Minibus Tour to the Golden Circle & Kerid Crater Lake
Everyone who makes a trip to Iceland must tread the Golden Circle area to enjoy three great wonders of Icelandic nature. We will pick you up in the morning and start driving to this great circle located at the south-east part of the country.
The first stop is the National Park of Þingvellir. It is the most important historical place in the whole country. It is here the Vikings founded their parliament known as Alþingi (the first democratic parliament in the world) in year 930 and assemblies were held at at the park until 1798.
Þingvellir was converted into a National Park in 1944 and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004, not just because of its historical importance, but also because of its exceptional geographical characteristics. The park is located on the boundary of two continental plates that are drifting apart. This continental drift (the movement of Earth's continental masses) can be seen in the faults and cracks that are in the area.
The most impressive thing to see is the gigantic crack caused by the separation of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, a fissure no less than 7 kilometres long! And it is getting bigger each year by about 2.5 centimetres.
Our second stop, the Geysir area, is where one of the most amazing phenomena on earth can be witnessed. The word 'geyser' is one of the few words in the English language that has an Icelandic origin. It means a type of thermal spring that erupts in a column of hot water.
Walking towards the centre of the plain, we will see small geysers with their boiling water, and although they are impressive, the best is yet to come.
The great hot spring Geysir, from which the word derives, is currently asleep but his little brother, Strokkur certainly is not. It is the most impressive thing you can see here. Approximately every 7 minutes this mighty hot spring expels hot water from the bowels of the earth creating a water column that reaches around 20 metres in the air.
Next up is Gullfoss, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland and of the most visited. The water in the river Hvítá travels south from Langjökull glacier before dropping down a 32-metre canyon in two 'steps', creating this beautiful cascade. On a clear day, we might see the impressive glacier Langjökull, Iceland's second largest glacier.
Our last stop will be Kerið crater lake, one of the most photogenic craters in the world. It was formed in a volcanic eruption about 6,500 years ago. It is located in what is known as Iceland's Western volcanic zone and is one of the several volcanic craters in the area.
It is believed that Kerið was once a volcano that emptied its magma reserve in an eruption. Once the magma chamber was empty, the cone collapsed. The caldera is approximately 55 meters deep, 170 meters wide and 270 meters long.
Explore Iceland and come along on this fascinating journey!
- Available: Oct. - Jan.
- Duration: 7 hours
- Activities: Sightseeing
- Difficulty: Easy
- Languages: English
Geysir is a famous hot spring in Haukadalur valley in South Iceland. Part of the ‘Golden Circle', Geysir gives its name to hot springs all over the world.
Though Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur, which spouts a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, around 15-20 meters into the air, Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
North of Geysir are fumaroles, i.e. unlike the hot springs that emit hot water, only steam and gas emanate from these. You may be able to observe bright yellow stains at the fumaroles, this is native sulphur, which crystallizes from the steam. At the southern part of the geothermal area, called Thykkuhverir, you‘ll find various mud pots. Such mud pots are actually fumaroles that boil up through surface water/groundwater and may become steaming fumaroles during dry spells, rather than the usual boiling mud pots.
About 2 km from Geysir is an old preserved natural pool called Kúalaug. One can bathe in it and it has room for 3-5 people at a time, but care should be taken, as the area around the pool is very delicate. The temperature is 39-43°C, depending on how you are positioned in the pool. The water is slightly muddy, as the pool is built on soil, and the bottom is slippery due to algae, so caution is advised.
In Haukadalur there has also been tree planting in recent times and today the forest Haukadalsskógur is one of the largest in South Iceland. Aspen, various types of pine, and other plants have been tried out there and experiments and research continue. We also recommend visiting the tree museum, built in the memory of forester Gunnar Freysteinsson. There are good paths and roads in the forest and the wood is specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Haukadalur has been a church site since ancient time. The current wooden church was last rebuilt in 1938 but the variety and appearance of the church dates back to 1842, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Iceland.
Haukadalur is indeed a historical place. It was settled during the age of settlement and scholar Ari “The Wise“ Thorgilsson grew up there. The first pastoral school in Iceland was also built there.
