11 Days Alone in Iceland - Final
Follow us in our very last part of this Iceland blog along the Golden Circle to the popular Geysir, Gullfoss, and other amazing sights – and find out what is worth it and what might be not. We’ll visit a lava tube and hang out in what must be the most idyllic, hidden hot spring in Iceland!
From Iceland’s birthplace Thingvellir, which we told you about in our last blog, we went on to the famous Geysir named… well, Geysir. It’s the world’s oldest known one and gave the phenomenon its name. It’s relatively inactive these days, but its little brother “Stokkur” closeby is quite the opposite. Icelandic names are just as pragmatic as Norwegian ones, just that they usually are way longer and often impossible to pronounce.
As we finally arrived at the site, it became evident that this is one of Iceland’s most famous sights. Even though the nearby cafè/restaurant and the shop were closed due to Covid, there were probably more tourists than we had seen at all other sites combined. Still, it wasn’t all that bad, with about 20-30 other tourists around, I’m sure we were quite lucky nonetheless. It was exciting to watch the Geysir and its crystal clear, blue water shifting like it’s something breathing, a living creature. Every 5-10 minutes, it suddenly erupts, startling everyone who got mentally absorbed by the pulsating water’s view. The eruptions vary in hight but can surpass 20m!
We didn’t spend all to much time at Geysir, maybe 1,5 hours. Our next destination was even more exciting – the famous waterfall named Gullfoss! Even though there is no (more) gold to be found – the name means “Gold falls” – it’s a priceless view and experience! Massive amounts of water drop over 2 “stairs” together 32 meters into a narrow crevice. After a famous tale, the waterfall was saved from exploitation by the brave Sigríður, who threatened to throw herself down the falls if they were destroyed to serve hydropower. In fact, the owners ran out of money before realizing the project and sold it to the state instead. Thanks to this, it’s protected and provides for sure better value this way, not at least an unforgettable destination for everyone who comes to visit.
Our next stop was a little more hidden and not as easy to find – the hot spring I promised you long ago! It’s a relatively small spring, located on private land not far from the village of Flúðir, with 2 small constructed and 1 natural pool that offers space for up to ~8 persons (depending on how much you like each other). Google maps will only bring you half the way – you actually have to continue for a couple more kilometers and turn right, past a beautiful little church, before you take another turn to the right and continue for about 500 meters. By the time we arrived at Hruni (that’s the name, yes!), a friendly young guy sat in his car at the parking and collected 1000ISK from visitors. You might want to check how many people there are in the spring, but it’s more than worth the money if there’s some space. Before, it was mainly known to the locals, but word is spreading fast, and more and more tourists are discovering this hidden gem. So better be early if you’re not traveling during the pandemic or off-season! We arrived at nightfall, and besides some young girls and a couple from the neighborhood, there were no other people around. We spend first about half an hour in a pond before the couple left, and we could take over their spot. The water was incredibly clear and about 38 degrees, plus the fact that it’s hidden between soft hills – an absolute dream, not just for Instagrammers! This was definitely my top favorite spot during the whole Iceland trip, topping both the (of course more luxury) Blue Lagoon and Myvatn Nature Baths.
This hot spring was the perfect way to end the day. Relaxed to the core, we went to nearby Fludir camping, which isn’t the cheapest but offers wifi and exceptionally clean and spacious amenities – in addition to obliging service and a lot of different events throughout the year. After a good nights sleep we found ourselfs with more time left than we thought we’d have by now. So we scrolled through the world wide web and found something interesting closeby. The Lava Tunnel (Raufarhólshellir), one of many lava tunnels found (or most actually still hidden) throughout Iceland. Our amazing guide told us than if you find one you are allowed to name it. That would be a great way to take revenge for all those unspeakable Islandic words! We really enjoyed the short tour though, not at least because of our Greek guide, who had a very Greek name that we sadly can’t remember anymore. The full length of the tunnel is 1360m, and different tours are offered. We just chose the standard tour, which only leads a few hundred meters into the cave and takes about 1 hour. Equipment is provided, and the cave together with the guide made the tour worth the 6.900ISK.
Our journey was slowly coming to an end, but we had one last site on the list. Only half an hour outside of Reykjavik lies the thermally active area of Krýsuvík. Here we were completely alone again, as this is, just like The Lava Tunnel, not part of the Golden Circle, and a relatively unknown spot. So we enjoyed the Icelandic solitude one last time, wandering between the bubbling ponds and finally flying the drone again. This is definitely an overlooked area right south of Reykjavik.
After this last excursion, we finally had to deliver our trusty campervan, that served us so well, back to CampEasy. Again I expected some unpleasant surprises. Instead, we had a cozy chat with the 2 employees, an Icelandic guy and a girl from Australia who decided to just not go back home anymore. We had to wait for the bus back to Reykjavik for some time, and couldn’t have spent it more enjoyable. Again – I don’t get anything for saying that, but CampEasy was really amazing! We even got the money back for a gas cartridge we didn’t use. If we would have planned to spend more time inside the van, we’d definitely opted for the high roof Transit, but since we mainly just ate and slept inside, the Transporter 4×4 was just the perfect choice.
Finally back in Reykjavik (busses are quite affordable, but you shouldn’t have a weak stomach), we checked back in at our beautiful hotel, the Radisson Blu 1919 in Downtown, this time in another junior suite. Yes, the pandemic has its perks. Or – had by this time. One last evening with my old friend in her favorite restaurant, ate way too much again. Iceland has so much good food! That was completely unexpected, as most nordic countries are not a culinary experience. Definitely try the Ramen at Momo if you happen to stop over in Reykjavik! After another great breakfast, way too early in the morning, we finally had to head back to the airport (with the same bus driver we came with the day before…). Meanwhile, the restrictions regarding the free seat in between on airplanes got lifted, but we survived the 5-hour long trip back home to arctic Norway, where spring just had started.
We’ll definitely be back, next time probably in our own campervan. We’re working on that right now; that’s part of why you had to wait so long for this blog. Again, sorry! More about that another time. Maybe next time we’ll visit during wintertime – hot springs + snow and ice, what a dream! Or spring, when life is literally exploding everywhere? We’ll see, and we’ll definitely tell you all about it!
Thank you all so much for following along, for your kind messages and comments, and not at least your patience. I hope to finally get finished with the video about our trip too, so don’t forget to follow us on Youtube as well!