The Golden Circle - Þingvellir - Geysir - Gullfoss - Iceland

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Form Reykjavík we drive around the 'Golden Circle'. For many tourists this is the piece of Iceland seen as a 'must'.


Þingvellir (Thingvellir)

First we visit Þingvellir. In the morning there are few visitors present and the touringcars haven't arrived yet. A prefect opportunity for a quiet walk through this historic part of Iceland.
Þingvellir is on the plate boundary of the tectonic plates of America and Europe. Þingvellir was created by the drifting apart of these plates. Around 900 this place was used by the descendants of Reykjavík's founder as Alþing. A yearly convention of landowners, farmers and officials. Because of the walls through reflection of the sound a large crowd could be reached.
During these assemblies decisions we made about Iceland, marriage ceremonies held, traded and sentences executed. Around 1000 A.D. the country religion was chosen and in 1217 parliament elected. Þingvellir was one of the first democracies of Europe. In 1798 it was decided to move parliament to Reykjavík, this meant the end of the yearly assemblies at Þingvellir. Still Þingvellir has great historical value of the Icelandic people. During great historical events a lot of Icelandic people come to Þingvellir.


The Gullfoss waterfall is easily reachable by car and is one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Iceland. The Gullfoss lies in the river Hvítá and falls 32 meters in two steps. The underground of this waterfall is basalt and less hard rock. After a short walk yo can walk all the way to the waterfall. Depending on what parking area you park you car, you walk down some stairs. On a trail you walk to the rocks close to the waterfall. From here you have a great view of the Hvítá and Gullfoss.
The meaning of Gullfoss is golden waterfall and it certainly lives up to it's name!


Geysir lies in the Haukadalur valley close to Gullfoss.
This valley is an active geothermal area.
The geyser works as follows. The water in the whole slowly flows down and is heated by the magma chamber below the earth's surface. The water at the bottom becomes superheated, keeping it liquid at temperatures well above the boiling point. The 'colder' water above causes a pressure increase. Eventually the temperature becomes so high, that despite the pressure, the water starts boiling. The created gas bubbles are a sign that an eruption is coming. The water shoots out of the hole and cools again to below boiling point. After this the cycle starts again.
Although the Great Geysir is no longer active, the Strokkur geyser still is. Every 5-8 minutes there is an eruption which can be more than 20 meters high. There are a lot more warm water wells in the area. Many of these wells have a clear blue color because of the silicates in the water.

Tip: If you have your own car, visit the Golden Circle in the morning or evening.

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