A favorite stop along the Golden Circle is the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. The newly opened Geysir Center offers exhibits and informative presentations year round. Geysir Hot Spring Area is one of the most popular tourist stop in Iceland.
The geothermal field is believed to have a surface area of approximately 3 km². Most of the springs are aligned along a 100m wide strip of land running in the same direction as the tectonic lines in the area, from south to southwest. The strip is 500m long and culminates near what once was the seat of the lords of Haukadalur.
The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Although the geyser is less active these days, it did lend its name to hot springs all over the world. It was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans.
The oldest account of Geysir in Haukadalur Valley date back to 1294, earthquakes in southern Iceland caused changes in the geothermal area and created several new hot springs. Researches in the 19th century showed that the geyser could reach the height of 170 meters! Seismic actvity in the area has effect on Geysir and after being dormant for years, Geysir was revived by an earthquake in 2000 and erupted for a couple of times a day for a few years. Now, Geysir is mostly dormant, though other hot springs in the Geysir geothermal area are quite active.
A truly unique experience offered is Geysir or ‘hot spring bread’, where visitors assist a chef to boil eggs outside in a hot spring, and dig up rye bread that has been ‘baking’ underground for 24 hours.
The great Geysir is not the only geyser in the Geysir hot spring area. The most active geyser in the area is called Strokkur. It sprouts hot water as high as 30 meters into the air every few minutes or so.
How do geysers erupt?
The geysers in Haukadalur are situated in an active geothermal area. Due to underground plumbing system ground water comes into contact with hot bedrock and heats up, building pressure. When the water has reached peak temperature and pressure it sprouts out from the geyser, often up to 30m into the air. The water is extremely hot and for your own safety, keep your distance. The geysers are better enjoyed at some distance.
Does it cost to visit Geysir?
Travellers do not have to pay an entrance fee when visiting the Haukadalur geothermal area. Visitors are encouraged to stay within marked areas and keep away when the geyser erupt, for the water is extremely hot and can burn.
How to get to Geysir
The Golden Circle
Geysir is a part of the famous Golden Circle along with Thingvellir National Park and Gullfoss Waterfall. Many travellers who visit Iceland visit these three great landmarks in South Iceland. A great addon to the Golden Circle is to visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall and the Black Sand Beach in Vik.
Check out our complete guide to the Golden Circle and West Iceland.