Every country has its most famous sites. In Iceland a definite must see is the Golden Circle. It is immensely popular with the visitors. The reasons might be its proximity to Reykjavik, the unpretentious capital of the country or the fact that it unites different sites in one go. It certainly gives a first yet it shouldn’t be the last glimpse of Iceland. The three primary stops on the route are the national park Þingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss (meaning “golden falls”), and the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur.
At first when planning our trip, hubby was adamant on excluding this all together, but I again was curious to see why it was on everyone’s bucket-list. I argued that excluding this from our schedule was like going to Paris and skipping the Eiffel tower. Bu then due to the loss of our bag at the airport, we were forced to stay in the vicinity of Reykjavik and await its return – thus the decision was out of our hands. We did the famous Iceland Golden Circle.
I was impressed with the national park Þingvellir, which is a very important place for the Icelanders, historically, culturally and geologically. It is the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the setting of Icelandic’s first parliament. My mind kept racing and I could well picture all the things that happened there in the past, the setting of the open-air assembly representing the whole of Iceland, established in 930 and it continued until 1798. Over two weeks every year, the assembly set laws and settled disputes.
Little trivia for all – this was the oldest parliament institution in the world.
The park was later founded to protect the site and the remains as well as the surrounding area. It is a place truly worth visiting due to its tremendous importance as well as being a somewhat magical and beautiful site.
We continued our trip with a visit of the waterfall called Gullfoss. How can you best describe something so stunning and impressive? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you have it. Just let me make add, that while this waterfall is remarkable, a few days later we saw one that rose the bar for all the future waterfalls. Iceland is abundant with waters in every possible shape and size. Each will impress you in their own unique and special way. In the end you will not be able to chose a favorite.
The Golden Circle was complete when we witnessed the eruption of Geysir.
The word geyser (a spouting hot spring) derives from Geysir. It supposedly hurls boiling hot water up to 70 meters in the air.
It was impressive but be prepared. The second we got out of the car we were enveloped in the most horrid smell of long forgotten boiled eggs and it gets worse as you approach. But soon enough you get used to the smell, especially since it’s around almost every time you open the hot water tap. After you brave the smell, find your place among the many tourists who came to witness this special kind of magic.
Here is why Iceland made me believe in magic…
Though the whole place is filled with several smaller spouting hot springs, the big eruption makes them fade in comparison. It was great to have experienced this – a definite must on my bucket-list. But while we were waiting I did wonder what if it doesn’t happen, we are all here, anxious, how long would we actually stick around? It was just a few minutes, then to my great relief, it erupted and hubby managed to take the photos just in time.
Despite the fact that our hand was kind of forced and we had to do the Golden Circle I wasn’t a least bit sorry – this truly is the best way to get your first taste of Iceland but do make sure you don’t stop here. After this visit we rushed back to Reykjavik, collected our missing bag and continued our adventure in Vik.