Geyser , Gullfoss, Thingvellir national park, Reykjavik
Your last proper day of travel before leaving Iceland, can be considered somewhat of a culmination. On this day you will get to experience three of Iceland‘s most popular attractions, which together comprise the famous Golden Circle. These consist of Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area in South Iceland.In terms of nature, history and cultural heritage, Thingvellir is one of Iceland‘s most important sites. It is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was site of the old national assembly Althingi, founded in the 10th century, to which Iceland’s present parliament in Reykjavik, still bearing the same name, traces its roots. Thingvellir is a rift valley, where the North Atlantic and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, as evidenced by the impressive Almannagja gorge, where we also recommend shooting the beautiful waterfall Oxararfoss that falls into the gorge. Thingvellir is indeed one of the most photogenic sites in all of Iceland and further recommended sights include the mountain ring surrounding the area and Thingvallavatn, Iceland‘s largest lake, and its islets. Underwater photography has also been popular in the area, as the clear water fissure Silfra opens into the lake, where photographers are literally swimming between continents.
The geothermal area of the spouting hot spring Geysir gives its name to spouting hot springs, or geysers, all over the world. While Geysir itself is hardly eruptive anymore, its powerful neighbour Strokkur certainly is, spouting water to a height of 15-20 meters every 5 minutes. Other notable geysers are Smidur and Litli-Strokkur. Northwards you’ll find of fumaroles (hot springs that emanate steam and gas) and may note bright yellow stains of native sulphur that have chrystalized in the steam. Southwards you’ll find a range of mudpots (fumaroles that boil through the groundwater/surface water). During dry spells these may steam, but otherwise they boil. Not far off is an old natural pool, which can be entered but visitors need to mind that it is delicate. There is also forestry in the area and a tree museum, well worth a visit. Finally, you might want to check out the charming old wooden church. This colourful area offers incredible diversity and a great opportunity for stunning photos.
Last, but not least, the thunderous waterfall Gullfoss is widely considered to be the most beautiful of its kind in all Iceland, and its name indeed translates to “The Golden Waterfall”. It is located in the Hvita glacier river in South Iceland and has a drop of 32 meters into a narrow river gorge. This waterfall is a dream come true for any serious nature photographer. You may even be close enough to feel its spray on your face.After experiencing the “big three” of Icelandic natural attractions, you will again overnight at your hotel in Reykjavik.
Aurora over black sand beach in Vik
Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland