I’m not generally a big fan of bus excursions; I detest being herded around with a bunch of other tourists, ordered to get off the bus here, take a picture there and then get back on the bus.
However since I had limited time in Reykjavik I thought I would give this one a go. I was undecided between doing this Golden Circle tour or doing a whale-watching trip and in the end I picked this. I have seen whales before; in fact I ended up quite underwhelmed by just seeing tails appear and disappear in the far distance. Plus I was a bit underdressed. I was afraid whale watching out in the bay would be a bit cold for me in my little summer cardi.
So decided; Golden Circle it was.
The golden circle refers to a circle starting out from Reykjavik. Trips do vary but usually it starts with a visit to the Geysir geothermal area where the Strokkur geyser shoots a column of water into the air every 5-10 minutes or so.
Then we went just up the road to Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall, which was pretty spectacular.
Trivia Alert!!!!! The falls appear on the cover of Echo and the Bunnymen’s album Porcupine.
Then finally we travelled on to Þingvellir (clue: Þ is pronounced th) National Park, where the continental drift between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates can be seen.
These plates are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimetres per year, forming canyons. Some of these canyons are filling with cold, clear water and offering great diving opportunities.
I took this tour with a company called Reykjavik Excursions, although there are a couple of other companies offering largely the same deal. The guide was very knowledgable and entertaining. If, like me, you have limited time (I only had three full days here) it is an excellent choice, however I really wish I’d had the time to explore these places independently, particularly Þingvellir, as there were so many other things to do there.
Ah well, there’s always another time.
Sarah’s useless Iceland fact: The population of the entire country comes in at just under 340,000 people, of whom half live in the Reykjavik area. For comparison, the London Borough of Southwark (where I live) has almost as many (around 303,000). Iceland has a lot of free space.