Gljúfrabúi: Icelands hidden waterfall

Gljúfrabúi Falls in the Golden Circle Iceland, near Seljalandsfoss

Just a short walk away from Seljalandsfoss is this hidden wonder. Gljúfrabúi (also known as Gljúfrabúifoss) is a waterfall tucked away within a cave which we were advised to visit by Francois, our tour guide. He said that despite our tight schedule it would be worth the walk. After enjoying the view from Seljalandsfoss, we made our way across the bridge and along the path. At the time we weren’t completely sure what to look for, with Francois being vague on any details and saying we just had to follow the path and we would know when we saw it. 

Discovering Gljúfrabúi

It was hard to see the path in the snow, the landscape was wide open so we just stuck to the base of the cliff and hoped we were heading in the right direction. It wasn’t long though before we came to a corner and the land sloped down to a small stream leading out from a cave. We got closer to the water’s edge and looked inside to see a waterfall hidden away. It’s a wonder that anyone is able to find it at all. Gljúfrabúifoss feels like a little secret, only available to those who are willing to venture away from the car park and its immediate surroundings. 

Gljúfrabúi Falls in the Golden Circle Iceland, near Seljalandsfoss

As we approached some of my friends had already arrived, they were searching for large rocks in the water to balance on to get a better view of what was inside. You can head inside, but the rocks looked slippery and we were all a bit apprehensive. No one wanted to be the person that made a fool of themselves and slipped, I ventured a little further, balancing on some of the bigger rocks, but ultimately deciding to turn back. The view inside the cave is staggering, there is enough sunlight pouring through to illuminate the water, we could see a boulder inside that would have made the perfect spot to observe it had we been brave to reach it.

The next adventure

As we slowly made our way back to the bus, we explored some of the nooks and crannies in the cliff face. Many people think adventure travel is all about going to or far away destinations, but really the best moments are ones like these. In one little crook we posed for photos, whilst one guy hid in a small cave and pretended to be an Icelandic Troll. We found a small bank and slid down on our bums racing to the bottom.

Gljúfrabúi is only 150 metres away from Seljalandsfoss, a popular stop on the Golden Circle that is iconic for its opportunity to walk along a pathway behind it. Despite being 40 metres high due to its location it has managed to remain relatively hidden until recently. This is astonishing given its close proximity to a high-profile attraction.

Gljúfrabúi FAQs

Where is Gljúfrabúi?

Gljúfrabúi is located just off the Ring Road and is 150 metres walk from Seljalandsfoss.

Is it part of the Golden Circle tour?

It’s not advertised as much, but it is often visited by tourists. They will stop at Seljalandsfoss and it’s a short distance walk, however, just be aware of how much time your tour gives you at each stop. To book you can click on the link below and book with Get Your Guide. Booking through the link doesn’t cost you any extra but does mean I receive a commission and supports Brad’s Backpack.

Is there parking nearby?

Yes, the nearest parking is at Seljalandsfoss.

Will I need waterproofs?

If you intend to go inside for a better view of Gljúfrabúi then you will absolutely need some waterproofs and preferably sturdy boots.

How big is the waterfall?

Gljúfrabúi is 40m high.

When is the best time to visit?

You can visit at any time of the year, in winter it will be colder

What time is the waterfall open to visitors?

Visiting the waterfall is allowed 24 hours a day, however if you visit at night you do so at your own risk. 

How much does it cost to visit?

The waterfalls are completely free to visitors, however, there is an 800isk parking fee. The only other costs are the car rental and petrol.

How far is Gljúfrabúi from Reykjavik?

Without stopping it’s a 2-hour drive from Reykjavik to Seljalandsfoss, and then a short walk from the car park. You can also get here by bus and it costs around 40 euros.

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