Hvita river

The Hvita River

From its magnificent sources in the glacier lake known in Icelandic as 'the white river lake' or Hvitarvatn the glacier river Hvita flows from Langjokull glacier high up in the highlands of Iceland and makes its way through the Icelandic nature swaying in curves and dropping in stunning waterfalls from far up in the hills and down into the lowlands where it has cut it's way to the sea.

Creating the Golden Waterfall

The Hvita river rushes forwards for 40 km, which is approximately 25 miles, before dropping suddenly and unexpectedly down into a narrow gorge. This phenomenon of Icelandic nature has created a spectacle known around the world as the Gullfoss waterfall. The water falls at such a pace it creates a thundering and overwhelming noise which can be heard for many miles.

The word Gullfoss literally means Golden waterfall in Icelandic.

The waterfall derives it's name from the colour of the water which often has a yellow or golden tint to it as it has collected silt and dirt on it's way down from it's origins in the highlands. The golden shine is also a result of the suns strong glare. The brimming river full of melted glacial water is thrust off the ledge and into the all-too narrow gorge where the light hits the water and creates a colourful rainbow.


Running it's course

Soon after creating the icon of Icelandic waterfalls, Gullfoss, with the golden rain, the Hvita river joins with other Icelandic rivers flowing along South Iceland.

It becomes one with the rivers of Tungnafljot, Bruara and Stora- Laxa, all of them well known salmon fishing rivers, as it runs behind the iconic Ingolfsfjall Mountain. The rivers then join with a huge lake like river called the Sog River, before its waters finally become Olfusa River and flow out of Iceland and into the awaiting Atlantic Ocean.

River rafting

As one of the most popular and well known rivers in Iceland, the Hvita River is home to many Icelandic river rafting companies. These continually offer brilliant river rafting trips which take place along this its ever fascinating banks, gorges, rapids and slow flowing waters.

Given its proximity to the widely known and celebrated Gullfoss and Geysir, part of the Golden circle tour, it is one of the better places to catch a short trip down an Icelandic river in the company of good friends.