The word might look like some sort of seabird fragranced aerosol deodorant for men, but in Icelandic it means something like gold waterfall – or 'Golden Falls', if you will. This despite the fact that it is clearly brown – but that doesn’t sound as good. Then again, it doesn’t make it any less of an awe inspiring pearl of nature either, and a real standout gem among the hundreds of spectacular waterfalls in Iceland.
Gullfoss is not a spectacular waterfall, however. For that you should go to Skógafoss or Dynjandi. What Gullfoss is is actually a ‘staircase’ of two or three smaller waterfalls very close together in a river wider and more dangerous than the busiest of highways. It roars, it sprays, it gushes and it tumbles with the best of them; but it remains a series of not especially remarkable waterfalls. And that is why we refer to it in the singular.
Because when looked at all together Gullfoss is probably one of the most remarkable natural experiences in Europe and it stays with people for life. In short (and to take an easy marketing opportunity), it really is ‘WOW’.
Most people combine a trip to Gullfoss with other attractions in a trip usually called the Golden Circle. A circle because it starts and ends in the same spot – usually Reykjavík. And golden because it takes in at least three of Iceland’s most famous tourist attractions: Gullfoss, Geysir and Þingvellir.
You can read more about the Golden Circle in our separate article, here.