When you get to Gullfoss, you'll find there are two possible paths. If you take the first right turn off the road, you'll find yourself in a lower parking lot, next to a "low" path to the falls. If you take the second right turn, you'll end up in an upper parking lot, next to the restaurant, the park center, and WCs -- as well as a "high" path overlooking the falls. If you do the latter, you can still get to the "low" path via stairs. Along the "low" path are several viewpoints with breathtaking views of the falls as you approach. Beware: the falls can splash on parts of the trail. Be sure to protect yourself (and your camera) from the water.
From the upper parking lot by Gullfoss restaurant and Sigríðarstofa you have a good view of Langjökull glacier which is 1355 m and the second largest glacier in Iceland.
You can get guided tours on the glacier. Never go unaccompanied on Langjökull glacier, there have been fatal accidents there. And even experienced Icelanders have had trouble there. In the year 2010 one of my schoolmates fell into a crevasse there with her young son. He survived but she died and a rescue team had to go into the crevasse to get them out. This is extremely dangerous and due to global warming the glaciers are changing.
There is a "museum" in remembrance of Sigríður Tómasdóttir (1871-1957), the saviour of Gullfoss, by the upper parking lot by Gullfoss, right next to Gullfoss Café. It is called Sigríðarstofa and there you can read about Sigríður´s heroic act on saving Gullfoss.
Gullfoss was contracted to foreigners by the farmer, Tómas, who owned this land. They wanted to use Gullfoss for a hydroelectric power station!! The farmer's daughter, Sigríður in Brattholt, put on a big fight to save Gullfoss and threatened to throw herself into the waterfall as soon as the first ground would be broken. This is a long story but little by little the contractors lost interest in Gullfoss and stopped paying the rent. We are really thankful to Sigríður for her fight and now Gullfoss belongs to the Icelandic nation. She has now got her monument in the canyon (raised in 1978) as well as Sigríðarstofa.
There are two parking lots by Gullfoss, take the first right turn for the falls themselves, and follow the road for the upper level where Sigríðarstofa and the restaurant are located. If you arrive at the upper level there are steps leading to the lower level.
There is a breathtaking view from the lower parking lot. And there is a path leading straight to the waterfalls from the lower level, and in parts it is slippery and one can get soaked by the drizzle from the falls (see my last photo). But a lot of people go down to the falls and it is easy walking there, and a breathtaking experience.
The falls are divided into two, but the lower falls are the most impressive ones. When you get closer to the falls you can watch the lower level from above, that is my absolute favourite view fo the falls. I have been here so many times, but Gullfoss never ceases to amaze me.
Well, this is the biggest waterfall in Europe and it is obviously why you would go here. It is nothing short of amazing. Unlike many of the natural places in the US, you can walk right up to the edge of these falls and fall in if you want. I recommend against that though as it would be a one way trip.
It is definitely worth the drive and the trip to Iceland to just see the falls, even if you missed everything else.. OK, OK, I'm a waterfall fanatic..
There is a beautiful view of Gullfoss on the upper level where the restaurant and Sigríðarstofa are located. There is both a platform there and a path leading further alongside the waterfall, i.e. above the waterfall.
I recommend going there as well to see a different view of the waterfall. You can see the sill to the upper level of the waterfall on my 4th photo with a lot of people on it.
These photos are taken at two different times, as you can see on some of the photos the water is blue, but on the photos I took in the summer of 2010 the water is muddy, seeing that the river is a glacial river.
As you make your way down the "low road," you get a better and better view of the lower half of the falls. Obviously, as you get closer, you can't quite see the entire two-tiered falls (or can't photograph it, anyway...), but you get to see more detail in one section; in this case, the lower falls.
Immediately when you pass the lower waterfall there is a big sill from where you reach the upper waterfall. That waterfall is beautiful as well as you are so very close to it. The cascade is not big, but still the closeness to it and the lower waterfall make this a breathtaking experience.
I have added a photo from above of the sill and people on it in my 3rd tip here.
While you can get quite up close and personal with the falls on the lower path, you also get a scenic perspective from the high path. The falls are simply magnificent from this perch; we enjoyed a number of angles, as you can see.
Wonderful creatures. There were a few of them in the field next to the waterfall.
They will come over to you if you ask them.
I'm sure that they started with shetland ponies or something akin to them, but today Import of animals is more or less forbidden in Iceland. There is one breed of horse, one breed of dairy-cows and one breed of sheep in Iceland.