We arrived totally shagged at around 640am at Keflavik Airport but the thought of exploring the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle quickly brought our energy levels up!
- Blue Lagoon
- Þingvellir National Park
STOP #1: BLUE LAGOON - overly commercial & touristy? I'll let you decide ;)
- Definitely pre-book your tickets as spots fill up fast!
- If you're an iPhone user, bring a plastic cover (waterproof casing) so you can get some amaze shots of the lagoon!
As Whistler is to Vancouver, so the Blue Lagoon is to Iceland. As commercial and touristy as it is (it's not actually a natural geothermal spa), I highly recommend that tourists should just suspend their disbelief & delight in the wonderful ultimate Blue Lagoon experience. It is basically as it looks - a steaming lagoon full of silica deposits. We soaked away our jetlag in the surreal waters and silica mud. The warm waters averaging 37 to 39 °C are reputed to treat people suffering from skin diseases like psoriasis.
In a magnificent black lava field, the chalky milky teal spa (cauldron-like) is fed water from the Svartsengi geothermal plant, with its silver towers, rolling clouds of steam, and tourists daubed in silica mud. Water is hottest near the vents where it emerges and the surface is several degrees warmer than the bottom.
Lean back and let the magic of the blue lagoon soak away your doubts. Recommended time is around 3-4 hours.
There is even a swim-up bar which you can order drinks at using your very handy automated wristband. There is also a stand doling out silica mud to slather all over your face, making for that unforgettable tourist shot ;)
STOP #2: ÞINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK - where you walk between 2 continents!
Located 40km Northeast of central Reykjavik and first stop on the Golden Circle, Þingvellir National Park is a site of historical, cultural and geological significance. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland, which lies in an immense and fissured rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and boundary between the North American & Eurasian tectonic plates.
Designated as a World Heritage site in 2004, it is a place of vivid beauty and a superb natural setting. It is a place where Iceland's geological processes occur right in front of you. Many come for the opportunities regarding snorkelling and diving, the most famous being diving in the silfra fissure.
Another point of interest that engages guests is its use as a shooting location in HBO's Game of Throne series for fans ;)
STOP #3: GULLFOSS - Fall for the Golden Falls ~whoosh~
One of Iceland's most iconic waterfalls, Gulfoss is a spectacular double cascade, found on the Hvítá river canyon in south Iceland. The water in Hvítá River flows from the glacier Langjökull, dramatically cascading 32m down Gulfoss' 2 stages in a display of nature's raw power. The water plunges down 32m in 2 stages into a rugged canyon which walls measure around 70m in height.
STOP #4: GEYSIR - hot water hisses from various geothermal areas!
Active for perhaps 800 years, this undulating and hissing geothermal area contains the amazing Geysir. These geysers are the most obvious demonstration of the island's natural geothermal energy, a bubbling pool of hot water in clay-like earth that erupts into a mountain of steam. It once gushed up to 80m into the air, but earthquakes have since modified pressures inside and today, its impact has lessened. Geysir is the original hot water spout after which all other geysers are named.
You will generally find huge groups of tourists surrounding the Strokkur Geyser, which reliably shoots a wondrous and powerful jet up to 30m every 5-10 minutes or so, before disappearing down its gigantic hole.