Gluggafoss Waterfall in Iceland: Height, Flow, Location, and Tours

Gluggafoss Waterfall in Iceland

Gluggafoss is one of the waterfalls in Iceland. One of their names in English is Window Falls because of its unique geology. The Gluggafoss Waterfall in Iceland is approximately 44-meters tall. 

The river is only a small river but is still powerful. What makes Gluggafoss unique is its geology. Instead of going straight over a cliff, the river has carved away at the geology to create several tunnels and holes in the soft bedrock. 

‘Gluggar’ translates to ‘windows’ in the scenic waterfall. Gluggafoss Waterfall in Iceland continues to change over the decades as the river wears away at the softer palagonite stones along the cliff’s edge. 

For example, in the 1940s, the waterfall fell straight into a hole at the cliff’s edge and could only be seen through three rock windows as it rushed downward. There are more windows than rock, but it is still stunning.

What are the Tourist Activities for Gluggafoss Waterfall?

The primary tourist activity at Gluggafoss Waterfall in Iceland is to walk up and visit the actual waterfall itself. However, if the wind is blowing right on a sunny day, you will also see a rainbow towards the bottom, where the river falls free of its windows.

Another one of the nearest tourist activities to the waterfall is the volcano Eyjafjallajokull. It is one of the most recent and disruptive eruptions in recent history. It erupted in 2010, wreaking havoc on air traffic patterns worldwide.

If you want to visit other waterfalls, you can visit Seljalandsfoss, only further to the south, but just as beautiful as Gluggafoss.

What are the Hotels for Gluggafoss Waterfall?

Because of the waterfall’s fame and its proximity to the volcano, several hotels in Iceland are within a very convenient visiting distance. These include the Hotel Eyjafjallajokull, Hotel Fljotshlid, Hellisholar Guesthouse, and Godaland Guesthouse.

What are the Facts about Gluggafoss Waterfall?

Gluggafoss waterfall is also called Merkjarfoss. It is closest to Hvolsvollur, a nearby town. It features two primary drops, with the main one dropping 44 meters into a narrow recess with the windows. The other is only 8.5 meters but separates the river into three primary channels. This is because of the geology under the waterfall. The upper portion runs over palagonite and the lower portion over the harder basalt rock.

Is Hiking Possible in Gluggafoss Waterfall?

You can hike in the area, although the hike to the waterfall is straightforward and doesn’t take long. There is a parking lot very close, and it takes you straight to the base of the waterfall, where the river runs again. Respect the signage where they have closed off certain areas for walking to help preserve the area, protecting it from soil erosion.

How Long Does It Take to Drive to Gluggafoss Waterfall?

It takes about two hours to drive from Reykjavik over to Gluggafoss Waterfall. It is fastest to take the Ring Road or Route 1 to get there, only breaking off once you reach Route 261, where there will be signage to direct you to the parking lot.

Is there a National Park for Gluggafoss Waterfall?

Gluggafoss Waterfall is not in one of the National Parks in Iceland. However, it isn’t too far off the Ring Road if you want to visit after you visit Thingvellir.

Which Canyons are Connected to the Gluggafoss Waterfall?

There are no full-fledged canyons in Iceland connected to Gluggafoss as most of the stones the river runs over above and below the waterfall are not soft enough to be quickly eroded.

Which Rivers are connected to the Gluggafoss Waterfall?

One of the rivers of Iceland is connected to the Gluggafoss Waterfall in Iceland and it is known as the river Merkja. It isn’t enormous, but its interaction with the palagonite stone has made the waterfall remarkable without a roaring river.