Godafoss Waterfall, Akureyri, Iceland (with Map & Photos)

Godafos Waterfall or Waterfall of the Gods is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. It is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country, falling from a height of 12 meters and a width of 30 meters. The waterfall is widely known for the story of Iceland's abandonment of paganism.

Godafoss Waterfall Iceland
Godafoss Waterfall Iceland

The Godafoss Waterfall (Goðafoss) is located on the Skjalfandafl River, it is the  fourth largest river in Iceland and therefore the waterfall is very full-flowing at any time of the year. The name of the river is translated as "a river with a trembling breath." In one place, its waters collapse from a cliff formed by basalt rocks, while raising a huge cloud of spray, visible from afar.

The history of the Falls of the Gods - Godafoss

The name Godafoss, in Icelandic Goðafoss, means either the waterfall of the gods or the waterfall "goði" (ie Priest / Chief). The reason for this is its fascinating history.

Godafoss Waterfall Iceland
Godafoss Waterfall Iceland

The first settlers who appeared in Iceland in the 9th and 10th centuries were mainly Norwegians who followed the Old Norse religion, worshiping pagan gods such as Thor, Odin, Loki and Freya.

But around the year 930, pressure from neighboring countries that converted to Christianity became too strong.

Godafoss Waterfall Iceland
Godafoss Waterfall Iceland

By AD 1000, it seemed as though Norway would almost certainly invade if the country maintained its pagan beliefs. This issue was discussed in the althing, the meeting place of the first parliament. Now this place is located in Tingvelir Þingvellir park , where the parliament met once a year.

And the local ruler, by the name of  Torgeir Torkelson, decided not to bring matters to bloodshed.

They say he sat under a birch tree during the day and night in silence, praying to his old gods for the right decision. Eventually, he showed up and said that for the good of the people, Christianity would be the official religion, but that pagans could practice in private (which in reality could have been before the twentieth century).

To set an example to others and fulfill his decision, he returned to his home in northern Iceland and threw the idols of the old pagan Gods into a waterfall. Since then, this place has become known as Godafoss.

The church in the neighboring town has stained glass windows depicting this event, which gave the Godafoss waterfall its name.

Godafoss Waterfall Iceland
Godafoss Waterfall Iceland

How to get to Godafoss waterfall, Goðafoss

Godafoss Waterfall is located in the north of Iceland, on the ring road that completely surrounds the country. It is considered part of the Diamond Ring route.

The Diamond Ring Trail also passes through the Müvatn lakes, Dettifoss waterfall, Ásbyrgi Canyon and the city of Husavik. You can read more about the Diamond Ring route in the article:

To get to Godafoss waterfall, you must first get from Reykjavik to Akureyri.

This can be done in two ways:

  • by bus or car - 4 hours;
  • by plane of local airlines - 45 minutes;

From Akureyri to the waterfall, you can drive in about an hour along the highway number 1:

  • with a private guided tour;
  • on a regular bus;
  • on a rented car.

An excellent road leads to Godafoss from the town of Husavik, located north of the city, where tourists go to watch whales , and from Lake Myvatn.

Godafoss Waterfall Map