Top choice in The Golden Circle

One of Iceland’s most famous tourist attractions, Geysir (gay-zeer; literally ‘gusher’) is the original hot-water spout after which all other geysers are named. Earthquakes can stimulate activity, though eruptions are rare. Luckily for visitors, the very reliable geyser, Strokkur, sits alongside. You rarely have to wait more than five to 10 minutes for the hot spring to shoot an impressive 15m to 40m plume.

Discovered in the Haukadalur geothermal region, the Great Geysir has been active for perhaps 800 years, and once gushed water up to 80m into the air. But the geyser goes through periods of lessened activity, which seems to have been the case since 1916.

The undulating, hissing geothermal area containing Geysir and Strokkur was free to enter at the time of writing, though there have been discussions about introducing a fee.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Golden Circle attractions

1. Strokkur

0.01 MILES

Follow the path to where a circle of people is usually waiting in anticipation. They are here to see this magnificent geyser spurt water up to 40m in the…

2. Gullfoss

5.26 MILES

Iceland’s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss is a spectacular double cascade dropping a dramatic 32m. As it descends, it kicks up magnificent walls of spray…

3. Skálholt Church

14.56 MILES

This modern church was built to replace the Skálholt cathedral, which was demolished by an earthquake in the 1700s. The museum in the basement tells the…

4. Skálholt

14.57 MILES

For centuries (between 1056 to 1785) Skálholt was a political and cultural hub in Iceland, and one of only two areas overseen by bishops. In the wealthy…

5. Slakki Petting Zoo

14.98 MILES

For more than 20 years, this petting zoo in small-town Iceland has been a popular hang-out for families passing through the village of Laugarás. Orphaned…

6. Þjórsárstofa

18.71 MILES

The informative Þjórsárstofa, in a large white building, has an excellent display about the nearby attractions (crashing waterfalls and an atmospheric…

7. Hjálparfoss

19.21 MILES

Twenty-six kilometres northeast of Árnes along Rte 32, take a short (1km) detour along a signposted track to this delightful waterfall. The azure falls…

8. Þjóðveldisbærinn

19.66 MILES

Þjóðveldisbærinn is a reconstruction of Stöng, exactly reproducing its turf-covered layout and its neighbouring church. Staff here wear period dress and…