Iceland’s Golden Circle is the must-see collection of geological and historical highlights of South Iceland. We’ve arranged a guided day trip to see the three main features of the area, plus an extra location that isn’t included in most tours. Running through the Thingvellir National Park is the mid-Atlantic rift, where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart. The depression that has been created there is filled with the large and very beautiful clear water lake Thingvellir. It’s here too, that the oldest surviving parliament was established on the flat plains by the first settlers to Iceland in around 870AD. A visit to this area includes a walk down beside the cliff that is the edge of the American plate boundary to look across the old parliament fields to the Eurasian plate on the other side of the lake. From the viewing platform there’s a fantastic view over the whole area and inside the nearby visitor centre, a small exhibition, shop and coffee.
Having now seen how Iceland was formed, the tour continues to one of its most magnificent waterfalls, Gullfoss or Golden falls. This is a two stepped waterfall with a long and deep gorge, formed by massive and historic glacial floods. In the summer the surrounding area is stunning, with views of Langjökull glacier to the left from the excellent viewing platform. From here, it’s not far to the geothermal area that has created Iceland’s famous geyser, “Strokkur” which obligingly erupts a magnificent steam plume into the sky about every 5-7 minutes. Perfect for photographers and to capture a film clip. The extra stop that your tour will make is to Kerið, an intriguing water filled red lava crater, which is beautiful to stroll around or just to look at over the edge. It’s not every day that you can look into a volcanic crater!
During the day, you will find out a great deal about all aspects of Iceland from your guide and if there’s more you want to know, you just have to ask. There are plenty of stops for shops, coffee and toilets and the whole day is surprisingly accessible. This 8-hour tour in a comfortable coach is the best way to see and find out about the most famous area of Iceland.