If you’ve only got time for one tour on your trip to Iceland make it a tour of The Golden Circle. Why this tour? You’ll experience three forces of nature in one unforgettable day – Gullfoss, geysers and geological rifts. This has got to be the best Iceland tour.
Iceland’s Golden Circle route in Southern Iceland, covers about 300 km starting in Reykjavík, before panning into central Iceland and back again taking in en-route the rugged beauty and power of mother nature in all her Icelandic glory. Ideally I’d like to take an Icelandic road trip but if you don’t have time this is the next best alternative.
The sky was still deep blue when we left Hotel Ion at 9am, around dawn, on an icy February morning. Visiting Iceland in winter has its bonuses though – you get to see the sunrise without having to get up at silly o’clock!
Þingvellir National Park
Our first stop was Þingvellir (pronounced Thingvellir) National Park, home to the world’s oldest parliament where the Alþingi general assembly was founded in the year 930 AD and carried on convening until 1798. Þingvellir means ‘Parliament Plains’ and the views across them are breathtaking; even on a dusky morning when a vicious wind whips your face and a weak sun struggles to light the landscape their beauty shines through.
The whole area is part of a fissure ribboning through Iceland where you can clearly see the drifting in the tectonic plate boundaries of North America and Eurasia – The Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The rift widens every year by a few millimetres and the faults in the earth’s crust filled with deep crystal-clear waters are clearly visible.
Great Geysir, Strokkur, Litli Geysir
The powerful river tipped over the first step and roared towards me thundering and foaming, hints of turquoise shining beneath the surface, before pitching over the crevice and exploding into the canyon below leaving me feeling completely alive and invigorated. And very, very tiny.
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I had a very brief taste of Iceland and fell in love with its wild, rugged beauty, the contrasting textures and colours of the landscape, diversity of experience and the extreme forces of nature. The Golden Circle encompassed all of that, and more, in one unforgettable day
Check out my video (below) with some Iceland highlights including a helicopter ride over the black sands of Vik and some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes and glaciers. Excuse the wobbly bits – it’s a bit tricky in a helicopter!