I joined a truly fun tour recently, the Golden Circle tour combined with very relaxing floating and massage in a secret lagoon in South-Iceland!
I was picked up at the BSÍ, bus terminal in Reykjavík at 2 pm. I was expecting a small bus to pick me up, but was delighted to see the luxury jeep that was going to be driving me around for the day :)
The Golden Circle is by far the most popular tour in Iceland. The first stop on this tour is at Þingvellir National Park, 50 km away from Reykjavík.
We picked up another two passengers and off we went on the Golden Circle tour and the Secret Lagoon. It was going to be a 10-hour-tour!
Þingvellir National Park is situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the North-American and Eurasian continents. The tectonic plates are visible above ground here at Þingvellir. And here the Vikings established a parliament in 930, which is still operating in Reykjavík.
We walked down the Almannagjá rift and met up with the guide at Nikulásargjá rift, which we Icelanders call Peningagjá - Money rift as it is the only place in Iceland where it is allowed to throw in money and make a wish :)
After our walk in Þingvellir, it was time for an ice-cream stop at Efstidalur farm, where they make their own ice-cream.
The restaurant is located next to the cowshed with windows for watching the cows while you eat.
Although this geothermal area is named after Geysir then the "geysir" which erupts most frequently (like every 5-10 minutes), is called Strokkur.
Only 10 km away from the Geysir area is the breathtakingly beautiful waterfall Gullfoss. Gullfoss is the best-known waterfall in Iceland, 32 metres high, with two cascades, the first one is 11 metres high, and the other one is 21 metres high. This waterfall runs in the glacial river Hvítá, which runs from the Langjökull glacier.
It is possible to walk down to the waterfall in the summertime, which is a great experience. Bring a light raincoat as there is drizzle from the waterfall on the track leading to the waterfall.
On our way back from Gullfoss we stopped by another beautiful waterfall, the 20-22 meters high Faxi waterfall. This waterfall used to be overlooked by many people, but now more and more people have discovered it and include it in their Golden Circle tour.
Faxi is located in the river Tungufljót. Tungufljót is a salmon river and around 400 salmons are caught in it every year. There is a salmon ladder by the waterfall to help the salmons jump up the river. This is where I took the photo of the jeep and our guide, Ólafur. I thought it would be nice to have this lovely waterfall in the background :)
By now it was 7:30 pm - dinner time. We had dinner at Café Mika in Reykholt, which is a geothermal village in the vicinity of Faxi waterfall. At Café Mika the owners sell hand-made praline. There we had a lovely dinner with praline (chocolate) for dessert.
On my photo are the two tourists from Alaska, Ólafur our guide and co-founder of Floating Tours, one of the owners of Café Mika, and our other guide, Attila. Lovely people.
After dinner we went to the Secret Lagoon at Flúðir for the floating part of the tour, the part I had been looking so much forward to. And I must say that it exceeded my expectations. The estimated time for entering into the lagoon was at 10 pm as by then only floating was allowed in the lagoon.
The weather was perfect, it was a calm, bright June night. We arrived at 9:30 pm and the guide took us to one of the hot springs behind the lagoon to dig up rye-bread, which he had been cooking in the hot spring for 24 hours. We got to taste the bread for supper after the floating experience.
Now it was time to enter the 38-40 degrees hot lagoon! We got the floating kit; a floating cap and floating straps for our legs, so we could be totally relaxed in the lagoon and experience the heavenly feeling of floating.
There are underwater speakers in the lagoon and the popular Icelandic band Sigurrós played soft, relaxing music. I can tell you that this experience was heavenly.
We floated for an hour in the pool and then was the icing on the cake - a 15-minute massage in the lagoon! It was pure heaven. I cannot remember when I have felt more relaxed than during the massage, just floating, listening to this soft music of Sigurrós :)
I need to go back to this secret lagoon! When I visited the Secret Lagoon again in 2019 the floating and massage was no longer available, but it was great to get a chance to experience it while it was still available.
By the way, these are not the changing facilities seen in the photo of me getting a massage - this lagoon is actually the oldest swimming pool in Iceland, built in 1891, and these are the old changing facilities.
There are new, modern facilities now on the other side of the lagoon.
After getting out of the lagoon and changing it was time to boil the eggs for supper - in the hot-spring Vaðmálahver! We got a fishing rod and a net in which to put the egg and there we stood by the hot-spring for some 8 minutes and boiled our supper. In the olden days, this hot-spring was used for washing clothes.
There are several other hot-springs around the pool, one of which is called Litli-Geysir, as it erupts every 5 minutes!
Be very careful in this geothermal area as the hot-springs are extremely hot and boiling. In October 2016 a tourist didn't notice the boundaries of this closed-off area and stepped into it! He got severely burnt when he fell into a hot-spring :(
We Icelanders are taught to fear the hot-springs and be extremely careful and to never cross the boundaries, so I must reiterate the importance of never entering a closed-off geothermal area.
Now it was time for supper at 11:30 pm! What we had was the egg we had cooked in the hot-spring, fermented shark (an acquired taste), "brennivín" which is the Icelandic Black Death shot, the rye-bread cooked for 24 hours in the hot-spring and tomatoes and cucumbers from the local greenhouses. It was superb, very Icelandic.
After supper, we were driven back to Reykjavík, where we arrived at 1:30 am!
I took a video of the Secret lagoon before we headed for Reykjavík to show you how serene it is.
Combination tours to the Secret Lagoon:
I opted for the Golden Circle and floating as I wanted to find a really special addition to the traditional Golden Circle tour, which I could recommend to people.
Ólafur guide digging up rye bread cooked in a hot spring at the Secret Lagoon.
Note that if you plan on visiting the Secret Lagoon on your own that it is now necessary to book your arrival to the Secret lagoon ahead of time.
Also check out the many Golden Circle tours on offer here on Guide to Iceland. Don't miss visiting the most popular sights in Iceland :)