by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:10th April 2018

Day two, we’re starting from Selfoss

A full day ahead of us on our Icelandic road trip adventure, and we’re on the road by 8:30 after a quick stop in the local bakers to grab some lunch for later.

As mentioned in our Day One post, we visited Iceland back in 2007, and from Reykjavik, we jumped in our hire car and toured the Golden Circle for a day.

I understand that perhaps if you have done it once, you think why do it again, surely a Geysir and a waterfall can’t change that much. However, we were on the cusp of Winter, and it is incredible how the landscape evolves with the changing seasons.

(You can pick-up any part of our Iceland Road Trip at the bottom of this post, along with a map of our route and the 'Highlight of the Day' for each of us.)

The pin image for our post - 'Iceland’s Golden Circle and a little bit more'
Why not Pin it for later?
For our accommodation in Selfoss we chose to stay at the Bella apartments & rooms, which was very comfy, had plenty of parking and included breakfast.
Steam rising from the earth on the Golden Circle in Iceland
Iceland's unique landscape

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Discovering the Golden Circle

Kerið volcanic crater
Now a confession, as we started today's road trip from Selfoss, and our first port of call along route 35, should have been Kerið volcanic crater, but with the driving rain, we knew our photo from our previous trip was better, so we have sneaked in one of those.
Looking down from the rim of the Kerið volcanic crater to the crystal blue lake formed within it.
Kerið volcanic crater
The 3,000-year-old Kerið volcanic crater is an incredible sight and not something you will see every day; it is reasonably easy to get to, in comparison to one we climbed later in the trip. So, jump out and go take a look.

If you're tempted to tour the Land of Fire and Ice and would love to discover the whole country, then take a look at this  DK Eyewitness book. This Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide is invaluable, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.

You can now grab the revised copy.

Iceland's Waterfalls

Faxi; the first of many
Next stop along the 35 was to Faxi Waterfall, and on our arrival, we were the only ones there. Standing 80 metres wide and seven metres high. Not quite on the scale of its big sister Gullfoss up the road, but undoubtedly picturesque in its own right.
The blurred white water flowing over the Faxi waterfall against a thawed bleak backdrop in Iceland
The Faxi waterfall
From the car park overlooking the waterfall there is a viewing platform, but additionally, you can head to the bottom of Faxi for another perspective.
Janis, wrapped up warmly, in front of the Faxi waterfall
Janis at the Faxi waterfall

Our Advice

It’s your adventure, include whatever takes your fancy. Stop as often as you like, but obviously use a layby or a car park. Don’t just stop on the side of the road, be considerate and be aware of your surroundings.

The roads around the Golden Circle are easy to drive, so, a 2-wheel drive vehicle is suitable for most conditions, unless in the depths of winter and a 4X4 would be more appropriate.

Not to miss in Iceland

Haukadalur – Home of the Geysers
A hot spring pool at the Haukadalur geothermal area in Iceland's Golden Circle
A hot pool at Haukadalur
Still meandering along the 35 which is part of the Golden Circle, we arrive at Haukadalur and guess what it’s free of charge!!
The Konungshver hot spring at the Haukadalur geothermal area in Iceland's Golden Circle
Konungshver at Haukadalur on the Golden Circle
Not only does Haukadalur have fascinating gurgling geothermal mud pools, but it is also home to Iceland’s famous Geysers.
Ripple across two deep crystal clear pools of heater water in the Haukadalur geothermal area of Iceland's Golden Circle
Blesi, part of the Haukadalur geothermal area

“Geysir” itself hasn’t erupted for a long while, and everyone’s anticipation is focused on Strokkur, which continually erupts every 5 to 10 minutes.

It’s an incredible sight to watch and only gives milliseconds warning of when it is going to erupt. So, you need to be poised with your camera.

