Gulfoss is part of the ‘Golden Circle’ tour
The Golden Circle includes Geysir Hot Springs, main sights in Thingvellir (Pingvellir) National Park, volcanoes, a geothermal power station and Reykjavik’s main attractions. This circuit is an efficient and low cost way to see Iceland’s highlights for tourists short of time.
Alternatively adrenalin activity addicts can white-water raft or go canyoning on the Hvita River .
On sunny days this Gulfoss spray would produce a guaranteed rainbow.
Jim went to Gulfoss with high expectations and – unlike most visitors – was a little disappointed. Part of the problem was that Jim has already experienced Victoria Falls in Africa and Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil and had high expectations of Gulfoss but it didn’t measure up to those thundering monsters on other continents.
However, the falls are easily approachable by those less steady on their feet due to an excellent pathway and for those requiring a little more exertion and bigger views there is a path up to a panoramic overview (top right in photo above).
Gulfoss is easy to reach from Reykjavik but arguably inferior to other local falls too, such as Dettifoss in northeast Iceland’s Jokulsargljufur National Park, where the rumbling glacial water torrents over a 44m drop, making it Europe’s most powerful fall, or Aldeyjarfoss in the northwest that smashes down onto a weird cluster of basalt columns. In fact Jim even preferred the modest Seljalandsfoss fall, also near Reykjavik (photo below).
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a big and brilliant geothermal spa surrounded by black, crusted lava, a fantastic frame for the ice-blue waters. The lagoon was created from pumped-in seawater and geothermal power plant runoff. The plant is visible, smoking in the background.
The Blue Lagoon is about 40 minutes’ drive southwest of Reykjavik near Grindavik and the Viking Museum. It’s also 20 minutes from Kaflavik airport.
This is the view from the Blue Lagoon restaurant that serves fine cuisine at surprisingly reasonable prices.
Smearing poolside white silica mud over your face and/or body from poolside buckets (in the busy public pool) or more naturally from the pool floor itself (in the hotel’s private pool) is one of the popular, free, lagoon activities, along with more proper beauty treatments, lazing in the steamy water or knocking back some pricey Icelandic schnapps from the poolside bar.
A comfortable hotel, almost invisible from ground level, opens onto The Blue Lagoon with balconies over the public waters and access to private bathing areas. It costs a couple of hundred euros a night but Jim thought it was worth the money.