GOLDEN CIRCLE: Iceland's most famous route and most beautiful secret

GOLDEN CIRCLE: Iceland's most famous route and most beautiful secret

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(soft music) Southern Iceland and its famous Golden Circle route is full of attractions. Visit some of the most famous spots with me, like an active geyser and one of the most famous waterfalls, but enjoy also some roads away from the typical tourist attractions off the beaten track. (gentle music) The Southern Iceland edition Got2Go style. (serene music) (singer vocalizing) What happened in the last episode? In pouring rain, we finally arrived at one of Iceland's most well-known parts and made it to the town Vik with its iconic black beach. But even though our boots and clothes were all wet, we had no other option than continuing riding the next day. So guys, I guess you heard this morning when we visited the black beach that I was quite grumpy, because of my wet boots that are, by the way, still wet.

But now I'm in a much better mood, because there is no rain at the moment and we are going to a nice gravel road now. Like many travelers, I'm used to getting out of my way and embrace hours or even days of traveling to get to a place I want to go to. But here in the south of Iceland, you pretty much just have to turn off from the Ring Road and the next adventure and remote destination is ahead of you. So did we only five kilometers from the town Vik. So I actually don't spend days and days when preparing a trip studying roads and places to go.

I mostly do that a little bit once I'm on the road, but meanwhile, I also have such a massive collection of places that are special and that I want to go to that I saved on my Google Maps. And most of the time, I don't even know anymore why I saved it or where I saw it. So this is actually one of the places. I bookmarked it on my Google Maps, but I have no clue why. Only know that it's a small road.

We will see. This road definitely started interesting enough to keep us going. (gentle music) Wow, this road here is absolutely surreal. This dark brown, nearly black earth and the green moss, it could be a computer rendering, but guys, it's nature, it's real earth, and I always think it's so crazy wild that places beautiful like this exist in reality.

Wow. (gentle suspenseful music) (gentle dramatic music) (dramatic music) So this road we are now on is actually a dead end. And on Google Maps, it looked like there is a campground on its end.

That's actually also what I bookmarked. Maybe that's why I saved it, because it's probably a nice campground. But so this means we are riding until the road ends and then have to turn around. The way to Pakgil turned out to be one of the most beautiful places we had visited so far. We couldn't believe our eyes that so close to the Ring Road and to all major tourist destinations, this jaw-dropping road was just waiting for us to be discovered. Green moss covered the black volcanic sand and little water streams and rivers formed their shining way across the dark soil.

(triumphant upbeat music) Now we are getting close. The road is really just a short detour. I think it's about 15 kilometers. And here we are. This is the campground. (triumphant upbeat music) So this is kind of the end of the road of this spectacular valley.

It was really a absolutely stunning ride. I can highly recommend it. We didn't go here with too much expectations, because the weather was, well, not so good, but really a must do here in the area.

(water splashing) (birds chirping) Welcome to one of Iceland's most beautiful campgrounds. The name Pakgil comes from pak meaning roof and gil meaning canyon, so roof canyon. The locals say that the names are just that the weather is usually very good, because Pakgil is a shelter from the constant wind in the country. With my boots still wet and after the last terribly rainy day, I was quite happy that this was true at that moment.

At the campsite of Pakgil, you can pitch your tent or rent a small pine cottage. There are several hikes you can do from here. Probably the shortest one takes you to a waterfall very close by.

(motorcycle engine revving) (upbeat rock music) ♪ I'm a hurricane, always on top of my game ♪ ♪ I'm a hurricane, don't try to get in my way ♪ - [Lea] So I found out some new wisdom for you guys, and that is that the river you see here in the valley and all these little arms are indeed glacial rivers. And I still can't believe how absolutely otherworldly beautiful this here is. I guess this is why people love the south of Iceland.

Yeah, I was skeptical, but it's for a good reason. It's really stunning here. From the elevated parts of the road, you have a fantastic view no matter if you are coming or going.

The most impressive one is over the river Mulakvisl all the way to the south coast. Mulakvisl is a glacial river originating in Myrdalsjokull glacier. (wind whirring) (soft triumphant music) (intense triumphant music) (intense triumphant music continues) Wow, this was indeed a beautiful ride. I'm still kind of, like, whew, struck and without words, really loved it.

And now off to a new place since we are pretty much still at the same location we started this morning, we are pretty much still at the town Vik. (upbeat music) We continued our ride on the Ring Road to head to some of Iceland's most famous destinations to the so-called Golden Circle. So I have to admit something to you guys, the travel partner and I got a little bit waterfalled out, which is not meaning that I didn't like all of Iceland's beautiful waterfalls, but there are actually quite some famous waterfalls here on this route. And yeah, we already saw all the people parking there and there were some crowds and I just don't know. So I have to tell you something, we just skipped basically all of the waterfalls here on the route. I'm very, very sorry and I hope you will forgive me, guys.

♪ You got me holding on to something ♪ ♪ I know it can burn me down ♪ ♪ But I don't care about it 'cause I got you close ♪ ♪ And kind of hoping that one day we'll get the rhythm of it ♪ ♪ Get the rhythm of it ♪ - So here is the turn off from the Ring Road to our accommodation. The ride was actually rather boring until here. Hm, sorry to say. I think this one was one of the most boring stretches of the Ring Road so far actually, because before I always thought all the Ring Road might be boring, but it was quite nice. But here it was really boring. And yeah, I will stop here now for a bit to drink and maybe have a snack before we attack the last kilometers of the day.

As soon as we left the Ring Road, the ride indeed got much more scenic and nice again. We were now heading inlands to hit the Golden Circle, a route that leads to three of Iceland's most popular natural attractions. So, the plan is to stay two nights at the accomodation we are heading to, to be able to see the surrounding sites the next day and also to rest a little since we basically didn't have one single rest day yet.

