Located in the Haukadalur valley near Gullfoss, northwest of Laugurvatn, Geysir (also known as The Great Geysir) is one of the most famous attractions for visitors to Iceland. With its name meaning “to gush,” Geysir began spouting in the 14th century and this is the original hot spring that has lent its name to all other hot springs the world over. Although Geysir only erupts occasionally these days, there is a more active geyser around 50 meters away at Stokkur, also on the slopes of Laugarfjall hill, and this spouts water 35m (115 ft) up into the air.
It is recommended that visitors to the area take the short walk up Mt Laugafell for an excellent view of the Geysir area. The hike upwards should not prove too difficult for most people and the view from the top is spectacular. Starting from Konungshver hot spring, walkers will pass a panorama disk and cross a fence with some steps. Walkers should take time to study the panoramic disc and the surrounding views. There is an even better view from Laugafell.
Research has shown that Geysir has been active for around 10,000 years. Although eruptions can be infrequent and sometimes cease entirely for years at a time, they are capable of shooting boiling water up to 70 meters into the air when they do occur. To this day, the water jets at Geysir are thought to be one of Iceland’s most awesome natural phenomena. Many people have travelled a long way to see them and the people of Iceland have long been proud of them. After a considerable period of inactivity, Geysir was revived by an earthquake in 2000, which caused it to spout up to 122 meters over a two-day period, making it one of the highest geysers in the world.