Day three of our road trip to Iceland was the day of the waterfalls. We started in the north of Þingvellir national park and continued on the so called Golden Circle. It refers to the area east of Reykjavík, where many attractions of Iceland’s nature can be found. During the day we stopped at three impressive waterfalls and one geothermally active area. However, the highlight of the day already happened very early in the morning.
Iceland is located shortly under the arctic circle and thus a perfect place to observe northern lights. And in fact already in our first night out in the nature we could witness the sky turning green and purple.
Impressed by the natural display we stood outside of our cabin and watched the sky for hours. Clouds came up and disappeared again making the spectacle even more interesting. Early in the morning we returned to our beds to be prepared for the day of the Golden Circle.
The first stop led us to Strokkur Geysir. Geysers as they are called in English are hot springs that, powered by geothermal heat, regularly erupt and release the collected power in a water fountain. The eponym for all geysers is located on Iceland and called Great Geysir. Since it is inactive nowadays, we visited Strokkur Geysir instead, a geyser that erupts every five to ten minutes with a 30 m high fountain.
Apart from geysers, Iceland is known for its rough landscape and especially its waterfalls, which are called foss in Icelandic. Especially in the Golden Circle there are many of them. We stopped by three different waterfalls, that were all special and unique in their way.
The first one was Gullfoss, the Golden Falls. Even though we could not find out, what was particularly golden about it, we were impressed by the amount of water that flows through the waterfall. Every second, around 130 m³ fall down the two stages of 11 m and 21 m height.
In the early 20th century, foreign companies repeatedly tried to build a power plant on top of Gulfoss. It needed the courageous woman Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who lived close to the waterfall and loved it so much, that she was on the verge of committing suicide, that in the late 70ies the ownership fell back to the Icelandic state and Gullfoss was declared as a natural reserve.
Even more impressive was Sejalandsfoss, a 66 m high waterfall at the southern coast of Iceland. Its special architecture makes it possible for visitors to walk behind the falling water. It is located close to the famous volcano Eyjafjallajökull, that in 2010 caused a major shutdown of all European air traffic.
As a last stop of the day, we visited the third waterfall Skógafoss, which is a bit smaller than Sejalandsfoss, but simply beautiful. We used the top of the waterfall, which is accessible via stairs, as a start for another hiking trip to the countryside.
The Story Continues
We were now located at the southern side of Iceland and ready to start a road trip along its coast, eventually leading to our turning point at the glacier lagoon. Three days left.