After breakfast we meet our local Icelandic guide and a bus to begin possibly the most classic excursion on Iceland: The Golden Circle.
You can look forward to magnificent scenery and an exciting insight into the dramatic millennium-old history of Icelanders. We begin at Skálholt, where the island’s bishop’s diocese was established in 1056.
Unfortunately, an 18th-century earthquake destroyed most of the original diocese. From the present church, built in the 1960s, there is a great view of the surrounding countryside, and in clear weather, Iceland’s most famous volcano, Hekla, is visible in the horizon. About 40 kilometers from Skálholt we’ll find the Gullfoss waterfall, possibly the most impressive sight in Iceland. Dropping 32 meters in terraces through a deep gorge, Gullfoss was known by the outside world at the beginning of this century. A short drive from Gullfoss is Geysir, the hot spring giving name to all other geysers. Geysir began erupting in the late 13th century, becoming dormant afterwards for many years. It became active again a er a volcanic eruption in 2000, but today it is considered to be asleep.
Its immediate neighbor Stokkur is wide awake, regularly spewing boiling hot water masses 20 meters into the air, an impressive sight! On our way to UNESCO-protected Thingvellir National Park, we stop at Laugarvatn, a popular excursion destination for Reykjavík residents who come here during weekends to relax at the hot springs. Thingvellir is a fascinating geological place as well as being the frame of the oldest parliament in the world, dating back to the year 930.
The Icelandic Alting, where all major historical decisions were taken, gathered here until 1798.
Together with Iceland’s largest lake, Thingvallavatn, the area was laid out as a national park 1930. The many gorges and cracks that run through the Thingvellir plain mark where the Mid-Atlantic Spreading Zone “goes ashore” and two of the Earth’s major tectonical plates, the European and American plates, move apart. At every little earthquake in Iceland, Thingvellirsletten and Iceland become a little bit wider!
A lunch will be served during the excursion. Upon returning to Reykjavík the rest of the evening is free in Reykjavík. The city has a large and rich selection of restaurants for all tastes and wallets and is definitely worth a night out.