Water boiling up at the centre of the Strokkur geyser forms a blue bubble over the narrow hole in the earth's surface.
The start of Strokkur's eruption
A spout of supper heated water erupting from the centre of the Strokkur geyser.
Strokkur errupting
The end of the eruption of the Strokkur geyser with the water collapsing back on itself.
Strokkur - all over in a moment
As it rests ready for the next explosion it bubbles away sucking in and out, and to everyone’s delight spouts high into the air, reaching up to around 20 metres.

Where to stay in Selfoss

In Selfoss we chose to stay at the Bella apartments & rooms.

We had a few essential requirements from each of our overnight stays in Iceland, which were:

Breakfast included or available nearby.
Scooby snacks along the way can be expensive.
Parking is a requirement, as this is a road trip after all.
Nearby cafés/eateries, or onsite restaurant for the evening.
Preferably a close-by fuel station; they can be few and far between en route.

More of the Iceland's Golden Circle

Off to Gullfoss

Hopping back in the car and continuing our Iceland road trip, we head a further 10km north still on route 35 and we arrive at Gullfoss, Iceland's famous waterfall.

Gullfoss is truly breath-taking and an incredible site to see, once again like many of Iceland's natural wonders it is free of charge to visit.

The stunning Gullfoss waterfall captured in mid-March with ice still remaining around the edges. A must-see on Iceland's Golden Circle.
Gullfoss with Ice and snow
We head down to the lower level of Gullfoss and the wind had whipped up to whole new level, standing upright was a challenge let alone taking a video.
A close-up of the foaming blue waters falling into the ice-covered ravine of the Gullfoss waterfall on Iceland's golden circle
Gullfoss - the top of the falls
Even though Gullfoss is partially covered in ice and snow, nothing will stop the power that it creates and just torrents over the edge of the canyon onto the Hvítá River below.
A view of the blue waters falling into the gorge that forms the Gullfoss waterfall
Gullfoss looking down the ravine
We climb back up and wander to the far end of the waterfall to fully appreciate the aerial view; it is magnificent.

A few good ideas for your Icelandic trip

Here are a few things we picked up ahead of our trip to make things a little smoother for us.  Simple stuff that may be helpful on your travels.  All from Amazon.
A good old paper map
A USB car charger
A USB rechargable tourch
A USB power bank
A water bottle

    The historic heart of Iceland

    Þingvellir National Park
    In 2007, we also visited Þingvellir National Park on the Golden Circle, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
    þingvellir National Park Valhallarvegur with the Thingvellir Church in the distance, Iceland
    þingvellir National Park
    The area is associated with the National Parliament of Iceland which was established on this site in 930 AD. Sessions were still held until 1798.

    Finding the right car for your Icelandic Road Trip

    Discover Iceland’s enchanting Ring Road with its rugged landscape or the waterfalls and geysers around the Golden Circle for yourself.

    If you want to explore Iceland's F-Roads, you must have a 4x4, but we'd recommend one anyway for the improved driving position, and if the weather turns, you have a touch of added protection.

    We recommend Rental Cars as they search multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

    Your own Icelandic adventure

    Our own detour
    Our day out didn’t end here; we were on the hunt for more rugged scenery and waterfalls. So, a slight double back on ourselves then we headed along the 30.
    A clear blue river flowing through a rocky valley at Brúarhlöð in Iceland
    We discovered Brúarhlöð on our route, Touring Iceland
    After a short drive, we came across a lovely area named Brúarhlöð, which had stunning blue water winding its way through rocks, that almost look like lava. This was indeed worth a stop.

    Exploring Iceland

    There’s more

    Not content with Gullfoss, and Faxi waterfalls we are on the hunt for two others.

    However, before that, we found one called Hjálparfoss, nestled within lava fields along road 32, which wasn’t on our list.

    A small group in front of the twin frozen falls of Hjálparfoss surrounded by a basalt rock formations
    The full scale of Hjálparfoss
    Only one other car was there, but it felt like you had discovered it for yourself, it was so peaceful.
    A close up of the twin frozen falls of Hjálparfoss in Iceland
    Hjálparfoss up close
    It just so happened that when we reached the area of the original two waterfalls, (Gjáin and Haifoss), which we were searching for, the roads were actually impassable. So, we couldn’t get to them anyway.

