Gljúfrabúi waterfall is one of Iceland’s most ravishing hidden gems. Located just off the famous Ring Road, and only a few meters away from one of Iceland’s most visited waterfall, this natural wonder has somehow managed to stay somewhat unknown up until recently. Gljúfrabúi waterfall is 40 meters (131ft) and runs from the river Gljúfurá.
The South Coast in Iceland is packed with outstanding sights and locations visited all around the clock by nature enthusiasts and travelers but Gljúfrabúi always stayed under the radar even though the beautiful Seljalandsfoss waterfall is right next to it and the road to the magical Þórsmörk valley leads you by it. It might be because you have to actually get very close to the waterfall to recognize it and then actually inside the gorge to see it or that the name was ill-pronounced but whatever it is visiting this pearl is surely a once in a lifetime experience.
Gljúfrabúi is surely one of the most memorable ones and can easily be named one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. Falling down from the green hills of Eyjafjöll mountains and into a gorge the waterfall truly has a unique look, but just remember when visiting, you might get soaked! Bring waterproofs, maybe even rainboots and watch your camera or phone.
What does the name Gljúfrabúi mean?
Gljúfur is a gorge, a ravine or a canyon and -búi is an inhabitant so roughly translated the name means “the inhabitant of the gorge”. This might sound a bit bizarre for those who haven’t visited but once you have this hidden water wonder you will understand the naming.
Are Gljúfrabúi and Gljúfrafoss the same?
Yes, they are – These are just two different names for the same waterfall. The name Gljúfrabúi is more widely spread and we recommend using that instead of Gljúfrafoss if you are, for example, asking directions.
How to get to Gljufrabui
Driving to Gljufrabui
Driving to Gljúfrabúi is easy and doesn’t require a specifically altered automobile. Driving from Reykjavík to Gljúfrabúi takes about 1 hour and 30-40 minutes and will take you through the towns of Hveragerði, Selfoss, Hella and Hvolsvöllur (in this order).
After having passed Hvolsvöllur (where you find the Lava Center and N1 Gas Station) you continue through fields of farmland heading East. The whole drive is a scenic one and there are a lot of interesting sights along the way. After about 15 minutes of driving the Road 1 from Hvolsvöllur, you will cross a bridge over a river and at this point, you need to start looking out for a left sign marked “249” this is the sign towards Seljalandsfoss. Make the turn inwards towards Seljalandsfoss. Now you drive past the crowds at Seljalandsfoss and park at the next parking lot, where the campground is, it should be marked Gljúfrabúi.
Parking at Gljufrabui
Parking at Gljúfrabúi is free but finding a spot can often be a bit tricky. Be sure to park in marked areas so that other cars can easily pass you.
Walking around near Gljufrabui
Walking from the parking lot to the waterfall takes about 4 minutes and is an easy walk. You just follow the small river running from the vertical drop that seems to be appearing from nowhere. You can admire the waterfall from the banks of the river, but from this point, you will only be able to view parts if the drop.
Going into the Gljufrabui gorge
Going into the gorge will give you an opportunity to really get up close and personal with the stunning water bewilderment that awaits you but we don’t recommend going in there unless you are willing to get wet. During the windiest of days, the spray from the waterfalls is similar to a shower!
Note: Bringing rain boots or waterproof shoes is great to explore this waterfall inside the ravine and make sure your camera and/or electronics are in waterproof casings.
Hiking at Gljufrabui
Hiking up in the hillside of the falls will you give a chance to explore the waterfall without getting a free shower so if you want to get closer this is a great option. The pathway isn’t great so be careful and try to stay within the obvious path. DON’T try to go past the chain!
Interesting Places Near Gljufrabui
- Seljalandsfoss waterfall
- Landeyjarhöfn the harbor of the ferry to Westman islands
- Eyjafjallajökull glacier
- Skógafoss waterfall
- Fimmvörðuháls pass
- Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck
- Hekla Volcano
- Vík village
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
- Reynisdrangar Basalt Columns
- Dyrhóley cape
- Þakgil canyon
- Sólheimajökull glacier