Golden Circle Tour (east and northeast of Reykjavik)

Pingvellir National Park

Pingvellir National Park, located about 40km northeast of Reykjavik, is a site of geological, historic and cultural importance and up to today is one of the most popular tourist destination in the country. It is situated in the northern shore of Pingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest natural lake.

It  lies  in  a  rift  valley  that  marks  the  crest  of  the  Mid-Atlantic  Ridge  and  the  boundary between  the North American (to the west) and Eurasian (to the east) tectonic plates.

 The  national  parliament  of  Iceland  was  founded  here  in  930,  and  sessions  were held  until  1798.  It became a national park in 1928 to protect the remains of the parliament site, and in 2004 it became a World Heritage Site.

Pingvellir  is  notable  for  its  unusual  tectonic  and  volcanic  environment. The  Almannagja  canyon  was formed  by  the  continental  drift  between  North  American  and  Eurasian  Plates,  which is  visible  in  the cracks or faults surrounding the area. 



Known  as  The  Great  Geysir,  this  is  another  major  tourist  attraction  in  Iceland.  The  entire  world’s spouting hot springs are named after this Geysir, which is located about 100 km east of Reykjavik.  

Geysir is situated in the Haukadalur valley, on the Laugarfjall hill. The Strokkur geyser is located about 50 metres to the south. 

Eruptions  at Geysir  can  hurl  boiling  water  of  over  60 metres  high,  where  the  oldest  accounts  of  hot springs  in  this  area  date  back  t0  1294.  Changes  in  activity of Geysir  and  the  surrounding geysers  are very much influenced by earthquake activity.

Gullfoss Waterfall

This majestic waterfall located in the canyon of the Hvita river, about 120 km northeast of Reykjavik, is the last part of the Golden Circle Tour. Gullfoss offers a spectacular view of the forces and beauty of untouched nature right on the river that is fed by Iceland’s second largest glacier, the Langjokull.  

The  water runs  down  32 metres  in  two  stages  into a  rugged canyon,  of  which  the  walls  are  up  to  70 metres  in  height.  On  average,  the  amount  of  water  running  down  the  waterfall  is about  80  cubic metres per second in the winter, and 140 cubic meters per second in the summer.

Aurora Borealis (third evening, second sighting): In the evening, around 9PM, we started our second hunt for the northern lights outside Reykjavik. We were very lucky, again!  

IcelandAdam MitchellComment