Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Iceland's Golden Circle



Iceland's Golden Circle

We are planning a return trip to Iceland this summer, so I am doing a little Iceland reminiscing from previous trips. On our first visit to Iceland, we explored Iceland's famed Golden Circle. The Golden Circle highlights a selection of stunning natural attractions. You can easily drive the Golden Circle or enjoy one of many tours.


Thingvellir National Park:


Checking out the plates splitting at Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.
Checking out the plates splitting at Thingvellir National Park.
One of my favorite spots in Iceland is Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir is a site of geological, historical and cultural significance. Resting on the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Thingvellir is where the North American and Eurasian plates are splitting. The entire park is stunning and you can see the rifting and where the plates are splitting.

Hiking up and down at Thingvellir.
Hiking up and down at Thingvellir.
Iceland's parliament, the Althing, was founded at Thingvellir in 930. The Althing is considered to be the oldest parliament in Europe. With such importance, Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not to be missed is the largest natural lake in Iceland, Thingvallavatn. Thingvallavatn is a very cold lake and purely breathtaking. My daughter was 7 on our first visit and this is one of the little tidbits she remembered!
Thingvallavatn the largest fresh water lake in Iceland
Thingvallavatn the largest fresh water lake in Iceland
You will also recognize Thingvellir from scenes in Game of Thrones including the path to Eyrie. There are plenty of geologic formations to explore including rocky terrain and waterfalls.

Gullfoss:


Thunderous Gullfoss is a waterfall in two stages. As you can see by the picture, you can walk up pretty close for magnificent views. There are other points to take in incredible views as well. Gullfoss is fed by water from Iceland's second largest glacier, Langjökull. While we were there, we enjoyed traditional Icelandic meat soup in the cafe. While we only tried the soup, the cafe appeared to be a decent spot for lunch.

Traditional Icelandic Meat Soup at Gullfoss.
Traditional Icelandic Meat Soup at Gullfoss.

Geysir and Strokkur:

Geysir and Strokkur are geyers located in the Geysir Geothermal Area of Haukadalur Valley. This preserve is an incredible and experience and one not to be missed. Geysir is the first known geyser to be described and is the one after which all are named. Geysir does not go off very often, so when it does it is quite a treat!

Geysir the geyser after which all are named in an Icelandic geothermal area.
Geysir the geyser after which all are named.
Near Geysir is Strokkur which does go off about every 10 minutes. We did see Strokkur go off a few times during our visit. Strokkur spouts water about 30 meters into the air. Spectacular!

The geyser Strokkur spouts off about every 10 minutes in Iceland.
Strokkur spouts off about every 10 minutes.
Walking around the geothermal area, we were amazed by a number of geothermal hot water blow hole and hot springs around us.


Coming from Illinois, the walk through the geothermal area was an otherworldly experience. We visited during the summer and were entranced by the melding of the hot steam, greenery and beautiful wildflowers about.

During our day exploring Iceland's Golden Circle, we delighted in nature's beauty and impressive strength. Each site displayed the sheer power of nature in all of its glory. When you visit Iceland, the Golden Circle is the perfect excursion to add to your itinerary!

If you would like to add to your Golden Circle visit, I recommend Laugarvatn for Fontana Spa. There is nothing like a relaxing geothermal spa experience in Iceland! You may also be able to take in part of Iceland's South Coast especially in the summer with extended daylight.



1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful place! I've never really considered visiting Iceland, I know so many people do and love it! Great post!

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