For accommodation, Hotel Gullfoss is about 7 km from the Geysir area, and closer still is the Hotel Geysir.
Hveragerði is a town and municipality in the southwest of Iceland, around 45 km from the capital Reykjavik. Around 2300 people live in Hveragerði. The river Varmá runs through it. The town is well known for its greenhouses and strong geothermal activity, in particular the nearby Reykjadalur valley.
In the scenic Reykjadalur ('Steam Valley') you have the hot water stream falling down the slopes of the valley. The mountain range is ideal for relaxing and the valley offers a rich variety of hot pools and geothermal springs. It is also possible to have a dip in the river.
There are nice botanical areas and parks in the town, many recreational activities are available, excellent hiking trails as well as nice hotels and a camping ground. A number of museums can be found, such as the Árnesingar art museum. The town hosts an annual culture and family festival in August.
Laugarvatn is a hamlet of around 200 people, by the lake of the same name and originally formed around the boarding school there. It is located in South Iceland, around 93 km from Reykjavik. Laugarvatn is popular as a summer resort and as a stop for travelers, as it is located near many of Iceland’s top attractions, such as Gullfoss and Geysir (part of the Golden Circle) and the ancient Skalholt bishop seat.
Environment & Spa
The environment of Laugavatn is very pleasant, as a forest has been planted there and brooks and streams further contribute to the scenery. A beautiful and shallow lake, Lake Laugarvatn is rich in aquatic life and good char and lake trout fishing can be made there as well. Boats and gear for watersport can indeed be rented at Laugarvatn. As the shores of the lake feature geothermal springs, it was decided to build a spa there.
At the Fontana spa at Laugarvatn you can relax in the excellent geothermal swimming pool and the three steam rooms known collectively as Gufan. The spa also features a Finnish-style sauna and three interconnected mineral baths. At the spa you can also enjoy the stone artwork of artist Erla Thorarinsdottir. At the Viska hot tub you’ll further have a nice view of the Laugarvatn surroundings. Vatnid (‘The Lake’) and Strondin (‘The Beach’) complete the experience, the black sand of the former having been shown to be beneficial to those suffering from joint illnesses and Vatnid offering a healthy cooling down between visiting Gufan and the Ylur sauna.
Gallery & Accommodation
While at Laugarvatn, we also recommend checking out the Gallery Laugarvatn, which features a wide display of Icelandic handicraft and offers bed and breakfast as well.
Laugarvatn has a boarding school that functions as a popular hotel, i.e. Hotel Edda, in the summer. A number of guesthouses, hostels, rental apartments and cottages are also to be found in the area. Laugarvatn offers all basic services and is highly popular throughout the year.
Kerið is a volcanic crater lake in Grímsnes in south Iceland. It is a popular stop when traveling the Golden Circle.
It is believed that Kerið was originally a cone volcano that erupted and and emptied its magma reserve. Once the magma was depleted, the weight of the cone collapsed into an empty magma chamber, later to be filled with water.
The Kerið caldera is composed of red volcanic rock and is around 55 m deep, 170 m wide and 270 m across. There is little vegetation in the steep-walled crater, save for one wall with a gentler slope which is covered with deep moss. This wall is fairly easy to descend.
The lake itself is fairly shallow and is striking in its beauty. Opaque and aquamarine, surrounded by the red crater walls, Kerið offers a great contrast of colours and a highly impressive scenery.
The acoustics of the crater are considered to be fairly good, and a number of concerts have been held inside Kerið. There is a small admission fee to visit Kerið, 400 ISK per person (as of 2017).
Starting time : 10:00
Entrance fee to Kerið
Food or beverages
What to bring:
Warm and waterproof clothes
It was one of my best decisions to do the tour with Guide to Iceland. Our tour guide Carlos, a Costa Rican native of Iceland, was phenomenal. We had a small group of 8 people. Carlos made every attempt to keep us engaged with him and between ourselves. His knowledge of Iceland history and ways of depicting the same with humour and wit was simply impeccable. He managed the time so well that we got some extra time for some additional stops like feeding horses and so on. The bus was well equipped with usb charging facility by each seat. Also, this is one of the few available tours which includes Kerid in the trip. I would strongly recommend this trip.