Gullfoss waterfall is part of the Golden Circle sights. A must do if you are visiting Iceland! It is located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. The water rushes down in two stages, one drop is 11 meters, the other 22, falling down into a rugged canyon. I visited in the winter so many parts of the waterfall were frozen. It felt like an added bonus to watch the water cascading around it’s own “blockages” so to speak. You can view the waterfall from directly above, or walk further down to see it at eye level. In the summer you can walk closer but in the winter it is too icy and therefore unsafe without crampons. But to really get a grasp at this waterfalls enormity and strength, you have to see if from above. Our helicopters can fly along the Golden Circle and you can witness this natural wonder from the air.
The power of the Gullfoss waterfall was desired by foreign investors in the early 20th century to produce electricity. When an englishmen wanted to buy the waterfall from Tómas Tómasson, a farmer who owned the land, the farmer’s daughter, Sigriður Tómasdóttir, became outraged. Tómas ended up leasing the waterfall to the englishmen so Sigriður used her own savings to hire a lawyer to defend her case in voiding this contract. She walked barefoot to Reykjavík from the waterfall, and she even went as far as threatening to throw herself in the river if construction on the power plant began. Finally the company backed away, but her determination and passion for the waterfall had sparked people’s attention to the need for preservation of the natural environment. It is for this reason that Sigriður Tómasdóttir is often referred to as the first environmentalist of Iceland.
So when you visit this waterfall, you are not only witnessing a natural wonder, but you are also at a site with historical significance.
By: Kelsey Heide