    Planning your trip to Iceland

    So you're planning a trip to the Land of Fire and Ice? There is so much to see and do in Iceland that you'll wish you were staying longer. To ensure you make the most out of your visit, head over to the official website of Visit Iceland for a little help and guidance.

    Have fun!

    Cultural Iceland

    The day is not over yet
    We continued along the 32 and came across Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng (that’s easy for you to say), which is a Viking-era farmstead.
    The turf-covered village hall at Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng in Iceland
    The main house at Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng
    Now reconstructed as it was believed to have been buried under volcanic ash in 1104 by the volcano Hekla. It is incredible to see how they would have lived, with the roofs entirely covered in turf and grass and with very little light shining in.
    A small Icelandic wooden hut surrounded by a stone wall, all covered with turf as insulation.
    Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng
    You can only access the building from June through August. However, you can wander around free of charge any other time of the year.

    Useful tips for driving in Iceland

    If you are planning a road trip around Iceland particularly over the winter months you need to be very aware of the ever-changing road and weather conditions.  During winter, parts of the Ring Road may be impassable, and you may not get to areas of the country you intended to.

    Regularly check the conditions by using these useful websites and apps, believe me, they will come in handy.

    We have also written a post packed with tips for driving in Iceland based on our research and experience than may be worth checking out.

    Discovering more of Iceland

    One last stop
    Heading back to Selfoss along the 32 we spot a viewing point, we turned off along the gravel road, and not to be deterred, climbed the steep hill to admire the view across the river and the beautiful landscape beyond.
    Looking north from Gaukshöfði, across route 32 and one of Iceland's many rivers
    The view from Gaukshöfði
    Looking from Gaukshöfði, across route 32, to a large tributary in the south west of Iceland
    Looking across route 32

    Free in Iceland

    Gullfoss Waterfall is free of charge to visit, along with the Geysers and the other waterfalls we stopped at.

    Kerið volcanic crater has an entrance fee of ISK 400 (as of January 2023), and Þingvellir National Park is free, although there is a charge for parking.

    Our Iceland Road Trip

    The route
    The round trip that we took on this occasion did not include Þingvellir National Park, so our journey time was cut down a bit. However, we did take a few detours to admire the scenery, so in total, our round trip was about 250km and with stops took us about 8 hours.
    So, all in all, a good day out.

    The end of today's Icelandic adventure

    Mmm dinner time

    As we have a second night in Selfoss, we headed back into town and decided on a less subdued dinner this evening in Kaffi Krús.

    Kaffi Krús had a bustling atmosphere, and although it was a café/restaurant, it specialised in burgers, pizzas and cakes. Gary and I both decided on a burger and tasty they were too.

    Where we stayed in Selfoss

    Our stopover
    For the two nights, we were based in Selfoss, we stayed at the Bella Apartments and Rooms. Very comfortable accommodation, good parking, free Wi-Fi and walking distance to cafes & restaurants. Pleasant little bakers very close by as well.

    Tomorrow's journey takes us to Vik, with more waterfalls en route, through what promises to be the stunning landscape of southern Iceland.  The weather's not forecast to be great, but there's little we can do about that.

    The journey is a modest 80 miles/130km on Iceland's route one, so it won't be too strenuous.

    Highlight of the Day

    Every trip Gary and I go on, whether it’s a mini-break near or far or a road trip we chose a ‘Highlight of the Day’, here they are for day 2.
    Janis; I’m a bit indecisive here between the Geysers & Gullfoss, but I’m going with the Geysers, as it is incredible to watch.
    Gary; Gullfoss all day long, but 'discovering' the new was also brilliant.

    Trips to try in Iceland

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    The Complete Icelandic Journey

    Why not take a look through our entire 12-day Iceland tour? Staring as we left Kevflavik and continued anti-clockwise around Iceland

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