After leaving Geysir , we followed the road up a short distance to our next stop: Gullfoss. To say this wonder took our breath away would be an understatement.
Gullfoss, like all the major attractions along the Golden Circle route, is a magnet for tourists. There is ample parking nearby the two (upper and lower) viewing areas. We parked in the lower lot and began our misty walk along the trail beside the Hvítá River.
You hear the falls, and feel their thundering power of the water as it rushes through the river, before you are greeted with their full splendor. The trail is constantly sprayed by the force of the falls, and it is advisable to dress in waterproof clothing and shoes, unless you enjoy getting a good soaking.
Gullfoss was our first encounter with one of Iceland’s waterfalls, and it could not have been more awe-inspiring. Turning the corner and seeing the descent of the falls, I had to pause to catch my breath, not from exertion, but from the sense of wonder that overcame me as I took in magnificence of Gullfoss.
Gullfoss does not require a long visit, but it was one of those places that is hard to leave. One cannot help but contemplate the awesome forces of Nature while there. Neither words nor photographs do justice to Gullfoss, you simply have to experience it for yourself. Take a pause, more than a brief one, if you go, and soak it in.
Thankfully, like many of the natural wonders in Iceland, the government is leaving Gullfoss untouched in its natural state. This is, in part, due an environmentalist who helped prevent a hydroelectric dam from being installed at the falls, and who is depicted on a stone nearby.
It was with some reluctance that I made my way back to our car and prepared to set out for our next adventure along the Golden Circle route. Gullfoss, fittingly, is at the apex of the circle, and now we were heading down Rt 35 as we made our way back towards Reyjkjavik. We still had two stops to visit, though. And they, like the ones that preceded them, did not disappoint.
Next up, a volcanic crater with the bluest water imaginable…