If you are staying in Reykjavik The Golden Circle is one of the most popular tours you can partake in; the other is The Beautiful South Coast. While it is possible to see the Golden Circle in a day, if you want to experience the area and you want to take your time photographing, then I would highly advise you to rent a caravan and spend a couple of days.
Since I was on a guided tour, I felt rushed at our first sight, Thingvellir National Park, where the tectonic plates separate the North American from the European plates. To me, this was the most interesting stop of the day and one what was spent the least amount of time in. You arrive at an overlook of the valley, the vibrant green fields and a lake with rivers flowing, is the foreground of a mountain range. As with all tourist sites, there are information boards as you walk the semi-circular boardwalk. Sadly, by the time I took video and photo’s, my group was already at the end waiting for me, so I took photographs of the information to read later.
Iceland experiences 150- 400 small earthquakes per week, though you’d never know it since they range 0-2.8. The trail leads you between the craggy volcanic cliffs. The Almannangja fault runs along here. The island is growing larger due to the plates moving apart from each other, under your feet is new earth, literally. Will Iceland one day become two islands? That is the question.
When you come out the other side, you will be overlooking the Parliament. The national parliament of Iceland was founded in 930 and held sessions until 1798. The two-week assembly brought in thousands from all over the country, not just those taking place in the proceedings. Tanners, sword-sharpeners and merchants flocked to the location to sell their wares and would establish turf and rock dwellings with a temporary roof to stay in.
Keep on the dirt path, walking past the parking lot and up the hill to Oxararfoss [UEWX-ar-our-foss], which runs along the fault line. This waterfall is treated as a side attraction. Your tour guide may or may not take you here.
Geysir is the next stop. If you have been to Yellowstone National Park, you will be greatly disappointed. The geyser erupts every 3-4 minutes, but only last a few seconds, perhaps 4 at the longest. You have to be fast with your camera.
It is a pretty area with hot springs to view, not to swim in, and there is walking trails. There is a restaurant, fast-food counter, gift store and bathrooms across the street.
The most spectacular sight is Gullfoss, rain or shine, you will not be disappointed and this is the number one tourist attraction in Iceland.
The swift Hvítá river curves and falls over a wide three-step staircase, before plunging 36 feet then 69 feet. Mist fills the entire crevice [66 feet wide], dampening you and the violent rush of water crashing, booms loudly.
I was there during an overcast day, but when the sun is shining you can expect a rainbow.
There is a guard rail, yet it is not the best, so pay attention. Hold kids hands and watch your step when taking photos, it’s more of a suggestion than a barrier. In fact, someone just fell into the abyss. Perhaps done intentionally or he was taking a selfie and didn’t pay attention to his last step.
Most tour companies do not take you to Kerið Crater, so if you want to go there then book with Nice Tours. It’s a pretty water filled crater, that takes you about 20-minutes to walk around. I didn’t because there is nothing to see on the other side that you can’t from point A.
I have been to Crater Lake in Oregon, USA, so this was nothing fantastic in my opinion, but I’m happy to have seen it.
Stopping to see the Icelandic horses is not on the itinerary, but there some that are located near the road that has available parking.
Cost of tour: $84 USD
* Tour Company: Nice Tours – I did not receive any compensation for my review. I enjoyed the tour and the guide did his job, so I am recommending this company just because I can.
The video shows Reykjavik, The Golden Circle and the South Coast.
Okay, your turn…..
Have you driven The Golden Circle?