Iceland’s geysers are one of the largest attractions in the country, and they’re a must see. You can find them in the Golden Circle route along with Gullfoss waterfall and Þingvellir Park. If you’re driving along the Ring Road, it’s a classic stop. A rain jacket is recommended when on the Golden Circle Route, or if you visited during the winter, like me, dressing in [waterproof] winter clothes is just as good!
This geothermal area contains two geysers, Geysir and Strokkur, and many boiling hot pots. “Geysir” is the Icelandic term for geyser, which comes from the verb “geysa”- to gush; it’s also the name of their oldest geyser. Unfortunately, Geysir’s level of action is decreasing as it erupts rather infrequently, though it has been active for 10,000 years. Strokkur is the more active geyser that erupts every 4-6 minutes. The tour guide told us, “It’s more faithful than Old Faithful!” (another faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park.)
Coming from Wisconsin in the US, I’m no stranger to cold weather! Fortunately, the weather was pretty calm near the geysers during our tour. Since the water in the geysers are extremely hot, we warmed up pretty quickly and took our coats off temporarily. What I was a stranger to was the intense sulphur smell upon arrival–hits ya right in the face! I’ve only smelled it once before on a trip to Hawaii where we saw the sulphur vents on the extinct volcano. Sulphur smells like rotten eggs, but the smell of Iceland’s geysers wasn’t nearly as bad as Hawaii. Maybe at 10 years old, new smells are a much larger shock than at the age of 20.
Strokkur shoots up a column of water up to 98 feet/30 meters. We did get a little sprinkling of water on us, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as you’d think. Even though my trip was over four years ago, it’s still surreal to watch these videos. Everybody around us had a camera out, taking pictures or videos. Since it erupted every 6 minutes or less, you could easily get a few pictures and videos in. I recorded it on my first try; talk about getting lucky! (Try to see the large blue bubble that forms right before it bursts!)
There were many bubbling hot spots there as well, such as this one below. We also saw quite a bit of warning signs: HOT WATER. From feeling the heat from the steam and watching it bubble pretty viciously…we didn’t want to get any closer!
Iceland is a gorgeous country and truly a winter wonderland if you go during December through February! The Golden Circle route may be touristy, but seeing Iceland’s geysers, Gullfoss, and Þingvellir are (in my humble opinon) definitely worth it.