During our four day trip to Iceland we visited the famous golden circle. This is the most popular excursion in Iceland and what can be done in one day from Reykjavik. The route includes the visit of three points located at a relatively short distance: Thingvellir, Geyser and Gullfoss. In addition, we add to the route the Secret lagoon, where we finished the day with a little relaxation. Are you with us
Although the night was short, at eight in the morning we were already on the move. The weather forecast was good, so after leaving things in the apartment on the outskirts of Reykjavik, we started the route to visit the golden circle. The best way to visit the golden circle is with a rented car or hiring a day trip in Reykjavik.
From Kopavogur to Thingvellir by car it takes about an hour. Although a heavy snow had fallen the day before, the road was clear of ice. Even so, the entire landscape was snowy and formed a very beautiful winter postcard.
We arrive at Thingvellir and leave the car in the parking lot. In that area there were services and a visitor area with a shop, a small exhibition and a couple of coffee machines and soft drinks. There is also a place to stop to eat.
Thingvellir is important for two reasons: for being the meeting point of the tectonic plates of North America and Europe and for hosting the first democratic parliament in Europe, founded by the Vikings in 930.
The Thingvellir area is an exceptional and beautiful natural site. Here we can walk several well marked trails and easily accessible in which to see waterfalls and rivers. The orography of the place is marked by the fissure of the tectonic plates of North America and Europe, a fissure that every year is enlarged between 1 and 18 millimeters. The Öxará river crosses the place and one of the most beautiful points is the Öxarafoss waterfall, located at the north end of the national park. If we continue along the path this will take us to another famous place, the Peningagja, a crack flooded with water where visitors throw coins. If you have the opportunity, in Thingvellir it is also very popular to dive among the tectonic plates. The visit will end by visiting Thingvallakirkja, one of the first churches that rose in Iceland.
Alphingi, the first European parliament
The Alphingi is the parliament or assembly that the first inhabitants of Iceland founded in 930. Representatives of all the clans of the island met here every summer to agree laws, settle lawsuits and talk among themselves or trade. He remained active until 1262 and then acted only as courts. The issues to be discussed were exposed to the crowd from the top of the cracks of the fissure, which served as a natural platform.
In these assemblies key decisions were made in the history of Iceland. For example: when in the year 1000 the assembly raised what to do with the first rifirrafes between the new Christian religion and the worshipers of the old gods, the decision was made to the man of laws, the person in charge of remembering all the laws in force on the island. To do this, this man closed in his cabin for a whole day. When he left, he announced his decision: the Christian religion would be Iceland's official thereafter, but pagans could continue to worship their gods without interference. Many centuries later, this was also the place chosen to found the modern Republic of Iceland in 1944. Since 1930 Thingvellir was a national park and UNESCO declared it a world heritage site in 2004.
After Thingvellir we follow the route with the car to the next stop of the day: Geyser geothermal zone. It took us an hour or so to get there and when we arrived we were surprised that the visitor area was much larger and equipped than Thingvellir. There were a couple of restaurants, a gas station and a hotel. As it was time to eat, we decided to do it in the Kantina restaurant I had type food self service. This was one of the most expensive places for the value of the entire trip, but it is one of the most tourist areas and where there is no other catering offer. We had a mushroom cream that felt great and a fish & chips. With the renewed forces we went to visit the famous geothermal area.
To visit the famous Haukadalur geothermal zone you just have to cross the road from the visitor center. In fact it is a natural area that has been fenced to close access at night. Upon entering we find a sign that tells us that the area is maintained thanks to donations from visitors and the work of volunteers, since there is no fee to pay (for now!). This area consists of various geysers, which expel water or vaporous smoke to the surface. The place is famous for the geyser that gives its name to this natural phenomenon, which was once one of the most active and launched water jets up to 80 meters high.
Currently this geyser is in a less active period and no longer expels water, but right next to it Geyser Strokker He has taken over and spits strong jets of hot water every few minutes. Around this geyser there were many people accumulated waiting to see the water come out. It was blowing a very strong icy wind and the water that expels the geyser is over a hundred degrees of temperature, so you have to watch where one is placed so that the wind does not throw the water on you and burn you.