The Golden Circle
August 22 2019 I hopped on a plane to Reykjavík, Iceland. Finally, a dream was coming true! I’ve wanted to visit Iceland ever since I started riding Icelandic horses way back when. A country that speaks to the imagination; rugged, harsh and barren, yet diverse and insanely beautiful!
I spent the first night in Fosshótel Rauðará, an easy walk to Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavík. I got settled into my hotel room, went out for some souvenir shopping, had a wander around and then had some dinner.
The next day, the adventure started! I had booked an organised tour around Iceland, including the highlands by way of the Sprengisandur. What I didn’t know yet at that moment, is that it would be one of my favourite travels. It was an unforgettable experience with an amazing guide and awesome fellow travellers.
Let’s begin with probably the most popular and also very touristy Golden Circle: Þingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss.
Þingvellir is a special place in Iceland. It represents one of the first places where a form of what we’d nowadays consider a parliament gathered. It’s located in a fissure zone that runs through Iceland, on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Beautiful and views for days!
At Þingvellir – literally “Assembly Plains” – the Alþing general assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Þingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. Today Þingvellir is a protected national shrine. According to the law, passed in 1928, the protected area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the preservation of the Alþing.Source
Next stop was Geysir, a huge geiser in the southwest of Iceland and a major tourist attraction. The geiser doesn’t erupt very often and also didn’t when we were there. Another geiser (Strokkur), however erupted about every ten minutes, so that’s where the photos below are from. Despite the bus loads of tourists, it was a beautiful sight and the landscape around the geisers was otherworldly beautiful. And you’ll get used to the sulphury smell…well, sort of.
Gullfoss was the last stop of the day. This ‘ golden waterfall’ was surely a pretty sight and the biggest waterfall I’ve seen in my life! Many people were ‘in line’ to view this beast of a waterfall up close. Raincoat recommended, because when you get close, you get wet! It’s also worth going up a bit where you can see the waterfall from another angle/’the back’ (added plus: less people).
Our stop for the night was Hotel Hvölsvollur, a small town in the southwest of Iceland. Nice to rest up, so we could continue the adventures the next day!