We always did something even if we stayed two nights last time we visited Askja. And yeah, I think tonight will be really, really nice, because we booked this super nice-looking hotel and I'm very happy. I think now we're spoiling ourselves a little bit.

(gentle music) That's it, this is the Torfhus Retreat. Somehow weird and funny to have such a gate here in Iceland where everything feels so open and remote, but yeah. Look, I think you stay in all these nice-looking houses. Yeah, I'm actually looking so forward to a nice cozy place to stay. The Torfhus Retreat is located in the heart of Iceland's Golden Circle, but it's still a very secluded and relaxing place. Inspired by the architecture of the Icelandic Viking farm and nearby Stong, the traditional Torfhus accomondations are crafted from local stone, reclaimed wood, and turf, and what I enjoyed most, the basalt stone hot pool.

That's our lovely little pond here. (gentle upbeat music) This is the life, people. So nice. The food in the restaurant is a real experience. I can recommend joining a dinner at the Torfhus, even if you are not staying there. The menu changes every night and the chef uses the freshest of Icelandic ingredients, mostly sourced from within a 10 mile radius.

Berries and soft fruits, vegetables, herbs, and salads are grown year round in classic greenhouses, heated by Iceland's abundant geothermal energy. Salmon and char are caught on nearby rivers and seafood comes from coastal fishermen, the beef and lamb from the mountains nearby. (insects chirping) (soft music) (birds chirping) We are having a kind of rest day that is actually not a real rest day at this very nice place here where you live in these tiny houses behind me and it's located on a place that's called the Golden Circle, because it's very close to Reykjavik, the capital. And people often come here for day trips and there are a few things that you have to see and we will visit two of them now. Let's go to the Geysir.

(upbeat rock music) Good morning, everyone. Today's our official rest day, but we will still do some short rides, because there are some big attractions close by that we want to visit. And one of them is a geyser. And I'm very curious about that, because I think the last time I saw a geyser was at my world trip at Atacama Desert. So that's crazy long ago.

We were now on the Golden Circle, the most famous of all scenic roots in Iceland that combines stunning landmarks and historically significant places in a circular sightseeing tour. It is doable within a day from Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, therefore its popularity. The whole loop is about 250 kilometers long. On this day, we would only head to tour of the three biggest attractions of the Golden Circle and not do the complete tour, because we didn't want to go back to Reykjavik.

Yes, I had, that's the geyser for sure. Here on the right side, you can see the smoke already. I guess maybe it's probably also some geothermal pools.

Again, like at the sulfur fields at Myvatn. We will see, I'm just speculating. It's very interesting. (soft music) This site is hot, literally.

The water in the geothermal area in how Haukadalur is partly boiling hot. That's why you should always stick to the path. And this is one of the very few places on Earth where one can closely observe active geysers.

A geyser is a spring characterized by a discharge of water ejected turbulently accompanied by steam. It is a fairly rare phenomenon that happens due to particular hydrogeologically conditions that exist only in a few places on Earth. Generally, all geyser field sites are located near active volcanic areas, and the geyser effect is due to the proximity of magma. So that behind me is the active geyser. Here you can see all the people waiting for it to explode and it can go up quite high, like 30 meters.

Here in Iceland, there is the famous Great Geysir, which had eruptions up to 70 meters high, but it's dormant these days. But only a few meters from the Great Geysir, there is the geyser Strokkur. Strokkur gushes its fountains of a boiling hot water every eight to 10 minutes up to 30 meters in the air.

You basically just need to wait a few minutes to witness a geyser erupting. (crowd chattering) (geyser erupting) (crowd exclaiming) - [Partner] That was a nice one. - Yeah, much bigger. This was nice, but this was definitely also the most crowded place we have been so far. And yeah, was it nice to see the geyser? Yes, but would I do it again? Probably not.

Or maybe at a less (indistinct) time of the day. Being at such remote places for basically weeks now, it was nearly a bit overwhelming to see so many people, or still is overwhelming. Also, the roads here are pretty crowded. The next attraction of the Golden Circle was only a 10 kilometer or 10 minute ride from the geysers. So this might be an interesting fact for you guys.

We are now on Route 35, which is actually one of the only two routes that crosses Iceland at the Highlands completely. So if you want to go from one side to the other of Iceland, there are only two routes, and this is one of them. And guess what? We will be back here tomorrow and do that. But now, first, waterfall. (upbeat rock music) So this is the second huge site of the Golden Circle. And I guess that's the most famous waterfall of Iceland.

(water gushing) Yes, I had to promise my travel partner that this would be the last waterfall I would drag him to. Remains to be seen if this promise can be kept. But anyways, it was worth to get a glimpse of the Gullfoss waterfall.

Gullfoss is also called the Golden Waterfall, and its popularity probably comes from its unusual cascading shape that is extremely photogenic from every angle and in every season. On average, 100,000 liters of glacial water from the river Hvita plunged 31 meters into the Gullfoss Gljufur Canyon every single second. That was it for today.

Tomorrow will be a big day, because we want to traverse Iceland on Route 35, and we will leave super early for that. And yeah, now we go back to Torfhus and I might have another dip in the hot pools. You people, don't get too envious. But that's what I'm gonna do now, and I say goodbye here for the day. So see you tomorrow and probably see you at the next episode. Bye-bye.

Guys, how is your feeling about some of the biggest sites of Iceland? If you like them, give this video a thumbs up and comment. Next week to the big relief of the travel partner, there will be less sightseeing and much more riding. We will cross Iceland through its Highlands on the famous Route 35.

Tune in to join this huge adventure. (gentle music) (engine revving)

2024-02-17 05:28

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