Waterfalls, geysers, and incredible landscapes
There are a thousand reasons to visit the far-North European wonderland of Iceland. In this relatively small island nation, culture, nature, history and adventure abound. For the perfect combination of all of them, you can’t go past the Golden Circle driving tour, which leads you north from the capital Reykjavik to some of the finest locations in the country.
Something feels timeless and even prehistoric about the Geysir geothermal area of the Golden Circle, a flat expanse of rocky land peppered with bright blue pools, steaming waters and geothermal spouts spraying water high into the air. Make sure to stop by the Strokkur, the most reliable geysir- it sends a powerful spout of geothermal water into the air every eight minutes.
Epic, powerful and awe-inspiring are just a few words that come to mind when you behold the Gullfoss, or “Golden Falls”. This gigantic waterfall, flowing from the glacial river Hvítá, plummets 32 metres down a rocky ravine. Gullfoss is impressive at any time of the year, but there’s something particularly special about seeing it in the icy winter. One of the most magical moments I experienced in Iceland on my recent trip was looking out across Gullfoss as delicate snowflakes began to fall around us. It was an incredibly beautiful sight, and a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Kerið volcanic lake
Easily missed by some tourists but included in Bustravel’s tour, the alien-looking Kerið volcanic lake is another unique sight on the Golden Circle. 55 metres deep, this icy crater is unlike any other landscape you’re likely to encounter in your travels. So much of Iceland’s landscape has been moulded and formed by volcanic activity, from its black sand beaches to its wavy, moss-laden lava fields, but Kerið is one of the clearest proofs of the power volcanoes have held over this region for eons.
Þingvellir National Park
But the Golden Circle isn’t all nature attractions. Less than an hour from Reykjavik on the circuit, Þingvellir (pronounced “Thing-vel-eer”) National Park is a natural, historic and cultural wonder rolled into one. A sparse and flat expanse of land, Þingvellir is being pulled apart by tectonic plates by a few centimetres every year. But it is most important for its cultural significance: protected on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2004, it is the site of the world’s first Viking parliament. Sit yourself down in this barren environment, close your eyes, and imagine yourself seated in a congregation of Vikings, making plans for Iceland’s future. If we were in the year 930, it could have been so.
Despite being a tiny, freezing and sparsely-populated country, Iceland is brimming with unique natural, historic, gastronomic and cultural experiences. On your trip to this northerly country, make sure you don’t miss the exciting and accessible Golden Circle tour. This driving circuit, easily manageable in a day from Reykjavik, will show you the best Iceland’s history and nature has to offer.
Let Bustravel Iceland do the planning and driving for you, and experience the following sights on their Grand Golden Circle tour.