Iceland Trips.

December 10, 2016

The Golden Circle Tour.


Kerið Crater Lake.

Our first big stop on the Golden Circle was Kerid Crater Lake. We pulled into the parking lot as the sun was beginning to shine on this red volcanic crater covered in green vegetation. Once a typical cone-shaped volcano, the top has since collapsed into an empty magma chamber.
The bottom is filled with a deep blue shade of water that sets off the red & green colors on the crater itself. Hiking down to the bottom of the crater only takes 5 minutes.
Not as well known as the other attractions featured here, Kerid Crater is definitely worth a quick stop if you have the time. Within 20 mins sun was replaced by thick snow.

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Geogreenhouse.

We made a stop off at one of Iceland's Geogreenhouses. It was interesting to see how Iceland produces crops with freezing temperatures and little sunlight. They were growing tomatoes within this particular greenhouse . Special UV lighting fresh water supply and controlled temperature and the tomatoes were thriving. There is a café and toilet facilities here . I can recommend trying the tomato soup it was to die for.


Gullfoss Waterfall.

The mighty Hvítá river abruptly disappears into a ravine at a spectacular waterfall called Gullfoss, the next major highlight on Iceland’s Golden Circle. This wide & fast moving river turns a corner and falls 100 feet into a crevice in the earth, producing thick mist & frequent rainbows.

After descending a long staircase from the parking lot, a concrete pathway allows visitors to walk along the edge and look down into the roaring cascade of water. The area around the falls gets pretty windy, so a waterproof jacket (and maybe even pants) is recommended if you plan to get close, the added snowfall made things pretty cold. The dramatic scenery at Gullfoss makes it one of Iceland’s most popular attractions.

Gullfoss waterfall is located off the main road, so you have to backtrack a bit to continue on the Golden Circle route. There is a road that continues past, but it’s one of Iceland's notorious F-roads that requires four-wheel drive.


Geysers At Haukadalur.

Next stop on our Golden Circle road trip was Haukadalur, a geothermal area about 60km away from Þingvellir National Park. There are two famous geysers here called Geysir and Strokkur. In fact, the general term “geyser” was named after this particular one in Iceland.

The Earth churns up boiling hot water that smells like rotten eggs, with steam rising from vents in the earth next to mud pools, fumaroles, and mineral deposits.

The original Geysir no longer erupts after an earthquake shut it down, but a second one called Strokkur constantly explodes with scalding water shooting 100 feet into the air every 10 minutes or so. Haukadalur has a gift shop & restaurant where you can warm up with hot drinks.


The Blue Lagoon Tour.


The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwestern Iceland. Bláa lónið is the real name is situated approximately 20 km  from the Keflavík International Airport and 39 km from the capital city of Reykjavík, roughly a 21-minute drive from the airport and a 50-minute drive from Reykjavík.

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it as the thought of chucking on the budgie smugglers in minus ten temperature wasn’t appealing. Also, they were bussing in people by the truckload. However, it is a must when you visit Iceland. You get a two-hour slot whereby you are given a pack including flipflops bath robe etc, you can pay extra to upgrade your pack with different skin creams and the like. The lockers I found very confusing but after solving that problem I was off to meet the other half at the entrance. As you walk to the lagoon you find clothes hooks for you bath robe the ten seconds between de-robing and entering the pool certainly woke me up. The different geotherms around the pool make some places warmer  than others. At one end is a bar where you can purchase up to a maximum of two drinks each. Sitting there in the beautiful warm lagoon whilst supping a cold ale was one of the highlights of our trip. At the other end is another small bar but the girls here were handing out face exfoliate made from clay which you are supposed to leave on for 20 mins before washing off and collecting moisturizing cream from the same place. 2 hours fly’s by and by the time you have changed the hunger kicks in which conveniently good timing with there been 2 restaurants located on site, one is fast food  but we opted for the a la carte menu. Food fantastic but expect to pay the top end price. Buses depart regularly at 20 min intervals back to Reykjavik station.
The Northern Lights Tour.

This is an evening tour to try and track the Aurora Borealis. Our first night was cancelled due to cloud cover, in fact, the first 3 nights was cancelled due to heaving cloud and snow finally on the fourth night we finally went. After half hour drive out of Reykjavik, the bus stopped and we had glimpses. The bus takes you to a few different stops by the third we had some great views . The trip is about 2 and half hours  take some patience with you but when you do see the Aurora it is breathtaking. Unfortunately, non of my photos turned out decent enough to do it justice.