Reykjavik Excursions Blog
  • Gullfoss, gullni hringurinn, golden circle, waterfall, summer, iceland, water, nature

The Golden Circle

Þingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss

2/6/2017 Blog

The Golden Circle is known to every Icelander. It includes three of the most beautiful and popular sites for Icelanders and tourists alike to visit. Included in the Golden Circle is Þingvellir National Park, the founding site of the oldest parliament in the world, is one of only two Icelandic UNESCO sites (the other one is Surtsey). Additionally, Geysir geothermal area, from which all other geysers got their name, and Gullfoss waterfall, a magnificent three-step waterfall are included in the Golden Circle.

RE04_004Gullfoss waterfall.

Alþingi, Iceland‘s parliament, was founded in Þingvellir in the year 930. It met once a year in the summer and parliamentarians, called lögsögumennt (law speakers), were the equivalent of MPs today. The lögsögumenn had to remember all the laws and recite them to others who attended Alþingi.

Iceland-1601403Þingvellir National Park.

Geysir geothermal area is a filled with hot springs and is located in South Iceland, near Laugarvatn Lake. The biggest geyser in the area, called Geysir, gave the area its name. It used to erupt quite regularly, but frequent earthquakes in the area had enough effect on it that by the end of the 20th century it had nearly stopped erupting. At that time, it was common to force it to erupt by pouring liquid soap into it. This practice has since been forbidden. However, in the year 2000, two earthquakes (6,5 and 6,6 on the Richter scale) shook something loose, and it suddenly started erupting again. However, by the year 2003, it had dwindled again. That doesn't mean you won't see any geysers erupting. The geyser Strokkur erupts every 5-8 minutes and shoots up a column of water up to 30 metres in the air.

RE04_007The geyser Strokkur erupting.

Gullfoss waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and quite spectacular. This three-step waterfall falls gradually into the 62-metre deep canyon. For the first half of the 20th century, the Icelandic government had ideas about harnessing the power of the waterfall to generate electricity. Thankfully the daughter of the landowner saw the waterfall for the gem that it was and is and threatened to commit suicide by jumping into the waterfall if the government did not promise to save it.

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