Best time to visit Iceland

Gullfoss Canyon Rafting in Iceland

The twisting journey from Langjökull Glacier to the South Coast is as thrilling as it is picturesque

Best time: mid-May–mid-September

Gullfoss Canyon Rafting
Gullfoss Canyon Rafting

Among all waterways found in Iceland, Hvita River is the most famous for white water rafting. This glacier river flows out of the Langjökull Glacier, Europe's second largest one. It rushes down from the famed Gullfoss Waterfall seven twisting kilometres across Brúarhlöð (White Water) Canyon down to the South Coast. Perhaps rafters love it for the perfect balance of the trill it provides, as well as landscape viewing opportunities. While rafting, watch out for the beauty around. If you are attentive, you won't miss out two grand rocks known as Karl and Kerling or Man and Woman. According to a local legend, these two are petrified trolls.

The rafting adventure is designed to last for about three hours. Since it's a glacier river, you should wear warm undergarments too, don't forget about a sweater and socks (preferably wool or fleece). At the end of the exciting white water journey, the rafters will be able to relax in a hot sauna. Don't forget to bring bathing suits, towels and clothes for a change.

The rafting season normally lasts from mid-May to mid-September. Depending on the weather conditions this period may be shifted to June and the end of September. This Icelandic glacier river is enjoyable for any type of rafters and is a family-friendly activity. However, there's age limit—you have to be over 11 to be allowed on the raft.

Practical info

When is the best time to go white water rafting in Gullfoss Canyon, Iceland?

Mid-May to mid-September, or June to end of September depending on the weather, is the best time to go white water rafting in Gullfoss Canyon. This is because during this period, the river flows fast enough to provide a thrilling experience. It's important to note that the weather can change quickly as this is a glacier river, so make sure to confirm availability with an operator. Show more

What clothing should I wear while rafting in Gullfoss Canyon, Iceland?

When packing for rafting in Gullfoss Canyon, dress in layers as the weather can be unpredictable. First, wear warm undergarments, then add a wool/fleece sweater and finish with waterproof outerwear. It is strongly recommended to wear waterproof shoes with good grip, a hat, gloves and sunglasses. Helmets and drysuits will be provided by tour operators, so it's not necessary to bring your own. Show more

Are there any age restrictions for white water rafting in Gullfoss Canyon?

White water rafting in Gullfoss Canyon has an age restriction of 11 years old minimum. Participants under 18 years need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. While the activity is family-friendly, rafting in unpredictable waters can be dangerous, and thus everyone participating should be willing and understanding of safety instructions. Show more

Where will the rafting adventure in Gullfoss Canyon take me in Iceland?

Gullfoss Canyon's white water rafting adventure takes you along the Hvita River. This river runs for seven kilometres across Brúarhlöð Canyon, starting from Langjökull Glacier, one of Europe's second largest glaciers. The river rushes through the canyon until it reaches the South Coast. During the rafting, you'll experience Iceland's stunning landscapes, including two petrified trolls-Karl and Kerling. Show more

Can you elaborate on the legend of the two petrified trolls in Gullfoss Canyon?

Karl and Kerling are two grand rocks on either side of the Hvita River in Gullfoss Canyon, which are said to be petrified trolls. According to legend, they tried to destroy a nearby church but were turned into stone by the sun. Guides will inform you of this and other troll stories as you raft along the canyon. This story is a popular subject in Icelandic folklore. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin