The Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland is one of the main stops on the Ring Road.
This 'waterfall of the gods’ is a very elegant horseshoe-shaped waterfall that you can approach from both sides all year round.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit with map, tips and photos from both East and West banks.
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Why visit the Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland?
Godafoss is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland and should be visited since:
- it is easily accessible next to road 1.
- the water from the river Skjálfandafljót drops from a height of 12 meters.
- it is an elegant 30-meter-wide (98ft) horseshoe shape and the big rock separating the flow in the middle.
Is Godafoss worth it?
Absolutely. If you are visiting North Iceland, it is a very easy stop between Akureyri and Myvatn. And the beautiful shape of the waterfall is worth it!
How was Godafoss formed? - Geology
The canyon was formed by river Skjalfandafjot. It flows from the icecap of Vatnajökulll through this lava field.
At the location of the waterfall, the big step may have been formed by a fault line.
Why is it the waterfall of the gods? About the name...
The name Godafoss means waterfall of the Gods.
Iceland was first settled in the 9th and 10th centuries. Back then they were worshipping the Norse gods such as Thor and Odin.
After the creation of the commonwealth, Christianity was pushed throughout the territories.
When around 1000 AD, the lawspeaker / priest decided to make Christianity the official religion, the decision was symbolised by throwing god statues into the waterfall... hence the name.
Was Godafoss in Game of Thrones?
Not that I know of.
However, it is often included in Game of Thrones tours, because it is an easy stop on the way to Myvatn.
How do you pronounce Godafoss
To facilitate the reading of this article, you can listen to the pronunciation of Godafoss here.
Planning Tips & Map - Godafoss Iceland
Where is Godafoss located? Map
This location is included (with GPS coordinates, map of region and planning info) in both my travel guide eBooks that help you easily plan your Iceland road trip:
How to get to Godafoss?
- Very easy to access via Road 1 - a standard car is perfect
- All tours around Iceland (Ring Road tours) stop at Godafoss as well as day trips to Myvatn from Akureyri
- However if you want to enjoy both banks, hike and maybe stay to watch sunset, you have to visit with your own car
- The West side parking is before the bridge (when driving east towards Myvatn).
- And if you have rented a 4WD, you can drive from Godafoss to reach Aldeyjarfoss (see my article)
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
- Option 1 - Local experts - Iceland has a lot of specificities and offerings by local companies are adapted - compare cars and prices of quality local brands on GuidetoIceland.com
- Option 2 - International Brands - compare offers on Discovercars.com - one of the best customer-rated comparison sites!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
- If you plan on driving on F-roads in the Central Highlands, a good 4WD is mandatory
Godafoss: East or West Bank?
The waterfall can be admired from both banks of the river
- West bank (right side when facing the waterfall) - views right from the carpark - can get closer on the rocks, but be careful it is slippery.
Best side to see the middle flow
- East Bank (left) - short 5 /10 minute walk along the river bank with various views of the waterfall
Most beautiful view in my opinion
However, as it is only a short walk, it is very easy to check out both sides.
Photos further in the article.
Other visit tips
- Free access
- No difficult hike
- At sunset on the East side I had the waterfall all to myself!
- Next to the café there is a bridge to cross the river if you wish to leave your car on one side. From the bridge you can see a small waterfall called Geitafoss.
- At the gas station, there is a nice café and souvenir shop with toilets
- It is accessible all year round – it is also breathtaking in Winter covered in snow and ice (see at the end of the article)
- And Check out my complete article with detailed suggestions and tips on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
How long to visit Godafoss?
If you want to enjoy both sides of the waterfall and take your time (and plenty of pictures), plan a 1h stop. But it can easily be admired in just 30min.
Where to stay near Godafoss
Right by the waterfall path, next to the petrol station, you can find the Fossholl Guesthouse.
I found it really practical and enjoyed the food and combination with camping - Check out prices and availability
Otherwise you can 40 to 50 minutes East or West to stay at:
Waterfall of Godafoss from the West bank
On the West side, you can park right next to the Godafoss waterfall.
This is where the official parking is.
From this side, you get a better view of the flow separation in 3 sections.
From this side, you can continue driving to Aldeyjarfoss, an off the path waterfall on the same river which requires some dirt road and 4WD driving.
Waterfall of the Gods from the East bank
Godafoss hike at the top of the East shore
On the East side (where the café and station are), there is a short trail to reach the waterfall.
You have to park near the café and continue on foot (less than 10min).
The trail has been much improved and viewing platforms have been set up to enjoy the waterfall from different perspectives.
The photos below were taken before the set up. But I visited again in Winter and saw all the improvements.
On this side, you can clearly see the beautiful horseshoe shape fo the waterfall.
And from this location, have a look at the basalt formations:
Sunset at Godafoss
The sun was not in the right position late afternoon, but it was great once the sun had set with the remaining colors behind the waterfall.
I was alone waiting for sunset and could sometimes spot people getting very close on the other side which gave me this shot with nice silhouettes, one of my favorite pictures from my trip through Iceland:
The bridge under the stars
As I was staying at the guesthouse near the falls, I went out to take some photos of the stars. Sadly, the station next to the bridge was too bright.
When I stayed overnight, the walking trail had not been created yet, and I did not have a flashlight.
However, now with the path and the viewing platforms on the East bank, you can easily shoot the waterfall under the stars.
The second picture was taken from the bridge with the Geitafoss waterfall in the foreground.
Godafoss in Winter
Godafoss is also accessible in Winter.
In my opinion it is even more beautiful with the ice and snow.
You can see pictures and video in my article about Godafoss in Winter.
Want to see other highlights in North Iceland?
- The large volcanic crater of Hverfjall on which you can climb - read article
- The crazy lava formations of Dimmuborgir - read article
- The fascinating pseudo-craters of Skutustadir - read article
- The orange geothermal area of Hverir Namafjall - read article
- Or read my complete article about North Iceland
- Tips to plan your Iceland road trip - read article
- Tips to rent a car in Iceland - read article
- Tips to drive around Iceland - read article
- Itinerary suggestions - read article
Planning a trip to Iceland?
Check out my travel guides to help you plan:
And keep track of your own trip!
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