Iceland (part 3) – the Golden Circle and more

From Reykjavik we take time to explore the southwest corner of Iceland. Many Iceland travelers know this area as the Golden Circle with highlights such as the Blue Lagoon, Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and of course the Geysir. We also see some extra highlights.

Reykjanes peninsula

The Reykjanes Peninsula, southwest of Reykjavik, is not very well known to Iceland travelers except for the Keflavík International Airport and the Blue Lagoon.

Garður

On our first overnight stay after Reykjavik, we see the Northern Lights at the Garður lighthouses. That is special every time. The participants of the Northern Lights tour, who gather around our camping spot, also clearly enjoy this experience.

Hvalsneskirkja

This beautiful church stands out because of its different color.

IJsland Gouden Cirkel
Iceland Golden Circle

Bridge between two continents

Iceland lies entirely between two tectonic plates, the Eurasian plate and the North American plate. The Reykjanes bridge offers a symbolic insight into the transition between these plates.

Geothermal heat

Geothermal heat is available virtually everywhere in Iceland. For example, most households have almost free hot water from the ground. We have already taken a hot bath several times in one of the public hot pots, wonderful in the open air.

On Reykjanes you can literally observe the heat on the surface. At the Gunnuhver Geothermal Hotspring, the steam comes directly from the ground.

Blue Lagoon

After an overnight stay at the campsite in Grindavik we decide to drive along the Blue Lagoon, part of the Golden Circle in Iceland. The huge parking lot already indicates the massiveness of this geothermal bath. We decide not to go in.

The bath is beautifully situated, in the middle of a raw lava field. The water is a milky blue, which contrasts beautifully against the black lava rocks.

IJsland Gouden Cirkel, Blue Lagoon

Geldingadalir volcano

The Geldingadalir volcano is located right on the Icelandic Golden Circle and appeals more to our adventurous spirits. We take a brisk walk to the lava flow that was created after the eruption of March 2021. The lava vapors and smokes and still feels warm here and there. Sometimes you feel the earth shake a little and I wonder when the volcano will erupt again.

Later we also walk to the top of the volcano and see the lava flow from above.

Kleifarvatn

Lake Kleifarvatn is located in the middle of the volcanic area of Reykjanes. Clear blue with black beaches and white snowy mountains all around. That requires a photo session.

Krýsuvík

Krýsuvík is the most beautiful location of geothermal activity in Iceland. Especially in the Golden Circle, these geothermal fields should not be skipped.

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park

The separation of the tectonic plates is also clearly visible in this national park. High cliffs and deep gorges cut through the area. One of the many Icelandic waterfalls plunges down and leaves a watery trail through the landscape. Laws have been proclaimed on these mountain sides in the past, the information board tells us.

Geysir

In Geysir geothermal field we experience a lot of warm and bubbling water. The spouting source that also originates our word geyser is unfortunately not very active. The adjacent Strokkur shoots up a powerful jet of water every 7 minutes. Sometimes that is a bit scary.

Gullfoss waterfall

We find this waterfall, one of the largest in Iceland and rightly part of the Golden Circle, in a partial winter guise. Such violence.

More beauty

Landmannalaugar and Mount Hekla

From the Gullfoss we think we can continue driving a bit inland. The road to the Landmannalaugar nature reserve appears to be open. It is quite a bit inland and we climb higher and higher. More and more snow and ice around us, but the sun continues to shine, so we keep our spirits up.

The active Hekla volcano is still visible in the distance. We are even warned via text message: “You are close to Hekla, an active volcano that can erupt without warning. Take care.
We are on our guard!

On the F208 we come to a stop, the road is closed and a large snow and ice field blocks our way.


Iceland Golden Circle

Kerið Crater Lake

Kerið Crater Lake is located a short distance from the town of Selfoss. When we arrive at the end of the day it is foggy and raining. Not really attractive to get out. We look at the weather forecast and see that it will be better tomorrow. The next day the sun is shining and we can walk nicely around the crater.

Reykjadalur warm water river

The warm water river Reykjadalur can be reached on foot from the town of Hveragerdi. This is a brisk hike that rises sharply, especially during the first kilometres.

But if you’ve had that ordeal, you’ll be surprised with a nice warm bath with a beautiful view in the warm water river.

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