The ‘Golden Circle’ is one the most popular places to travel in Iceland. Why it’s called a circle I don’t know as it’s more of a straight line but anyway, it’s basically three different sites: The Þingvellir National Park, The Geyser and Gullfoss Waterfall. The whole triangle can be done within 4 hours or so and it’s relatively close to Reykjavik where most people are based on their trip.
Þingvellir National Park
We got to this park and realised parking wasn’t free. So considering we’re so tight we sat in the car for 5 minutes debating whether to cough up £3. The big spender in us must have shone through today as we ended up reluctantly paying and before long we were heading over the join the big crowd of tourists looking down over Þingvellir.
Þingvellir is a famous beauty spot in Iceland, it is within a rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. It was actually Iceland’s first place to gain national park status.
Apparently this geyser erupts every 30 – 60 minutes. As we neared we could see in the distance it was erupting and thought great, we’re going to have a very long cold wait for the next one. We must have got lucky though as within about 10 minutes it started growling and bubbling and then immediately shot a burst of steamy water 50 meters in to the air. It was over in a few seconds but Nick somehow managed to get a snap.
Lastly, we visited Gulfoss waterfall. To be honest I’m always a little underwhelmed with waterfalls as I’ve been completely spoilt by Niagara and countless falls in Asia. But, I have to say this one was actually very impressive and unique. It was huge, not in height but in width, and looked very aggressive and absolutely freezing. It’s apparently the largest waterfall in Europe in terms of water volume, in summer a massive 140 cubic feet of water flow through it every second! It was really picturesque how colourful rainbows kept forming in the mist and we would have stuck around longer admiring it if our body parts weren’t slowly going numb.
In Iceland it’s a known fact that over half of their population believe in elves. If you have a quick Google for elf houses in Iceland you’ll see some cute tiny houses formed out of rock that are apparently common throughout Iceland. The Icelandic people even go as far as cleaning these little man made elf houses every Christmas ready for the elves who apparently live under the moss within the mountains!
Our visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing one of these mini rock houses so on the way home we took a route where apparently they could be found. I was driving and Nick was on elf house watch, after about 10 minutes he shouted ‘there, I can see some!’ so we parked up and both excitedly walked through some bushes and start hiking up a hill. As we got closer the excitement turned to disappointment as we found they were merely rocks with small plastic house shaped cut outs plunged into the ground in front. Our hunt will have to go on to find the ones on Google!