The Golden Circle Tour is one of the top rated attractions for visitors to Iceland. I often shy away from taking guided tours as they can be overrated but there are times when they’re completely worth your time and money. This is one of them.
As I mentioned in my Christmas in Iceland post, I knew this was one tour I had to do. It includes three highlights – Gullfoss waterfalls, Thingvellir National Park and the Geysir Geothermal Field. While each site is beautiful, my favorite part was seeing the Geysir Geothermal Field at sunset.
Geysir Geothermal Field
The field is home to the first Geysir ever described in print form and has a surface area that spans 3 kilometers. While the original Geysir – also known as the Great Geysir – is now inactive, it’s little friend Strokkur is a happy little beast that shoots out boiling water, up to 40 meters in the air, every 5-10 minutes.
In the midst of Iceland’s winter, the hot temperature of the field revealed rare patches of green, small pools of water and various small holes emitting steam.
Walking towards Strokkur, I was captivated by it’s powerful, shooting eruptions and stood there and watched it quickly subside as the mist was captured by the wind and taken away in a matter of seconds.
A moment of relative calm between eruptions.
An eruption action sequence. Strokkur is quite the super star, willing to perform a demanding routine at such regular intervals.
I stood there transfixed, not sure whether to laugh or cry. It was such an emotional moment and I wasn’t quite sure how to take it all in. I wanted to hug someone, whoop with joy, or jump up and down with delight!
However, that would have been dangerous as the area surrounding the Geysir was a sheet of pure ice. Seeing as how I don’t even know how to ice skate (I’m such a bad Canadian), any jumping would result in me landing either face or ass first on the ground and maybe even injuring myself.
I ended up staying there to watch it erupt about 10 times, taking photos from as many vantage points as possible and capturing the Geysir in different states of eruption. Is it just me or does the last part of the sentence sound a little dirty?
Walking back to meet the rest of my tour group and head to our next destination, I was smiling from ear to ear.
Witnessing the eruptions, against the stark Icelandic landscape and pink, blue, orange hues of sunset surely goes down as one of my best travel moments yet.
Good to Know
- If you’re going to visit the geothermal field during winter, be sure to wear proper attire. It can be quite windy there and you’ll need a warm jacket, hat, gloves, etc. More importantly, wear proper footwear – believe it or not, I saw women in wedge heels and men sporting Converse shoes. It’s not a fashion show, people!
- The Golden Circle Tour is an easy day trip from the nation’s capital of Reykjavik.
- I booked this tour through Reykjavik Excursions, one of the few companies open on Christmas Day.
- The tour cost approximately $85 US or about 58 euros. It’s cheaper for teenagers and free for children under 11 years old.
- Pick-up and drop-off from your hotel/hostel is included in the price.
- Winter is the perfect time to visit Iceland. While daylight is limited around Christmastime (about 4 hours a day), it’s pretty easy to experience both sunrise and sunset and take photos like this.
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