When it comes to landscape beauties, every country has its own Beauty and the Beast. In Iceland, if the Beast is Dettifoss waterfall, the Beauty is surely the Goðafoss waterfall, part of the Ring Road itinerary.
Located midway between Akureyri and Myvatn, the elegant horseshoe-shaped waterfall is among Iceland’s greatest waterfalls, 12 metres tall and 30 metres wide.
Located on the Skjálfandafljót river, this wonderful waterfall flows in a 7000 years-old lava field. Across the years, the water shaped a 100 metres width canyon through the water. A stone wall separates the main waterfall into three others, of different water volumes and sizes.
The alternative nomination, The Waterfall of the Gods, is closely related to a very important event in Iceland’s history: the conversion to Christianity in the year 999/1000. Fun fact about Iceland: its people are almost never able to agree on the year of a certain event in their history. As there are always at least two sources debating the same historical event, Icelanders decided to give cause to both sources and mention both historical years, so that everyone is happy.
Getting back to this event, in the year 999/1000, Þorgeir Þorkelsson (Thorgeir Thorkelsson in Latin writing) was appointed Lawspeaker – some sort of a secretary supposed to recite all the laws, charged with mediating the conflicts between those who were wishing to convert to Christianity and those loyal to the old Norse gods (I cannot help but think to the famous cue from Game of Thrones – “By the old gods and the new”). Himself a priest, highly respected by the people and devoted to the pagan religion, had a very difficult decision to make. Eventually, in order to avoid an imminent, probably bloody conflict between the believers of the two faiths, he decided that the entire nation should convert to Christianity.
The legend has it that, once returned from the Alþingi, the famous sessions of the parliament, he threw all his Norse gods icons into the waterfall, in a symbolic gesture of his conversion to Christianity. Thus the name of the waterfall, Goðafoss, The Waterfall of the Gods.
How to get to Goðafoss waterfall
From Route 1, you will take the 844 road towards Fossholl. From the parking lot, it’s impossible to miss it.
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