Goðafoss – Waterfall of the Gods

One of the first stops along our Ring Road trip was the amazing Goðafoss. Quick Icelandic lesson for ya: foss translates to waterfall. So, anytime you see a landmark that ends in foss (Goðafoss, Skógafoss, Dettifoss) you know it’s referring to a waterfall.

Now, there are no shortage of waterfalls in Iceland; they are literally everywhere, and you will find this to be true when driving in the countryside and see one after another along the side of the road. So, there are plenty to choose from. I will say, though, that this one is definitely worth a stop.

Goðafoss in Iceland translates to waterfall of the gods. The story in folklore is that around year 999-1000 the lawspeaker, Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði, made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After making this proclamation, he left the Alþingi and came to Goðafoss to throw all of his Norse god statues into the waterfall. A symbolic gesture of letting go of Iceland’s old religion and embracing the new one.

There are a few reasons I would suggest stopping at this waterfall – 1) It’s really easy to get to. If you’re already on the Ring Road, Goðafoss is just a little bit past Akureyri and right off Route 1. 2) It’s one of the biggest ones in the country, so it’s magnificence is worth seeing. 3) You can also get really close to the water. In fact, you can actually walk right up to the edge of the top of the falls on the right side. There is also a walking path along the side of the falls area that allows you to walk right up next to the lower falls.

If you do make the stop, I would recommend taking the walking path towards the pedestrian bridge. You’ll find the path by looking for the sign that says WC (reference for the bathrooms) with an arrow pointing to the path. Allow the path, you’ll find the shoot off for the lower falls. Then, as you cross the bridge, you’ll be able to take in a really nice view of the falls from the lower portion. Once you cross over the bridge, cross the street and make a stop in the gift shop/cafe. It’s a great place to have a bathroom break, grab a little souvenir, and warm up with a coffee.

Here are some pictures of our trip in early May. You’ll see ones of the falls themselves, the lower falls, and the pedestrian bridge I’m referring to.

The top of the main falls area
View from the walking path
The lower falls
View from the pedestrian bridge


This is the second post in the Ring Road Series

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