Golden Circle in Depth | Group Day Tour
Iceland is today one of the most popular destinations in the world. This roughly 103.000 km² island in the North-Atlantic ocean is Europe‘s 2.nd largest island and the eighteenth largest in the world. There is a lot to see and never enough time to see it all. One of the most popular tours to take is the Golden Circle Tour. In this comprehensive tour, you will be given a remarkable insight into Icelandic history and geology.
You'll be picked up and driven to the national park of Þingvellir. There, our ancestors established the parliament in the year 930 and named it Alþingi.
The park is located in a rift valley between two tectonic plates that are drifting apart. You can see the result of this shift clearly in the canyons and ravines, such as Almannagjá, that dot the area. You'll also get to see the beautiful waterfall Öxarárfoss.
From Þingvellir, you'll be taken through the small village of Laugarvatn to get to the amazing Geysir, the world‘s most famous hot spring. You will witness how the hot spring Strokkur will erupt, and it truly is an impressive sight.
From Geysir, you'll head out to Gullfoss, the queen of all waterfalls. You could say that this waterfall is one of Iceland‘s most renown landmarks.
The history of the waterfall is remarkable. The former owner of Gullfoss, Sigríður Tómasdottir, fought hard to keep the waterfall safe from being harnessed. She is remembered as one of the first environmentalists in Iceland, and she gained such support from the public in her fight for the waterfall.
The next stop is the Secret Lagoon. It is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. The pool's warm waters come from the local hot springs which are situated in the area. The Secret Lagoon is unique and absolutely the best place to stop at and soak in the hot spring water.
You will need a swimsuit and a towel, but both can be rented at the lagoon. Please note that the entrance fee to the Secret Lagoon is not included.
Skálholt is one of the places where you have to stop to reflect on the events that occurred at this beautiful historic site. For over 700 years it was an Episcopal see, a school, and seat of learning and administration. It is also where the last Catholic bishop in Scandinavia, Jón Arason, was executed on November 7.th 1550.
The last stop on this packed tour is Kerið; a volcanic crater formed 6.500 years ago. It is 50 metres deep and 250 metres in diameter. It is truly a remarkable phenomenon.
At the end of the tour, you'll be taken back to Reykjavík where you can rest after this excellent tour of the Golden Circle.
- Available: Oct. - Dec.
- Duration: 1 hour
- 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.
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).
The Secret Lagoon is a man-made hot spring of natural resources located at Hverahólmi, the geothermal area next to the village of Flúðir in southern Iceland.
The hot spring is situated within the range of popular tourist route the Golden Circle in the geothermal area of Flúðir, a village renowned for its greenhouse activity and general horticulture. A major advantage of this geothermal activity is the natural and age-old thermal pools to be found in the area. Hrunalaug is one of those, a minuscule and natural hot spring that has regrettably undergone a great deal of damage in the last years due to increased numbers of visitors. The Secret Lagoon, however, has been modified to accommodate a much larger number of people. It makes use of its natural terrain and geothermal heating, leaving the water at a temperature of 38-40° Celcius (100° Fahrenheit) all year long.
The pool was constructed in 1891 and is officially the oldest swimming pool in the entire country. Icelanders simply call it 'the old pool' or 'gamla laugin'. In the year 1909, the first swimming lessons took place in the pool, which continued until relocated to the new pool in Flúðir in 1947. Before the 1900s, the Icelandic people rarely knew how to swim, in spite of being a nation of fishermen surrounded by an ocean. The sea that surrounds the island was simply too cold to swim in. Today, near every single Icelandic person is an able swimmer, since swimming lessons are constructed in pools and are mandatory for every Icelandic child. After the opening of the new pool in Flúðir, the Secret Lagoon as good as fell into oblivion. It has since then been thoroughly renovated and enjoys a large array of visitors each day.
The area all around the hot spring consists of mossy lava fields and geothermal activity, including a small geyser that erupts every 5 minutes, or so which can be seen from the pool. The steam that rises from the surrounding terrain into the air gives the place its distinct and magical atmosphere.
Starting time : 08:00
Pick-up and drop-off in the capital area.
Food and beverages
What to bring:
Warm and waterproof clothes
Good to know:
All departures require a minimum number of participants in order to operate. The minimum for this tour is 4 persons.