Day 2 began with snowmobiling on the “long” glacier. We were the first to travel on the 3 feet of snow that fell over the previous 24-hours. The black “stuff” is from the volcanic eruption in 2010. Very cool experience! Our guide operator was Mountaineers of Iceland
The second stop of the day was the Gullfoss Waterfall. 32 meters (104) feet in two separate waterfalls. A pathway takes you right to the water’s edge, where you can get a real sense of the enormous power of the falls.
The next stop was the Geysir geothermal area. The famous Geysir is not too active, but amongst the many hot pools and steaming vents, you’ll see Strokkur blast water 20 to 40 m (66 to 131 ft) high every few minutes. We stopped to admire the show of boiling water that is spilled out of under the earth’s crust at regular intervals; there are several geysers in the same area and in some you can stop to see the bubbling water as in a pot.
Just off the Golden Circle lies Faxafoss, a waterfall that is often forgotten among all of Iceland’s scenic offerings. With less tourists then nearby Gullfoss, this pitstop was well worth the turn off. On the grounds there is both a restaurant and campground (which are open during the summer months), meaning Faxafoss would be one of your best options to spend the evening.
Our fourth stop for the day was to Kerid Crater. This 6,500-year-old crater is a stunning sight; 270 metres (886 ft) long and 170 metres (558 ft) wide, with a permanent pool of water filling the bottom of the red-rocked caldera, it can be approached without constraint after paying the landowners a small fee of 400 ISK. Its formation came from an enormous eruption in which the once cone-shaped volcano emptied its magma chamber; the structural weakness this caused meant the peak collapsed in on itself, leaving behind a wonder for all to enjoy. For those visiting Hveragerði, Selfoss or travelling the Golden Circle, it is highly recommended to amend one’s route to include a stop at Kerið; such a unique and beautiful sight is rare
We then headed south to find our accommodations for the night in the Hvolsvöllur area. Hotel Rangá is a 4-star hotel situated between the towns Hella and Hvolsvöllur. Private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Views towards Rangá river or Hekla volcano. Free access to outdoor hot tubs. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is included. This was a wonderful hotel and as it turned out the best place for us to see the Norther Lights. We had a wonderful dinner where we experimented with some local fare.
The Northern Lights were pretty amazing. We were thrilled to see them so early into our trip.