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The Golden Falls
Member Name: AbsintheFairy
Advantages: Impressive sight, easily reached from Reykjavik
Disadvantages: Not the most impressive waterfall in Iceland, or so I've heard
Gullfoss is a waterfall in south west Iceland not far from the capital, Reykjavik. It is a popular destination for tourists, as it is part of the Golden Circle tour. Gullfoss (the name means golden falls) is a fall on the Hvita River. In the 20th century there was some speculation that the waterfall might be used to generate electricity, but this was strongly opposed by Sigridur Tomasdottir, the daughter of one of the owners. Today, the waterfall remains preserved in its natural state.
On the day I visited Gullfoss, the bus pulled up in a car park which also contained several other buses - clearly the place is popular. It was a cold and windy day, but dying to see the waterfall, everyone on the bus tumbled out and headed down to the viewing area. Gullfoss is an impressive two-tier waterfall, which isn't something I'd ever seen before. The water rushes over one tier and turns at an angle before tumbling down another and rushing down a gully. As you approach it you can't see the river - it looks like the waterfall is simply rushing into the earth.
This view was suitably awe-inspiring but I had an urge to get closer. I could see that there were several people standing on a stretch of rock right next to the waterfall so I headed back, down some wooden steps and along a rocky path right up to the waterfall. Luckily I was wearing my Dr Martens which enabled me to keep my footing despite the ice which was still on the path. I was able to climb onto the rock right beside the waterfall and it was amazing to see the power of the waterfall close up.
I do recommend Gullfoss as it was really impressive and different. It's not supposed to be as good as Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe (in north east Iceland), but this one is much easier to reach from Reykjavik! Anyone can go to see the waterfall but if you're going to go close up you really need to be wearing suitable footwear and have no mobility problems. I did see several children by the waterfall, supervised closely by adults.
The Golden Circle tour can be booked in several ways both before you go to Iceland and after you arrive. I booked mine online at www.icelandair.co.uk as part of a package including my flights and hotel, for a cost of around Ł55. As part of the tour I was picked up and dropped off from my hotel so the whole procedure was very easy. Gullfoss was the first major stop on a tour that also included the geyser area and the Thingvellir National Park.
It would also be possible to hire a car and visit Gullfoss yourself, however you'd need to be a confident driver and to know where you were going! For most people booking onto a tour would be the easiest way to see the waterfall.
Summary: For me, a fantastic experience
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