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I have been to Iceland before but these trips have been catch ups with my best friend who lives there. As well as using her and her partner to see the more local side of Iceland (find out how I fell in love with Iceland here). However, I decided on my third visit it was about time I needed to see some of the sites Iceland is famous for! I started researching Golden Circle Tour trips from Reykjavík.
Why a Golden Circle Tour?
Because time was, as always, tight; the best trip for me to do was a Golden Circle Day tour from Reykjavik. The wonderful guys at Reykjavik Sightseeing booked me onto one of their Golden Circle Classic tours.
If you are short of time and want to see some of the amazing natural wonders Iceland has to offer, this is the day trip for you. You get to see some of the sights, and it is super easy and informative. Sit back, relax and watch Iceland sail by as you head to each destination.
How the tour works
I met the bus at their main terminal, but they can also help arrange transfers from your accommodation. The tour was on a large seater bus with comfy seats and great big windows. Definitely try and get there early, to make sure you bag a window seat!
The bus has WiFi and USB ports for charging in the back of the seats. Perfect for staying connected and keeping the social media up to date!
The best bit though, was the audio guide they provided us with. These were tablets, which had a live up to date map so you can track where you are throughout the day. At various points across the trip, the audio guide gives you further information about the history of Iceland, the traditions and cultures and also information on places you don’t stop at. I loved this, because it gives you context of where you are, rather than just driving through. And it definitely feels like you are getting more out of the tour.
On top of all this, we had the most amazing guide – Sigi. He was so friendly, so informative and made the tour so much fun. Any questions were answered, gave further information and was with us on the stops. He honestly made the tour.
Stop 1: Thingvellir National Park
First stop on the Golden Circle Tour was Thingvellir National park. Firstly, and most exciting, this was one of the scenes from Game of Thrones so I had some serious fan moments going on. But aside from this, Thingvellir is a pretty significant place. A UNESCO World Heritage site. It lies in the Rift Valley, which is the meeting point of the Eurasia and North American tectonic plates. The plates have pulled apart and so have created this valley. You can literally step off one continent and onto another. Sigi told us that because of these plates pulling part, Iceland is actually growing by about 2cm each year!
Walking down through the cliffs we stopped at the Law Stone. This performed the job of the parliament in Iceland from 930AD! It is now marked by an Icelandic flag flying on the spot.
Finally, we saw the drowning pool. Not the most cheerful spot! This lake was used for women who had been sentenced to the death penalty. It looked pretty chilly!
Stop 2: Geysir Hot Springs
This is the home of the iconic Strokkur Geyser. I think when one thinks of Iceland the Geyser is one of the first things that spring to mind.
I braved the rain to go and explore. Walking down the path to Strokkur, I passed lots of bubbling geysers, that don’t erupt. The path is roped off and Sigi told us not to step over the ropes: ‘Don’t be an Ed Sheeran’. Who apparently step over, into the hot water and melted his shoe. In addition to this, this causes damage to the moss which takes years to grow. So don’t damage it!
At the end of the path, is the main attraction,. Strokkur erupts every 5 – 8 minutes so you are definitely going to see it. Even though I knew what I was standing there waiting for, it still made me jump! It really is impressive to see the volume of water shoot into the air.
We also had lunch at this stop, as there are three options for food. I had some delicious tex mex soup, but do be prepared there are huge queues and quite a wait. The downside of a tourist area, were you have limited options.
Stop 3: Gullfoss
I have always wanted to see Gullfoss waterfall, so this was the stop that I had been most looking forward to. Unfortunately at this point, the continuous rain had turned into absolutely solid, sheet rain accompanied by incredibly strong sideways winds. However, I was not going to let this stop me seeing this phenomenon.
I staggered down to the first view point and it was definitely impressive! The sheer power of the water tumbling over the edge. I am always amazed at the noises a waterfall can make. I did make it to the second view point before heading back. Because of the weather I couldn’t go down to the platform nearer the waterfall. But it was enough, I had seen it! What a great final stop on the Golden Circle tour.
What to bring
Layers! It was cold. But more importantly, bring waterproof clothes. Even waterproof trousers wouldn’t go amiss. The weather in Iceland can change in a moment, so it is definitely good to be prepared.
Shoes – trainers won’t do. Bring sturdy, waterproof shoes with a good grip!
Final thoughts on Golden Circle Tour
If you are short on time, or want to take a day trip from Reykjavik – the Golden Circle Classic with Reykjavik Sightseeing is the one! As someone who had never seen any of the sights in Iceland before, this really wet my appetite.
Obviously, as you are on a group tour you are limited to how long you can spend in each location, but I found I had plenty of time in each.
It was great as a solo traveller (I took the tour alone), as I didn’t have to worry about negotiating the roads of Iceland or worry about how to get to each location. Everything was taken care of, and I learnt a lot more than I would have otherwise. A perfect day I think!
Blogger Transparency: My tour was offered to me by Reykjavik Sightseeing with compliments. But, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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