On our final full day in Iceland we drove the famous Golden Circle route. From our stay at Hotel Lambafell on the South Coast we headed off early and made the 2-hour drive to our first stop at Gullfoss Falls. This two-tiered, monster of a waterfall is quite mesmerizing. If it wasn’t for the freezing, burning wind I could have easily stayed to stare at this beast for a good hour. But warm drinks and snacks were calling us in the Visitor Center.
Throughout our trip we had spotted many Icelandic horses alongside the roadside but until now hadn’t had a good (or safe) opportunity to pull over and meet them. Bru’s Farm, located between Gullfoss and Geysir on the Golden Circle, is a great place to pull in and meet these adorable horses. They even have an honesty box filled with horse candy for those with cash handy.
Next we headed to the Geysir Hot Spring Area, which smelt just like my hometown of Rotorua, NZ. This area has bubbling mud pits and the showstopper Strokkur Geyser which sends boiling water high in the air every few minutes. I didn’t even manage to capture the photo of it going off because I could no longer feel my hands. By this stage, we were absolutely frozen and in need of some fuel. After reading up on some blogs in the days prior I went with a recommendation to visit Efstidalur for a late lunch. This hotel and cattle-farm has a restaurant which serves delicious, organic burgers – farm-to-table.
Refueled and back on the road we headed further east to Thingvellir National Park arriving quite late in the afternoon. We had a wander around but unfortunately the paths down to the Silfra were closed and we were again running out of daylight. The photos do really show off the pretty soft pastel pink and blue-hued sky though. I would love to come back here, perhaps in the warmer months, and do some hiking around this area – it was really beautiful.
We decided to utilize the final hour of daylight and made our way to Kerið. This crater lake was a frozen wonderland and another sight that I would return to see again in summer. Arriving so late in the day we skipped having to pay the entrance fee but it also meant that we didn’t get a chance to walk down or around the crater itself – but there’s always next time.
Our final night in Iceland was spent in the small geothermal town of Hveragerði. After a debrief over some Icelandic craft beers and a delicious dinner at Skyrgerðin Café & Bistro we set off eagerly to the local hot pools. To our disappoint they were closed, Google had lied to us! Nevertheless, we were happy to have a wander around this eerily quiet town, admiring the Christmas lights and making some sweet snow angels.
And then it happened again. We looked directly above the town and spotted the Northern Lights. This time they were much more distinct and a had a slight green tinge. I was happy and in awe of this magical country – it lived up to all the hype and some.