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5 Things To Know Before Visiting Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

Looking to explore Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland? Gullfoss Iceland is one of the country’s signature waterfalls and it is no surprise to see why! The waterfall is beautiful, unique, and in a good location so if you get a chance to visit, you should take it! Gullfoss brings something to the table that you don’t normally see which is what makes it so special.  Before you visit Gullfoss Iceland, there are a few things you should know to have a safe and enjoyable experience.

5 Things To Know About Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

5 Things To Know Before Visiting Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

#1. Gullfoss Waterfall Is Only 1.5 Hours From Reykjavik On The Golden Circle

If you are staying in Reykjavik and only have a little time, Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland is a great choice to visit because it is relatively close to town and very memorable. Gullfoss is located on Iceland’s Golden Circle Drive which is a circle drive that begins and ends right outside of Reykjavik. Gullfoss Waterfall is located smack dab in the middle of the drive and is about 1 hour and 31 minutes from Reykjavik. The drive to Gullfoss on the Golden Circle is easy, well kept, and beautiful! To see Iceland’s Gullfoss Waterfall, budget at least four hours of time to get to the waterfall, explore, and then drive back. We promise you are going to also want to stop at all the beautiful viewpoints along the drive to Gullfoss too!

Read Next: The Ultimate 5 Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary 

5 Things To Know About Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

#2. Visiting Gullfoss Is Unique Because You View The Waterfall From Above Instead Of Below

Think of any waterfall you have been to. Chances are pretty high that you viewed that waterfall from the bottom! Gullfoss Waterfall is unique because you view the falls from above and it appears that the Iceland waterfall is actually going underground! It is a very interesting perspective making Gullfoss one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls.

Gullfoss plunges into a gorge of foaming water so there is no way you could possibly even view it from the bottom. There are multiple angles that you can view Gullfoss from above and each offers a stunning perspective of the powerful waterfall crashing into the river below. Seeing a waterfall seemingly disappear into the earth is a very memorable experience!

5 Things To Know About Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland


#3. Gullfoss Iceland Is Open Year Round, But Some Viewpoints Aren’t Always Accessible

If you are visiting Iceland in winter, it is still very doable and easy to visit Gullfoss Waterfall. That being said, you will not have access to the same range of viewpoints as you may when you visit in summer or visit during another part of Iceland’s off-season. The viewpoint from the Gullfoss Visitor Center is safe and well maintained and open year-round. There are also steps down to a lower viewpoint of Gullfoss that are open during winter too. This stairwell is quite steep and we slipped and hit the ground because it was icy. Wear crampons if you have them and plan to explore around Gullfoss in winter.

Read next: The Ultimate Iceland Packing List 

5 Things To Know About Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

From the lower viewpoint, you will see a gate that will be blocked off during icy conditions or inclement weather. This gate leads to a pathway that brings you right next to Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland. It is an impressive view and allows you to get up close and personal with Gullfoss. If you hope to see the traditional Gullfoss Waterfall view, you will always have the chance from the safety of the visitor center and nearby viewing platforms.

5 Things To Know About Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

This overlook and trail can be closed depending on the weather conditions. Visit during a time when there is no chance of Ice if you want to snag a view from that overlook.

If you hope to stand right next to Gullfoss and shoot downstream, you may or may not be able to depending on what time of year you visit. We visited Gullfoss during the dead of winter in the beginning of March and this pathway was open. Another time, we visited during November in no snow and the pathway was closed. If you want to ensure you will get an up-close view of Gullfoss, plan your drive in Iceland during the warmer months.

#4. Using The Restroom At Gullfoss Waterfall Costs Money…..But There Is A Hack!

In case you didn’t know, many bathrooms in Iceland cost money to use! This is a super foreign concept to those of us from North America, but quite usual in Europe so be prepared! When visiting Gullfoss in Iceland, there are very nice and modern bathroom facilities in the Gullfoss Visitor Center parking lot. They are quite prominent, clean, and often busy as Gullfoss Waterfall is a popular stop when driving in Iceland. These restrooms cost money to use and many people don’t know that until it is too late and they don’t have any spare change which is especially inconvenient if you are trying to visit Iceland on a budget. 

