16th of April 2018 was almost the end of my Icelandic trip of a week in the South West of the island. That day, I had the chance to venture out to some of the most touristic sights in Iceland: the Golden Circle (Gullni hringurinn). This geographical concentration of landmarks includes the National Park of Pingvellir, the Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir Valley which I write about in more detail later in this article.
This day would have never been possible without the generous help of the Mountaineers of Iceland. This fully licensed travel agency was founded in 1996 by Herbert Hauksson and is the oldest snowmobile tour operator in the country. Their mission is to “introduce Iceland’s endangered glaciers and pristine nature, inspiring moments of wonder, leaving everyone feeling happy and eager to revisit [their] beautiful country”. And this was most definitely the case with me! Owing to their knowledge and expertise I experienced one of the most unforgettable days of my life.
At 8 in the morning, I met with Haffi, our guide for the day. What I truly appreciated was the fact that we were going to be only four of us with him. Which, in my opinion, gave us the possibility to really live this experience to its fullest.
Our first stop of the day was Gullfoss (The Golden Fall): the two story waterfall located on the Hvita river and probably the most impressive one. It starts with a 32 meter drop followed by a 70 meter one into a tight canyon. The first think that strikes you is the strength of the icy wind, as well as the rumbling noise caused by the stream’s strength. We walked around and above this waterfall, fighting to stand straight (due to the wind) and feeling immersed by the nature’s power.
After this, we headed by car to an additional stop on the trip, the Langjökull Glacier (the Long Glacier) and its 953 squared kilometres area. The road there is quite bumpy, covered in deep snow and deep holes. It almost felt more like a rollercoaster than being in an comfy 4×4. Once up there, at the Mountaineers of Iceland‘s base camp, we walked into a changing room equipped with snow proof jumpsuits, helmets, gloves and boots. Now we were ready for our snowmobile experience.
And what an experience! The five of us rode on the shinny snow, feeling more alive than ever, feeling the sun warming us, following each other’s print on the ground and once we stopped, the strong power of the mountain’s silence. It was beautiful and thrilling.
After an hour of thrill and enjoyment, we walked back to the car and drove down towards the third stop of the day: Geysir, located in the Haukadalur valley. Geysir is a geyser that can spit burning water up to 70 meters high. Neighbouring this site’s main attraction are some burning geothermic bath which you’re able to walk around and admire the dreamy colours inside.
The last stop of the day was ahead of us and certainly deserves more than a day of exploring. The Pingvellir National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site founded in Thingvellir in 930. Besides that, it is also an exceptional geographic location at is at the separation of American and Eurasian Tectonic plates, and that’s what I had the chance to see. It was utterly awe-inspiring, and I didn’t feel like leaving.
The weather was gorgeous, and despite the wind, this tour was sensational.