Unlike Iceland whale watching or tours that are limited to warmer seasons (or Iceland northern lights tours that require the long dark nights of winter) most tour companies in Iceland run the Golden Circle excursion throughout
tour usually consists of stops at the Kerið crater, the Gullfoss waterfall,
the Geysir hot springs and Thingvellir national park. All of these are famous
attractions that should be included in a trip to Iceland. They are all close to
Reykjavik and can easily be enjoyed in one day, making for the ideal day tour.
Crater - The first tourist attraction on the tour is Kerið, the mouth
of an extinct volcanic. The water-filled crater is 55m deep and some 3000 years
old. The water is an odd greenish color during the warmer months and a reflective
sheet of ice during the winter. Like the Grand Canyon in the USA, the majesty
of the view is difficult to capture in pictures.
Like the US Grand Canyon, the immensity of the Kerid crater is difficult to capture in pictures.
The rocky slopes rise at a steep
angle from the crater resulting in an eerie panorama that should be on your itinerary
if you plan a visit to Iceland.
Kerið is a natural amphitheatre with excellent
acoustics. Iceland's famous Bjork decided it was the ideal location for an outdoor
concert. The performers floated on the water while entertaining crowds gathered
on the sides and above the basin!
Iceland's Gullfoss waterfall is Europe's most powerful.
- The name Gullfoss or Gullfass translates to the Golden Waterfall.
Visitors who watch the sun play on the water as it cascades 32m down in two stages
fully understand the meaning of the name. The massive falls are located on the
Hvitá river. Under the right conditions, colorful rainbows dance on the
spraying water filling the air above the canyon.
winter, ice formations form uncanny sculptures. The cascading water and spray
are captured by the cold and frozen into amazing shapes. Small wonder that the
people of Iceland express such a love for their waterfalls. The beauty of this
place is a sight that will not soon be forgotten.
Hot Springs Geothermal Area - The geothermal field in Haukadalur is a
natural wonder of hot springs and boiling mud pools. The Great Geyser
even gave its name to this spectacular phenomenon. Today, the Geysir itself is
no longer erupting, but nearby Strokkur sends up a column of water and steam up
to 30 meters high every few minutes to the delight of onlookers, who strive to
catch the moment on film.
along the edge of the North American continent in Iceland's Thingviller National
Park. This is
one of only two places on the
planet where the rift is able
to be seen
the Geysir center visitors can enjoy a multimedia exhibition and learn more about
the geology and history of the area. Also on site is a restaurant and accommodation
for those wishing to stay overnight. In summertime, the highland route of Lyngdalsheiði
provides a convenient shortcut to Thíngvellir for those traveling
on four wheel drive.
National Park - A UNESCO World Heritage site, Thingviller national
park is of immense historic and symbolic importance to Icelanders.
It was long
the site of the original Alþing, or national parliament of the settlers,
and the setting for many of the most important events in the history of the island.
is also renown for its geological significance. The area is located on the Mid-Atlantic
ridge, where the continents of Europe and America drift apart, causing Iceland's legendary volcanic activity.
Standing in the Almannagjá fissure, (see photo) the visitor
is literally situated between the continental plates. Thíngvellir
is also known for its exquisite beauty. The birch-covered lava fields and the
clear blue waters of Lake Thingvallavatn produce a harmonious, almost serene
Church - One of the extra stops on our tour was to visit this historical
site. The new church is set in beautiful surroundings and the stained glass windows
provide a riot of color in the simplicity of the interior.
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