That being said, if you simply go inside the Gullfoss Visitor Center you will be able to use the restroom 100% for free! There is a shop and lunch cafe style restaurant inside the Gullfoss Visitor Center and nearby there is a warm and free bathroom! The majority of people don’t know about this free option and are stuck having to pay for the outdoor facility or not go at all! If you plan to visit Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland, simply park your car and head inside for a free restroom experience!

Read next: Iceland On A Budget: 5 Things You Are Forgetting To Save For

5 Things To Know About Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

#5. Gullfoss Literally Translates To “Golden Falls” And It May Be Marked As Such On Your GPS

In Icelandic, Gull means Golden and Foss means falls/waterfall. When you hear Gullfoss, that literally translates to Golden Falls. The rushing water of Gullfoss Iceland looks like a golden waterfall when the sun hits the water on a sunny day. This name translation is worth noting because sometimes your GPS will call the location “Golden Falls” instead of Gullfoss Waterfall.

If you don’t know the translation, you could get very frustrated with your GPS for not bringing up the exact address or for taking you somewhere else. If you begin to type in Gullfoss into your GPS and “Golden Falls” comes up first with an address on Iceland’s Golden Circle, you are good to go and well on your way to Gullfoss Iceland!

5 Things To Know About Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

Quick Tips For Visiting Gullfoss Waterfall 

-Any Time Of Day Is Perfect For Visting Gullfoss Waterfall. Gullfoss Waterfall is great to visit any time of day. Whenever you have time to see Gullfoss, you should go! There is truly no optimal time and the way the falls are situated means that you can easily photograph them without people being in your way! There is no need to get here very early in the morning.

-Stay On The Approved Trails And Walkways. When visiting Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland, we highly recommend following caution signs and staying on the approved trails. It can be tempting to go off trail to get the perfect photo, but that photo isn’t worth your life! Gullfoss Waterfall is very powerful and the ground may be unstable or uneven. This is especially true during the winter because snow may look safe but may end up being deceiving.

-Dress Appropriately When Visiting Gullfoss Waterfall. You are going to want to enjoy your visit to Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland so be sure to wear the proper clothing! During the summer, the surrounding areas can be slippery and wet and during the winter, they will be icy or slushy. We have seen many people walking around Gullfoss Waterfall wearing wet Converse shoes or sneakers and we don’t want this to be you! Check out the best jackets for Iceland and the best shoes for Iceland for our tried and true recommendations!

-Leave No Trace. While this may sound obvious, it begs to be said. The more popular Iceland gets the more trash people leave behind. This is thoughtless and damages the environment. When visiting Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland, make sure to leave no trace. Out on a hike? Don’t litter, and this includes cigarettes. If you are eating a candy bar or finish a plastic bottle of water, keep it with you until you reach a trash or recycle bin. Only you can help keep Gullfoss Waterfall trash free and beautiful!

-You Don’t Have To Drive To Visit Gullfoss Waterfall. If you are planning a trip to Iceland and don’t want to drive, you can still totally visit Gullfoss Waterfall! Many people visit Iceland on a stopover or aren’t comfortable renting a car or shelling out extra money and that is okay! Many tours in Iceland will take you to Gullfoss Waterfall and these tours are actually the most affordable tours you can go on in Iceland! So if you want to see Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland and you don’t want to deal with driving, simply find a “Golden Circle Tour” and you will be all set! Check out Golden Circle Tours Here! 

Have you been to Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland? Do you have another tip to add? We would love to hear about your Gullfoss Iceland experience in the comments! 

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7 thoughts on “5 Things To Know Before Visiting Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

  1. Katrina O

    #4 and #5 are worth their weight in gold. Thank you for the excellent information. Will make any trip to this Icelandic waterfall much easier, more enjoyable and less stressful.

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  3. Oliver

    I don’t know what am I waiting to see Iceland with my own eyes 👀. Beautiful pictures 🙂
    it seems really cool! Iceland is great, no matter what time of year. Hope i get to tick that item off my bucket list soon. 👍
    is there an entrance/admission fee to see the Gullfoss Waterfall/ Pingvier National Park? Thank you so much.

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  5. Maya

    Hi, I am really enjoying your blog and I am finding it really informative. I am coming to Iceland with my 2children & a friend for 2 weeks at the end of July, we are thinking of using the youth hostels around the country as they seem good value, are we better booking the hostels &car hire through the international hostel site or booking each hostel & the car hire separately. We are really excited about visiting Iceland as it looks an amazing place.

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