Summary: Goðafoss or "waterfall of the goð (pagan idols)" is a spectacular waterfall in Iceland's north. The river Skjálfandafljót falls in a wide arc into a foaming pool.

Goðafoss is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Icleland, falling only 12 metres but with a width of over a hundred metres and an arcing semi-horseshoe shape,.


The name of the falls means either “waterfall of the goð (pagan idols)” or “waterfall of the goði (chieftain)”, and may be derived from two crags at the falls which resemble pagan idols. An alternate (and less likely) explanation for the waterfall’s name is that after making Christianity the official religion of Iceland in the year 999 or 1000, the lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði threw idols or statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall.


The waterfall is located along the river Skjálfandafljót, which is the fourth largest river in Iceland.


Getting to Goðafoss

Goðafoss Waterfall is part of the Diamond Circle and about only about 45min from Akureyri, so it can get busy in summer. There is a parking area on both sites of the river: the west carpark is bigger and more popular, with a shorter walk to the top of the falls. From the east side, the trail goes below the waterfall. Both sides offer great views, although the perspective looking down into the pool at the base of the falls from the west side is more dramatic.

More information

This was one of the many waterfalls (and countless other natural attractions) on our week-long Circuit around Iceland.

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