Visiting Gljúfrabúi Waterfall in Iceland: What to Expect + Review

Note to my fellow wanderers: This guide was written from my first-hand experiences. I try my best not to over-glamorize any location I travel to because I want HappyWander’s content to be as authentic as possible. My goal is to provide you real information so that you can have the best possible adventures wandering the world. Enjoy!

Are you looking for a truly unique waterfall in Iceland? Look no further than Gljúfrabúi Waterfall! Gljúfrabúi Waterfall, often called Gljúfrafoss, is a breathtaking natural wonder located near Seljalandsfoss in Iceland. Tucked away behind a large cliff, visitors can access this enchanting sight by wading through a narrow canyon, revealing a stunning cascade that feels like a hidden gem. Its secluded and mystical ambiance makes Gljúfrabúi a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. In this mini guide, I’ll review everything you need to know about visiting Gljúfrabúi Waterfall.

Essentials For Visiting Gljúfrabúi Waterfall in Iceland

In this section I highlight everything you need to know about visiting Gljúfrabúi Waterfall.

Why Is Gljúfrabúi Waterfall Popular?

Why visit Gljúfrabúi Waterfall? It’s truly one of the most unique waterfalls that I’ve ever seen. Most other waterfalls in Iceland, while beautiful, don’t quite have the same secret place feeling as this one. Gljúfrabúi Waterfall doesn’t get as much hype as its nearby neighbor Seljalandsfoss waterfall, but I liked it even more. The great news is, you can visit both in under 1 hour.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

You can visit Gljúfrabúi Waterfall anytime of the year. The waterfall will most likely be partially frozen if you go in the winter. I visited in May, and it was cold and rainy, but it was still a fantastic time to go. The rain was just a nice preparer for getting wet from the waterfall!

What Clothing Should I Wear?

Speaking of getting wet from the waterfalls, I highly recommend wearing layers, with the outer shell layer being water resistant or waterproof. You will get wet if you enter into the Gljúfrabúi Waterfall canyon. I’d also recommend wearing waterproof hiking boots as you’ll need to walk through a stream that may or may not rise above a series of rocks that lead into the canyon.

Where to Park?

Parking for Gljúfrabúi Waterfall is in the same lot as Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, which is located at: J284+7FP, 861 Stóridalur, Iceland

The actual parking lot is spacious and easy to find a spot. Unless it’s extremely busy, you can expect to find a spot here.

Cost to Visit

The cost to visit is 800 ISK, or around $6 USD per car. The first machine I tried was not working, but there are several other machines scattered around the parking lot to pay.

How Long Do I Need Here?

The answer to this question is quite subjective, but I spent around 1 hour between Gljúfrabúi Waterfall and Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and that was plenty of time.

How Close is Gljúfrabúi Waterfall to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall?

Separated by about 800 meters (or 1/2 mile), Gljúfrabúi Waterfall is located in the same area as Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. In total, you expect to walk approximately 1.2 miles roundtrip to get back to the parking lot, which is much closer to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.

How Far is Gljúfrabúi Waterfall from Reykjavik?

Gljúfrabúi Waterfall is less than a 2 hour drive from downtown Reykjavik (approximately 128 kilometers), making Gljúfrabúi and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls some of the most popular stops for tourists in all of Iceland.

My Experience at Gljúfrabúi Waterfall

In this section, I will review my experience visiting Gljúfrabúi Waterfall and what you can expect.

Parking Lot

As mentioned above, parking at Gljúfrabúi and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls is seamless. It’s a very large lot. There are several machines to pay for parking scattered along the parking lot, so it’s a good idea to take a picture of your license plate before you walk over to the machine to pay 800 ISK.

Gljúfrabúi and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls Parking Lot

Walk Over to Gljúfrabúi Waterfall

Once you leave the parking lot, you’ll probably stop over at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall first as it’s the closest to the lot. It seemed like at least half of visitors did not continue walking towards Gljúfrabúi waterfall, which in my opinion is a big mistake. Made of black stones and spanning around 800 meters in length, the trail is mostly flat and easy to walk on.

Entering into Canyon

Turning the corner into the canyon was by far the coolest part of this adventure. It’s a stunning secret oasis that I wish was my backyard view. Walking from the trail into the canyon, you’ll notice that there’s a stream occupying most of the floor. To the right of the stream path, you’ll see some rocks you can walk along. If your balance is not great, you may take a little spill into the shallow stream and get your feet wet (so prepare accordingly).

How cool is this place!?

Standing on Giant Rock

The canyon only goes back a short distance before you are met with the epic-ness of this waterfall and the surrounding canyon ambiance. Directly in front of the waterfall is a rather large rock, which is a perfect spot to take an epic photo on:

Posing on Rock at Gljúfrabúi Waterfall in Iceland

Is Gljúfrabúi Waterfall Worth Visiting?

Personally, I loved Gljúfrabúi Waterfall. It’s so unique compared to other waterfalls in Iceland (and around the world for that matter). 

Some of the major selling points of Gljúfrabúi Waterfall for me were:

  • Unique Waterfall: This was by far the most unique waterfall I experienced in Iceland. I enjoyed the aura and vibes this hidden waterfall offers.
  • Fascinating Canyon: While the canyon is not very big, it was super exciting to turn the corner on the trail and enter this river walkway into the canyon with an epic waterfall right up in your face.
  • Great Pictures: In the canyon, you’ll have some of the best photo and video opportunities to make your friends and family back home jealous. Standing on the rock for a photo is an epic shot.

Here are some of the things I didn’t love:

  • Paid Parking: This is not uncommon in Iceland, unfortunately. Most scenic spots require paying for parking.
  • Very Busy: This was one of the busiest places I visited in Iceland due to the closer proximity to the airport and Reykjavik.  You can expect a high amount of tourists here.

Overall Score

So is visiting Gljúfrabúi Waterfall worth it? Absolutely! This mini adventure (combined with Seljalandsfoss Waterfall) only takes you an hour or so to scratch off your list, so why not go see its beauty?

I give this adventure a 9 / 10.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Gljúfrabúi Waterfall in Iceland

Thank you for joining me on my adventure at Gljúfrabúi Waterfall! I hope you found this information helpful for planning your Iceland itinerary. I feel that Gljúfrabúi Waterfall doesn’t get the hype a lot of other waterfalls in Iceland get, but it should. It was definitely one of my favorite overall waterfall experiences.

Happy wandering!

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Hello! Welcome to HappyWanders! My name is Anthony, I'm on a mission to live a life full of adventure and to help you to do the same. As an ex-corporate worker and current entrepreneur, I've been working to design a life with more time for adventure and less time for the 9-5 grind. If you're ready for an adventure, you're my type of person!

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