Gullfoss

Gullfoss, the golden waterfall, is without a doubt the most famous
waterfall in Iceland. Located on the famous Golden Circle where you’ll find
Geysir and the Thingvellir National Park, these natural beauties are a must
visit in the south of Iceland. The waterfall is 32 meters high, and the
surrounding canyon reaches 70 meters high. Gullfoss waterfall is on the white
river Hvítá, which is powered by the second largest glacier in Iceland,
Langjokull. 

Six waterfalls in southern Iceland
Besides it being a beautiful natural site, Gullfoss also has a
troubled history. In the early twentieth century, English investors wanted to
buy Gulfoss, which then belonged to the farmer Tómas Tómasson, for use in the
production of electricity. The farmer refused to sell Gullfoss but instead
decided to rent the waterfall; his daughter Sigridur who loved Gullfoss did
everything to cancel this contract, even threatened to throw herself into the
waterfall if investors began to build near Gullfoss infrastructure. After years
of legal battles, the rental contract was canceled. Sigridur is considered
Iceland’s first environmentalist. Tómas’s son became the owner of the waterfall
and sold it to the Icelandic government. In 1979, the waterfall became a nature
reserve.
Seljalandfoss

Seljalandsfoss is a very famous waterfall in Iceland, situated on the road
between Selfoss town and the Skógafoss waterfall. This cascade, born on
Seljalandsá river forms a fall of 60 meters. Seljalandfoss is well-known in
Iceland for being a unique waterfall because you can walk behind it.  

Six waterfalls in southern Iceland
A little further west, you can admire the
waterfall Gljúfrabúi, also known as Glúfrafoss. You can access it from the farm
Hamragarðar that is accessible from the road.
Skógafoss

Skógafoss is a well-known frequently visited waterfall situated on the
Skóga river. Skógafoss is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland with a drop
of 60 meters and is 25 metres wide. 

Six waterfalls in southern Iceland
According to local legend, the first
Viking, who settled in the area, Thrasi Thorolfsson, hid treasure in a cave
behind the waterfall. Legend says that local landowners found the treasure
chest a few years later, but unable to grasp the ring on the side to open it,
the treasure chest eventually disappeared.
Svartifoss

The waterfall, known for its long basalt columns, is in the Vatnajökull National Park. To get to the “black waterfall”, you have to walk for
45minutes on a  well-marked easy path and
along the way, you will find benches to rest. The return hike back is a little
quicker because the road is downhill. 

Six waterfalls in southern Iceland
In winter, expect more time and be
careful because the path is very slippery; we highly recommend you use
crampons.
Háifoss

Waterfall Háifoss, the second largest in Iceland, is located near the Hekla
volcano in southern Iceland, on Route 32. At the river Fossa, there is a drop
of 122 meters. You can hike starting from the historical farm Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng, and after a three-hour walk, you will find the waterfall along the
river.

Six waterfalls in southern Iceland
Safety information for Icelandic waterfall
lovers
The summer of 2015 has seen a rise in tourism in Iceland, and an increase in incidences involving
visitors unaware of the dangers of getting too close to the edge of steep
waterfalls. Yes! Icelandic nature is powerful and energetic, but also, let’s
not forget to respect that it’s sometimes fragile too. There is still little
infrastructure around the waterfall sites listed above. Pathways and fences are
few, so please be careful! And remember! “no fence” is not an invitation to get
as near as you wish. At Gullfoss, some pathways don’t include chains and
barriers preventing access to the most dangerous areas near the waterfall. Take
in the lovely view of course… but don’t let the view take you!

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