Close to the waterfall is the valley Haukadalur, a place of great importance during past centuries.
Only a short distance west of Gullfoss is the geothermal area of Geysir with its many active and various hot springs . The best known attraction is certainly the great Icelandic Geysir that once gave every Geyser in the world its name. It began to erupt in the 14th century but had become less active during the last centuries until the two earthquakes that shook South Iceland in June 2000. New fissures were formed and for a while the Geyser was active again. Just beside the big one is a very impressive, smaller Geyser called “Strokkur”, which is regularly erupting up to 30 m (ca. 90 ft), with only several minutes in-between eruptions. They last very short indeed, so that it is not very easy to catch the column on a photograph... Many other colourful hot springs , mineral deposits, steaming vents and warm streams give the area a unique atmosphere.