If you read my last post, you will know that I recently went to Iceland. This country is one we have wanted to visit for a long time and there was so much we wanted to do there. As it is such an expensive destination, we only spent a few days there and had to narrow down what we wanted to do. Iceland is the most incredible country for nature and we wanted to see all of it but we had to prioritise to make the most of our short time there.
I originally booked the Golden Circle Express through Viator because were booked onto a Northern Lights tour the previous evening. As you don’t return from seeing the lights until early hours of the morning, we didn’t want to be getting up for an early excursion and the 1pm start time was perfection. The express version of the tour promised to see exactly the same as the full day excursion but in a condensed period of time.
Even though we didn’t end up attending the Northern Lights excursion the previous evening, the afternoon start was still a blessing in disguise. It is so hard to get out of bed in the morning when there is no sunlight until 11am. We were collected by Gray Line at 12:30 and taken to the main terminal where we switched to the coach… and from there, we had the most incredible day.
First of all, I would just like to say that Gray Line are an amazing excursion company. During our time in Iceland, we had two airport transfers and one excursion with them and they were perfect every time. Their customer service was great and the organisation of both transfers and tours was incredible. Plus, they seem a lot cheaper than a lot of the other tour operators in Iceland. I would highly recommend Gray Line if you’re ever looking for a transfer or excursion in Iceland.
Our tour guide was great but I couldn’t tell you his name I’m afraid, could I fuck pronounce it never mind spell it. He was knowledgable and witty but didn’t talk too much which was great. One of the main excursion complaints I get at work is that the tour guide spoke too much so it was great just to have some breaks and take in the scenery.
Then we come to the Golden Circle itself and there are absolutely no words to describe the beauty, we were both in absolute awe for the entire afternoon.
Our first stop was Þingvellir National Park with a viewpoint overlooking Þingvallavant, the largest lake in Iceland. This entire area was stunning and to top it off, it was snowing whilst we were there. The scenery was breathtaking with a frozen lake, snowcapped hills and adorable little houses. I could have walked for miles through the national park but sadly, it was our shortest stop of the day and we only had half an hour.
Our second stop was at Gulfoss and let me tell you, it was freeeeeeezing! Up until that point, Iceland hadn’t been any colder than the UK but I’m surprised we didn’t get frostbite from Gulfoss. Nevertheless, Gulfoss is a magnificent waterfall and at this time of year, has great definition to it with the icy sections. It is absolutely huge, so loud and sprays you in the face even though you stand quite a distance from it.
Once we had taken it all in and frozen our toes off, we headed inside the cafe to warm ourselves with a hot chocolate… only the cafe had a power cut so everyone was feeling their way around the restaurant and we sat in candlelight enjoying our drinks. It was an experience but also, kinda cute.
Our last stop for the day was at Geysir. If you don’t know, a geyser is a hot spring which intermittently erupts water and steam shooting it into the air. Geysir was the first geyser described in print and the English word geyser comes from it. Geysir itself doesn’t erupt very often but another geyser nearby, Strokkur is very reliable erupting every 6-10 minutes. We wandered through hot springs, not sure which was Strokkur until all of a sudden, a jet of water came from nowhere closely followed by a lot of steam. We stood and watched it quite a few times, amazed at how the world works before a wander in the gift shop.
We got to see all the main places we wanted to but in a condensed day. For Þingvellir, we got half an hour whilst for Gulfoss and Geysir we got an hour each. The only thing which would have made the tour even better would have been some extra time at Þingvellir but I’m glad we booked the express rather than the full day as for the other two stops, an hour was the perfect amount of time.
I honestly cannot fault the excursion or Gray Line and would highly recommend both the trip and the company if you are ever in Iceland. We had the most incredible day and it was a fantastic way to kick start our time in Iceland.
All opinions are my own and just that: opinions. This blog post was not sponsored or endorsed in any way.