Hot spurts: the original Icelandic geysir
Where: Vatnajokul region, Iceland’s top beauty spot
When: Best time to visit is April
Top Sights:The original Geysir and the golden waterfall
Watch out for: Boiling water and rivers of ice water
Vatnajokul is the third largest glacier in the world and a perfect spot to experience the midnight sun and hot springs nestled in caves of ice and mountainous glaciers. Two major “must see” sites in Vatnajokul are Gulfoss and Geysir. Despite sounding like an Icelandic comedy duo, they are actually the names give to Iceland’s most infamous waterfalls and geysers. Gullfoss means the golden waterfall. It is a national monument and Iceland’s most popular tourist attraction, where the river Vita drops 32 metres into a huge canyon.
Geysir is the original and best hot spring from which every geyser in the world gets its name. Geysir shoots boiling water 20 metres into the air every 3 minutes so wear a hat and stand well back!
The Vatnajokul region is the Mecca of Iceland, and a holy place for the Icelandic. In the summer, it is crawling with tourists. In winter it is totally frozen over and difficult to trek – but in April you can see it crowd free.
Neil Armstrong practised his lunar walks in Iceland’s volcanic gravel pits. He said that the moon was a let down after Iceland.
In 1996, the volcano beneath the Vatnajokul glacier erupted, causing parts of the glacier to melt and created a huge river, temporarily the biggest river on earth by volume. Scientists do not believe that global warming was the cause, as the glacier has been shrinking throughout the 20th century and is in danger of slipping into the fjord within 10 years. They think it is part of the process of the earth warming up before the next ice age begins.