Location: South-West Iceland
Directions from Reykjavík to Thingvellir on Google maps.
Duration: Cirka 1,5 hour drive from Reykjavík to Geysir Geothermal area.
The third stop on the Golden Circle route is the geothermal active valley of Haukadalur, which contains the famous geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Geysir, derived from the Icelandic verb geysa, the verb from Old Norse, to gush, only erupts 4 to 5 times a day. On the other hand, Strokkur, which is Icelandic for churn, is reliable and erupts every 5 to 10 minutes. Geysir has been active for approximately 10,000 years, the oldest accounts of hot springs at Haukadalur dating back to 1294, making it one of Iceland’s most ancient treasures and a must see.
It is not exactly known when Geysir was created. It is believed that it came into existence around the end of the 13th century when a series of strong earthquakes, accompanied by a devastating eruption of Mt. Hekla, hit Haukadalur, the geothermal valley where Geysir is located. What is known is that it spouted regularly every third hour or so up to the beginning of the 19th century and thereafter progressively at much longer intervals until it completely stopped in 1916. Whether its silence is eternal or temporary no one knows. When it was alive and shooting, it could thunderously blast a spectacular jet of superheated water and steam into the air as high as 60 to 80 meters according to different sources. Its opening is 18 meters wide and its chamber 20 meters deep. One reason for cessation is believed to be the accumulated rocks and foreign objects thrown into it by thousands of tourists throughout the years.