The Complete Guide to Iceland's Godafoss Waterfall

Man looking at view of epic waterfall in Iceland
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There are a lot of reasons why Godafoss is one of the best waterfalls to check out in Iceland, but we'll sum it up in one word: panoramic. Since this waterfall spans such a large area, there really are no bad views.

The history of the falls is perhaps the most interesting part about it. When Iceland made the move to adopt Christianity as its official religion in the year 1000, legend has it that Thorgeir Thorkelsson—the law speaker of the Icelandic Parliament at the time—threw his pagan idols of Norse gods into these very waters. Thus Godafoss got its name, which translates to "Waterfall of the Gods" in English.

As with any other tourist attraction in Iceland, there's a certain way to experience this natural wonder without the crowds ruining your experience. Below, you'll find everything you need to know about visiting Godafoss and leaving wanting to experience it again and again.

How to Get There

Godafoss is located in northern Iceland, a quick 30-minute drive from Akureyri. If you're driving east on Route 1 out of Akureyri, you can follow the signs to the waterfall as you get close. It's right off the road, so it should be easy to spot. There are plenty of tour buses that make a stop at this majestic waterfall, so check out The Traveling Viking and Iceland Photo Travel for tour inspiration.

The best way to experience Godafoss is by car. Part of the fun is packing a lunch and enjoying it al fresco with the waterfall playing out in front of you. Many tour buses run on a tight schedule and don't encourage exploration.

What to See

Huge rocks break up Godafoss into two sides: east and west, both of which are easily walkable. And while Godafoss is certainly the main attraction, you can also find smaller falls and rivers running off of it.

If you're lucky, you'll catch one of the local tour companies bringing people down the falls in kayaks. You have no reason to fear, though. This is no Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Godafoss is much smaller, shorter in height, and relatively peaceful.

What to Do

The best thing to do at Godafoss is to lose yourself in its beauty. There are plenty of spots to sit near the edge of the rocks, but be very careful getting to these areas. There is a lot of mist being tossed around and it gets quite slippery, even when the weather is sunny and rain-free. Do yourself a big favor and pack a picnic lunch.

There's also a small gift shop, bathroom, and café across a bridge. You can find information inside about local sights as well.

How to Get the Best Views

There are great views from either side of the falls. If you want to sit and enjoy the scene, head to the west side. It's the easiest side to get to as it's closest to the parking lots. But if you want to get down to the water's edge, head to the east side. There's a small path that will bring you down to the water basin, but take care getting there.

To get to the east side from the west side of Godafoss, you'll have to follow the river, cross near the bridge, and pass the souvenir shop before hitting the trail that will take you there. Don't ignore the views along the river walk: There are beautiful glimpses of Godafoss peaking behind some of the smaller rock formations.

Tips for Visitors

  • Dress in layers—you will get wet if you decide to climb near the falls
  • Go early or late to avoid the biggest crowds
  • Bring a picnic lunch or snack
  • Wear hiking shoes if you plan on walking around
  • Bring a dry bag for your camera gear
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