The Golden Circle is a very popular driving route in Iceland that hits a lot of popular attractions. The circle is a very easy drive and can be completed in less than a day so many visitors include this trip into their itinerary. We knocked off the first stop at Thingvellir National Park early in the morning with snorkeling in Silfra. Thingvellir itself was so pretty. All the green with, the glassy looking ponds, and mountains in the distance made for quite the site. We didn’t spend that much time exploring the park but I’m sure we would have be in awe of the beauty wherever we went. Next stop:
This waterfall is kinda off the beaten path and you have to do some work to get to it. It’s not even in Rick Steve’s Iceland guidebook! After doing some research I realized it would be well worth the trouble of getting to. The Bruarfoss Waterfall is known as one of Iceland’s bluest waterfalls. I knew we couldn’t miss it so I looked up the directions, we found the parking lot, and started on our mini adventure. We weren’t sure where the path was taking us. We didn’t see any people on the trail. We just knew there was no other place we would rather be then walking along this beautiful river with the picturesque hills and mountains in the background, no noises besides the flowing water and wind in our hair. This was one of my favorite times. It was just my dad, my sister, and I enjoying life in the middle of Iceland. The experience was so serene, my smile never left my face.
We continued on the path and and finally came to a dead end at a fence with a private property sign. I had read about how the path had been closed off and there was now a different way to get to the waterfall but my directions were not lining up with the landscape. By now a few other tourists had caught up with us due to our lallygagging and picture taking. One couple who seemed to know what they were doing found a hole in the fence that looked like someone had cut out and they told us that this was the way. I looked at my dad shrugged my shoulders and acted like I definitely didn’t see the huge PRIVATE PROPERTY sign in the grass as we crawled our way through the fence. We continued onto the path, weaving through what seemed like an enchanted garden of winding branches and colorful flowers. After navigating our way over rivers, and avoiding a few huge ditches we began to see the river turn into a very vibrant light blue. We kept following the path and soon turned the corner to find the mesmerizing Bruarfoss Waterfall. I never thought I would see water that bright of a blue. It looked like it was glowing as it rushed over the rocks and down the canyon. We took some time, enjoyed the view, and snapped some pretty spectacular pictures. When we got to the destination there were actually a good amount of people there, which explained all the cars in the parking lot. The people also made me feel a lot better about our trespassing! Our hike to Bruarfoss Waterfall was definitely a big highlight of the trip. On our way back we stopped by the river to fill our water bottles. Thank goodness for pure Iceland water!
The Haukadalur Geothermal Field is home to the Great Geysir which erupts every few years, but also Strokkur which erupts every few minutes. There are many signs around the geothermal area explaining the high temperatures of the water and how dangerous it can be. While waiting for Strokkur to erupt I highly recommend you do not stand in the direction the wind is blowing unless you want to get soaked. Trust me, I learned the hard way haha. Thankfully it was pretty windy and I dried quick. Watching Strokkur erupt was one one of the coolest things ever. You begin to see the water bubble as if it had the hiccups then a beautiful bright blue dome forms over the hole for a split second, only to have the water pierce through the top and shoot up about 130 feet. It’s an amazing sight. I was surprised though because even after seeing all the signs about how hot the water is, the water from the geyser was not hot at all. Although Strokkur is the main attraction here, there are many other small springs that will blow you away with their blue color. There is also a mountain that you can take a small hike up for a beautiful view of the scenery below. Or to get your workout in for the day you can run all the way to the top 🙂
Gullfoss Falls was a sight that I was greatly looking forward to seeing. This falls is located in the canyon of the Hvítá river. The water flows down from a glacier before falling 105 feet into the canyon. It’s almost scary to watch because the water seems so powerful as it crashes down in the depths of the canyon. There are two viewing decks to experience the waterfall at. The bottom one allows you to get up close and feel the spray of water as it flows down the river and hits the rocks. The top one, which is very very windy by the way, allows you to admire the big picture from the top of the canyon.
I keep saying this but it really is true. There is not a place in Iceland without views that will take your breath away. I promise you every time you stop and look up you are filled with joy just thinking about how exceptional this earth is.