Saturday, February 23, 2013

Iceland - Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is the probably the most popular and commonly-recognized tourist attraction in Iceland. Only a short drive from Reykjavik, the entire thing can be seen in a day. The high points are Geysir (an area of geothermal activity), Gullfoss (known as "Golden Waterfall"), and ├×ingvellir Park. It would be a mistake, however, to not pay attention to the remarkable landscape between them.

Here are some of our photos of Iceland's Golden Circle in wintertime.

First stop is Geysir, an area with lots of geothermal activity. There are geysers, hot springs, and rock formations. Geysir itself doesn't erupt very often, and is unpredictable, however there is a large geyser next to it called Strokkur that goes off every few minutes. These photos are of Strokkur erupting.

After that is Gullfoss, also know as the "Golden Waterfall". It is enormous and incredibly scenic. It's known for its unusual shape and grand size. The water begins to fall off to the left and then falls dramatically to the right into a massive gorge. It can be viewed from many different angles and is easy to get around. In the winter, however, the walk to the edge of the falls is iced over and almost impossible to walk on. The white edge seen here is not snow. It is frozen grass from the constant spray of mist.

This is a view from the top of the falls, watching the water pour down into the gorge. We are standing on a rock platform that is completely iced over.

Even in the ice, we're going to stop and take a few pictures.

The final stop is ├×ingvellir National Park. It's hard to put my finger on what, exactly, there is to see, because it's not one particular site. The park itself, however, is an area of incredible beauty and interest. It is absolutely unlike any other place on Earth.