Gullfoss: The Peak of our Golden Circle Adventure #gullfoss #goldencircle #iceland

After leaving Geysir , we followed the road up a short distance to our next stop: Gullfoss. To say this wonder took our breath away would be an understatement.

The magnificent “Golden Falls” was filled with mist wraiths during our visit, which enhanced its awesome feel, but there were no golden hues from the sun that day.

Gullfoss, like all the major attractions along the Golden Circle route, is a magnet for tourists. There is ample parking nearby the two (upper and lower) viewing areas. We parked in the lower lot and began our misty walk along the trail beside the Hvítá River.

Tourists crowd around the viewing areas overlooking the falls

You hear the falls, and feel their thundering power of the water as it rushes through the river, before you are greeted with their full splendor. The trail is constantly sprayed by the force of the falls, and it is advisable to dress in waterproof clothing and shoes, unless you enjoy getting a good soaking.

Not all parts of the trail are close to the water, but you will still get wet.

Gullfoss was our first encounter with one of Iceland’s waterfalls, and it could not have been more awe-inspiring. Turning the corner and seeing the descent of the falls, I had to pause to catch my breath, not from exertion, but from the sense of wonder that overcame me as I took in magnificence of Gullfoss.

Gullfoss does not require a long visit, but it was one of those places that is hard to leave. One cannot help but contemplate the awesome forces of Nature while there. Neither words nor photographs do justice to Gullfoss, you simply have to experience it for yourself. Take a pause, more than a brief one, if you go, and soak it in.

Thankfully, like many of the natural wonders in Iceland, the government is leaving Gullfoss untouched in its natural state. This is, in part, due an environmentalist who helped prevent a hydroelectric dam from being installed at the falls, and who is depicted on a stone nearby.

Sigríður Tómasdóttir

It was with some reluctance that I made my way back to our car and prepared to set out for our next adventure along the Golden Circle route. Gullfoss, fittingly, is at the apex of the circle, and now we were heading down Rt 35 as we made our way back towards Reyjkjavik. We still had two stops to visit, though. And they, like the ones that preceded them, did not disappoint.

Next up, a volcanic crater with the bluest water imaginable…

Our Golden Circle Journey Part 2: Geysir Geothermal Field #geysir #iceland #goldencircle #travel

After leaving Pingvellir, we made our way to the Geysir Geothermal Field. The area is impossible to miss. As you crest a hill heading north into Geysir, traffic slows down to accommodate the crossing tourists heading from the visitor’s center/cafe and the parking lots into the attraction area. Streams of water bubble out of the ground and pour into the sidewalks. I was surprised to see young children playing in the cooling waters with their unconcerned parents meandering nearby.

On Route to Geysir

There are many signs and ropes to alert visitors of the dangers of getting too near this geothermal hotspot, and plenty of stories can be found about the less-than-careful getting severely burned, and worse. Do take care and respect the boundaries that are marked when you visit geothermal fields. They are volatile places where the Earth clearly wields the wand of power.

The Start of the Geothermal Field Near the Parking Lot

There are several places that send out clouds of steam at Geysir, but only one active geyser big enough to gather the crowd with cameras poised at the ready around its vast circumference. Its name is Strokkur, and it releases a gush of steam every 10 minutes, sending its cloud a good 50 feet into the air.

Zoom out if you want to catch a video of Strokkur standing around its roped perimeter, otherwise you will not capture the full breath of its size.

Along route to Strokkur, you pass Little Geysir and some smaller steamy hot spots. The water here trickles over the paths and it is not a place for sandals, but sturdy shoes.

Like all of the natural attractions we stopped at in Iceland, Geysir offers much more than its main attraction. The area is filled with paths that lead around the geothermal field and up into the surrounding hills. It’s well worth the time spent to explore and get a little hike in. The views are stunning from the hill that climbs above the area, and it’s a great spot to watch Strokkur erupt away from the hovering crowds.

We probably spent an hour exploring the geothermal field and climbing the hill behind it. As you can see, the views are stunning.

If you find yourself hungry, as we did after the climb, there are a couple of options for dining. Both are across the road nearby the parking lot. The Geysir restaurant is connect to a hotel, and although it looked like a lovely option, we chose to purchase soup at the cafe adjoining the gift shop. We both had the wild mushroom, which come with bread and butter. It hit the spot, and after a stop at the restrooms and a perusal of the shop, we were ready to head out towards our next adventure.

Next stop, Gullfoss…