavik, bundling Gullfoss with other natural wonders like Geysir and Thingvellir National Park.

Iceland misty road

Gullfoss Falls Parking

If you are driving to Gullfoss falls, input ‘Gulfoss waterfall parking lot’ into Google Maps. This will direct you straight to the convenient, free parking area located a stone’s throw from the falls themselves. The falls themselves show up on googlemaps as ‘gulfoss falls 846’.

Aim to arrive early, especially during the busy summer months, to secure a spot and enjoy the falls with fewer people around. The parking lot’s location is ideal, offering easy access to both the waterfall’s viewpoints and the nearby visitor center, where you can grab refreshments or a souvenir.

History of Gulfoss Falls

Gullfoss, with its majestic cascades, is a masterpiece sculpted by the forces of nature, telling a story millions of years in the making. Carved by the Hvítá river, which is fed by Iceland’s second largest glacier, the Langjökull. The waterfall’s creation story begins in the last Ice Age, with the river cutting through the landscape, shaping the deep canyon that houses Gullfoss today. As you watch the water plunge into the abyss below, you will be in awe of this majestic landscape like I was!

Reyjkavik to Gulfoss falls road

Plan your visit

Gulfoss Falls are nestled in the Golden Circle, just a couple of hours’ drive from Reykjavik. If you are planning to visit Iceland and cover the country doing the ring road, then I would aim to visit Gulfoss as one of your first or last destinations, depending on whether you do the Ring Road clockwise (do last) or anticlockwise (do first). Aim to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon to skip the biggest crowds during the peak seasons. Trust me, having more space to yourself makes all the difference in soaking up its majestic beauty.

Gulfoss Visiters Center

The visitors center is situated right by the falls themselves, close to the parking. Inside, you’ll find clean restrooms and a café with a selection of snacks and warm drinks to refuel after exploring the falls, as well as a little gift shop. We found it was also an ideal spot to gear up or wind down, offering a warm respite from Iceland’s unpredictable weather!

When to visit the Gulfoss Falls

As someone that has been lucky enough to see Gulfoss in Summer and Winter, I have to say you really can’t go wrong, beccause both seasons offer a differnt kind of beauty.

Summer, from June to August, is a no-brainer for the warm vibes and endless daylight, perfect for catching that golden hour glow at the falls.

Visiting in winter (think December to February) is a whole different kind of magic. Sure, it’s cold, but seeing Gulfoss partially frozen, surrounded by snow, is surreal. Plus, fewer tourists mean you get those epic shots without a crowd in the background.

Gulfoss falls in winter

Gullfoss Waterfall Lookout

The main lookout is a mere stroll from the parking area, which is well-signed and hard to miss. Once you park, you’ll find two primary paths leading to different vantage points of the falls. The upper path takes you to a higher viewpoint, offering panoramic views of the waterfall as it cascades into the Hvítá River canyon. For a closer, more intimate experience with the falls, take the lower path. This route brings you to the edge of the gorge, where you can feel the mist on your face and hear the powerful roar of water up close.

Gulfoss falls look out

The best times to visit for fewer crowds and softer light are early morning or late afternoon. These hours illuminate the falls in golden hues, perfect for photography or simply soaking in the natural beauty without the midday rush. Remember, the weather in Iceland can change quickly, so wear waterproof gear and sturdy shoes to navigate the wet and slippery paths.

How Much Time to Spend at Gullfoss Waterfall

1-2 hours will give you ample time to soak in the views from different angles, snap those awe-inspiring photos, and even grab a quick bite at the nearby café. It highly worth spending time checking out the various viewpoints of the falls, each offering a unique perspective. If you’re quick with your camera and content with the views, an hour is sufficient. But if you’re like me and prefer to linger, finding those perfect shots or simply enjoying the roar of the water, budget in a bit more time.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Gullfoss falls?

There is no cost to enter any of the waterfalls in Iceland, nature as it should be – free.

Amenities at Gullfoss falls

Toiltets – There are plenty of restrooms near the parking.
Food and Refreshments – These are available from the gift shop, although the selection is limited, so I recommend packing some snacks ahead of time!

Other notable sites near Gulfoss falls – Geysir Hot Spring

Just a short drive from the thunderous cascades of Gullfoss, the Geysir Hot Spring Area presents a completely different kind of natural spectacle. This geothermal wonderland is home to the famous Great Geysir, the namesake for all geysers worldwide. Although the Great Geysir is now mostly dormant, its neighbor Strokkur more than makes up for it, erupting every few minutes and sending a jet of boiling water up to 30 meters into the sky. I personally loved walking through the area, surrounded by the unique landscape ofsteaming vents and boiling mud pots.

Geysir Hot Spring

Where to Stay

Our best suggestions for a place to stay nearby are:

Selfoss

Just an hour’s drive from Gullfoss Falls, Selfoss is the go-to for convenience and variety. It’s the largest town in South Iceland, offering everything from guesthouses to hotels, alongside a lively selection of eateries and shops. Perfect for those wanting a blend of adventure and amenities.

Hella

Only an hour away from the falls, Hella offers a quieter, more scenic base. This quaint town by the river Ytri-Rangá is known for its intimate bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels. Ideal for stargazers and those seeking a peaceful retreat close to nature.

Church in Reyjkavik

Reykjavik

Reykjavik, though a bit further at about 1.5 hours from Gullfoss, nonetheless this is the perfect option if you are flying in and spending the day in the capital before embarking on your road trip and travels around Iceland, starting with Gulfoss.

What to wear to Gulfoss

Planning a trip to Gulfoss Falls in Iceland? To fully enjoy the majestic views without getting uncomfortably wet or cold, pack these essentials:

Gulfoss falls in summer
  1. Waterproof Jacket: A must-have to protect against the mist and possible rain. Opt for one that’s breathable so you don’t overheat.
  2. Thermal Layers: The Icelandic weather can change in a heartbeat. Wear a thermal base layer and add a fleece or wool sweater for insulation.
  3. Waterproof Pants: To keep your legs dry from the spray or rain. Quick-drying material is a plus.
  4. Sturdy, Waterproof Boots: Look for good grip to navigate the wet and rocky terrain safely.
  5. Touchscreen-Friendly Gloves: Keep your hands warm without missing out on capturing the falls’ beauty through your smartphone.
  6. Hat and Scarf: Wind can be fierce, so protect your ears and neck.
  7. Sunglasses: On sunny days, the glare off the water can be strong.
  8. Backpack: A waterproof or water-resistant backpack to carry your essentials, snacks, and water.
  9. Camera Protection: Don’t forget a waterproof case or bag for your camera or phone.
  10. Sunscreen: Yes, even in Iceland, the sun’s rays can be strong, especially reflecting off the water.

Heading to Iceland?
Make sure you check out our post on Seljalandsfoss waterfalls too!