Day two, we’re starting from Selfoss
A full day ahead of us, 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.
Kerið volcanic crater
Now a confession, as we started 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.
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.
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.
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.
Haukadalur – Home of the Geysers
Still meandering along the 35 which is part of the Golden Circle, we arrive at Haukadalur and guess what it’s free of charge!!
Not only does Haukadalur have fascinating gurgling geothermal mud pools, but it is also home to Iceland’s famous Geysers.
“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.
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.
Off to Gullfoss
Hopping back in the car we head a further 10km north still on the 35 and arrive at Gullfoss, the famous waterfall.
This is truly spectacular and once again free of charge.
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.
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.
We climb back up and wander to the far end of the waterfall to fully appreciate the aerial view; it is magnificent.
Þingvellir National Park
In 2007, we also visited Þingvellir National Park on the Golden Circle, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
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.
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.
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.
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 the road 32, which wasn’t on our list.
Only one other car was there, but it felt like you had discovered it for yourself, it was so peaceful.
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.
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.
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.
You can only access the building from June through August. However, you can wander around free of charge any other time of the year.
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.
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.
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.
Inspired to visit the Golden Circle?
Reykjavik is the ideal base for a mini-break but if you are taking in the Ring Road then consider Selfoss.
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