Why You Should Explore the Golden Circle in Iceland
Take one minibus, the Gullfoss Waterfall, the Geysir that started all geysirs, one excellent tour guide and you’ve got your first day in Iceland covered. The Golden Circle tour with IG Tours was the perfect way to start the expedition portion of our trip to Iceland. Here are a few reasons why I think you should go.
1. You get picked up in a sweet Mercedes-Benz minibus.
We got picked up from our hotel around 9 AM, dressed in tons of layers (seriously, like six sweaters each), and hopped on a cute Mercedes-Benz minibus. The bus ride is pretty smooth, and if you hadn’t had a lot of sleep, you can pass out comfortably for the driving portions of the trip.
OY, BUT WHY IS THIS SO MAJOR?
If you don’t know already, Iceland’s weather is way past bipolar. It’ll hail one minute, snow the next, then the clouds will leave and the sun will come out to play. You’re confused.
There are lots of people who don’t like tours because they’re “limited” in what they can see or how long they can stay. These people usually rent cars and try to drive around the island by themselves. These same people are the ones who ran off the road during the snowstorm that came out of nowhere during our tour.
We drove right by them in our sweet little Mercedes-Benz minibus. They weren’t alone, though. There was a huge tour bus that was right there with them, slid off the road and unable to move. This is another reason why small group tours are the way to go.
2. You get a free history lesson.
If you choose to stay awake when you’re riding around the island, you’ll know a lot more about what you’re seeing, which can make you put a lot of geological mysteries in perspective. Take, for instance, the steam coming out of the ground from all different directions. WTF?
Because of all of the volcanic activity going on inside the Earth, the water is heated geothermally – yes, remember the Blue Lagoon? That means the people of Iceland don’t need to heat their water – at all. The water comes out of the ground HOT; so hot in certain places, that it’ll burn your socks right off. Awesome for us in the hotel rooms, though – no waiting on hot water. It might actually take longer to cool it.
3. You still get to stop and say hello to the pretty Icelandic horses.
They’re free, playful but don’t pretend to give them any food.
Icelandic horses were brought over from Norway back in the day on ships with the Vikings. Due to limited space, they had to select the strongest horses that would be able to survive the tough trip over. Hello, survival of the fittest. Over time, the horses have adapted to the harsh winters, limited food supply – they’re shorter, stockier and just that more badass. Oh, and don’t ever call them ponies.
4. You get to see the Geysir that started it all.
This badboy is the reason why any geysir is called ‘geysir’ – it’s the original hole in the Earth that makes super hot water shoot out of it. I didn’t think it would be that cool until I saw how blue the water inside the hole was. The water is over 100 degrees Celsius – rumor has it people have burned the bottoms of their feet trying to walk as close as they can on the ground surrounding it. I decided to stay in the designated area. On a cloudy/gray day it’s a bit more difficult to see how high the water shoots up, but here’s an awesome gif I made anyway.
What what. So good.
5. You’ll get to see the most epic waterfall EVER – the GULLFOSS.
This is not just any waterfall. It’s like a million waterfalls all falling into one massive waterfall. Oof.
Climb up to the top, stay at the bottom, or make your way up to the cliff for a different perspective on this magnificent display of Mother Earth. We people are mere ants.
It snowed, hailed and the wind was unforgiving but this view was every bit worth the climb to the top.
Big big thank you to IG Tours for letting me tag along with them for this tour. It was one hell of an experience, and I couldn’t recommend this tour more!
So, are you gonna go?
Watch some of my favorite moments from Iceland here: