As you'll have probably guess by now, Iceland was one of my favourite trips so far and on our final day, Jess and I had booked a tour of the Golden Circle. I know a lot of people like to drive this themselves and I imagine you see a lot more of Iceland's beautiful countryside when you do but as we didn't have a lot of time and neither of us have a great sense of direction when in a car, we booked a tour with Gray Line. We were picked up directly from our hotel and got on a coach with the other people on the tour and although it was a very long day with lot's of long coach journeys and pretty crappy weather, it was such an amazing experience and I'd definitely recommend it for anyone visiting Reykjavik.
THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK
One of Iceland's National Parks is the first stop on this tour and it's the meeting point of the Eurasian and the North American Tectonic Plates and you actually get to walk between the point which they meet which is pretty damn cool in my opinion. Because of the time of year we went, it was still pretty dark when we arrived here and the weather was awful. It was foggy, cold and absolutely pouring down but it didn't make the landscape any less beautiful so I can't even imagine how it looks in the sun!
The lake stretches on as far as the eye can see and there are the shadows of mountains in the distance, with amazing views no matter which way you turn. You can walk for miles in this area and I imagine that it's a beautiful place to explore if you've got more time but as we only had an hour or two here, we walked between the plates in the lava cliffs, took in some of the beautiful scenery and hopped onto the coach towards the next destination. I know I saw a lot of people taking the full route around the park which is something that would be amazing in warmer weather perhaps!
The moment I saw Gullfoss Waterfall for the first time was probably one of my most breathtaking travel moments. I've seen waterfalls before but I've seen absolutely nothing like Gullfoss. It's absolutely huge with icy water crashing down, cliffs overhanging the unforgiving flow and steam rising up through the mountains. It's a must if you're going to Iceland and I could have probably spent all day looking at it. The waterfall is 32 metres high and thanks to viewing areas and close paths, you can even feel the water spray onto your face. By this point though, Jess and I were absolutely soaked to the skin - I've never seen rain like it at this point and my beloved Olympus Pen even got water damaged because of how heavy the rain was! We retreated into the cafe and had some (very expensive) lunch. We were told by so many people to try the lamb soup at the cafe here because it's supposed to be absolutely amazing but neither of us eat lamb so we gave it a miss. If that's your cup of tea though I've heard countless raves about it!
Our final stop of the day was the geothermal area of Geysir and this is what I'd been looking forward to. This area is full of the natural geysers that erupt boiling hot water into the air and it did not disappoint. We could have stood and watched the largest one erupt over and over again and it didn't get any less breathtaking the more we watched it. Also, no matter how many times we watched it, both of us jumped a mile every time it shot it's hot water into the air, even when we knew for sure it was coming! This was one of those things I thought I'd only ever see on the TV and it was simply wonderful to experience in real life.
We booked the Golden Circle Classic Tour with Gray Line and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to experience more of Iceland during their stay in Reykjavik. We had a couple of our tours with Gray Line and they were really efficient and we knew exactly what we were doing and at what times so I'd definitely book with them again if I were to go back to Iceland. Don't forget to check out my travel category for the rest of my Iceland posts!