Gullfoss (The Golden Waterfall) is one of the most majestic and famous places in Iceland. It is very popular and attracts visitors throughout the year. The roaring waterfall is on the powerful Hvítá (White River) which flows southwards from Langjökull glacier. The water drops 32 meters in two stages of 11 and 21 meters as it pours through the rugged, high canyon. As the water plunges down and appears to disappear into a deep crevice a golden hued spray is cast into the air – these are the golden falls for a good reason!
Gullfoss waterfall in late summer
Rainbow over Gullfoss waterfall
In summer meltwater from Langjökull glacier ensures the cascade is especially abundant, with an average flow rate of 140 cubic meters per second. There are higher and more forceful waterfalls in Iceland but the grandeur and magnificence of Gullfoss is really something special. It is not easy to convey in words the feeling of invigorating vibrancy and energy around Gullfoss.
Over the years Gullfoss has engendered strong feelings between opposing groups: those who longed to exploit the undeniable hydro-electric generating potential of the river, and those felt the preservation of Gullfoss in its current state should be valued more highly than any commercial possibility. Gullfoss and the area surrounding it were officially declared a preservation area by Umhverfisstofnun (Environment Agency of Iceland) in 1974.
Gullfoss waterfall in wintertime