Iceland Day 1: Blue Lagoon and Golden Circle (Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, Gullfoss)

June 19, 2019


After a full day of traveling and no sleep, we headed straight to the Blue Lagoon right after we got off the plane! Conveniently located just 20 minutes from Keflavík Airport, Blue Lagoon is the infamous geothermal spa with milky blue water (due to its high silica content). The water is also rich in salts and algae and its temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37-39 °C. We grabbed a couple of smoothies, relaxed, and recharged at the lagoon before heading out to spend the rest of the day exploring Golden Circle.


Golden Circle is a popular route just an hour outside of Reykjavík. One can easily do the entire loop in one day (which is what we did). The three primary stops on the route are Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss, and a geothermal area in Haukadalur where Geysir and Strokkur are located. Though Geysir has been mostly dormant for many years, Strokkur continues to erupt every 5-10 minutes.


Let's start with Thingvellir, shall we? It became a national park as a result of legislation passed in 1928 to protect the remains of the parliament site, thus creating the first national park in Iceland. The park was decreed "a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged." Thingvellir is situated on the northern shore of Thingvallavatn which is the largest natural lake of Iceland. The river Öxará traverses the national park and forms a waterfall at the Almannagjá, called Öxarárfoss. On the lake's northern shore lies Silfra which is the world's most desirable diving and snorkeling spot! Not only does it have the world's clearest water, it is the only place on earth where you can swim between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plate! We went back to Silfra on our last day and snorkeled! You can read all about that here.


From Thingvellir, we continued on the route and reached Geysir and watched Strokkur erupt a few times! Water there was so hot that there were signs everywhere telling you not to touch them or else you'd get burnt! Last but not least, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset (and rainbow) over at the massive Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall). It was so so so beautiful. We drove back to Reykjavík, had dinner at Fiskfélagið (Fish Company), and spent the night at Radisson Blu Saga Hotel (blog post here). We couldn't believe that it was only Day 1 and we had already seen so many amazing things!


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