Kia has many talents but there are three things she just doesn’t do: cook, drive and navigate. This is fine – unless I’m on a snowy and slippery road with low visibility and she’s by my side insisting that she can’t read the map. Luckily, on this occasion, I spotted a sign with a familiar name, þingvellir, and managed to navigate to our destination without the help of my lovely ‘assistant’.
Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland rages with a beauty and power so stunning, we stood and watched in silence until Kia’s coat was covered in snow. Shaking it off, we gingerly walked down a set of stairs to a pathway leading to the edge of Europe’s most powerful waterfall. As it was mid-February, the gate was closed with a great big sign warning visitors off the path. We spotted a few brave souls down by the waterline and naturally decided to join them. Progress down the path was slow and slippery. Halfway through, Kia slipped and hit the ice. Thankfully, she was okay and insisted that we move onward. With a sheepish smile, she admitted that I was right: perhaps her gripless Uggs weren’t quite right for this trip.
We reached the edge of the falls, struck by the utterly foreign landscape. The white sky and raging water was captivating, surreal, stunning. Keen to take some good photographs, I took a few steps out onto the ice. Kia, usually equally cavalier, immediately shouted at me to come back. (I guess seeing her boyfriend being swallowed by ice wasn’t her idea of a perfect holiday.)
At 70 miles from the Icelandic capital, Gullfoss takes a little while to reach but it is utterly unmissable. In fact, Kia remarked that it was the most stunning thing she had ever seen. Without missing a beat, I told her it was the second most stunning thing I had ever seen. Of course, she saw right through my attempt to score some brownie points and simply laughed. We spent an hour walking along the waterline until Kia got too cold (an emerging theme it seems). We retired to a nearby cafe for a warm coffee and delicious muffin and readied for the journey back.
When to go: We visited in February when the path to the waterline was slippery and potentially dangerous. To be on the safe side, visit in the summer months (June, July, August) when roads are clearest and accessibility isn’t a problem – but be warned that you’ll miss out on the incredible whiteout winter landscape.
How: Book a hotel in Reykjavik and fly into Keflavík Airport, 48km west of Reykjavík (book flights via skyscanner.net). The Reykjavík Excursions Flybus is the cheapest way into the capital but you may wish to hire a car at the airport. In fact, travelling to Gullfoss by car allows you to stop off on the way to admire the many stunning views. If you prefer, you can get there by booking an excursion. Look for the Gullfoss, Geysir & Þingvellir Afternoon Tour.