On this trip, you will experience all the best which Iceland has to offer!
Everything between the mountains and the sea: glacial rivers, beautiful landscapes, wild scenery, and three of our most famous places of course: Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Geysir Geothermal Area. We will also visit Hellisheidarvirkjun's Geothermal Power Plant.
The Golden Circle is for you whether you are young or old. On this trip, you will experience all the best which Iceland has to offer, everything between the mountains and the sea: glacial rivers, beautiful landscapes, wild scenery and two of our most famous places, of course, Gullfoss and Geysir.
(English: Golden Falls) is a waterfall located in the canyon of the River Hvita in Southwest Iceland. Gullfoss is one of the most beautiful and is without a doubt the most popular waterfall in Iceland. The wide Hvita rushes southward from the glacier lake of Hvitavatn (English: White River Lake) at Langjokull, a glacier about 40km north of Gullfoss. About a kilometer above the falls the river turns sharply to the left and flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages of 11 and 21 meters into a crevice which is 32 meters deep.
The crevice is about 20 meters wide, 2.5 km in length, and is at right angles to the flow of the river. The average amount of water pouring over this waterfall is 140 m³/s in the summertime and 80 m³/s in the wintertime. The highest flood volume was measured at 2000 m³/s. During the first half of the 20th century and some years into the late 20th century, there was much speculation about using Gullfoss to generate electricity. Foreign investors who rented Gullfoss indirectly from the owners wanted to build a hydroelectric power plant, which would have changed and destroyed Gullfoss forever.
Sigridur Tomasdottir, the daughter of Tomas Tomasson who owned the waterfall in the first half of the 20th century obviously felt very strongly about this. She lived at a farm nearby and loved Gullfoss as no one else. She was determined to preserve the waterfall in its present condition and even threatened to throw herself into the waterfall. However, the attempts of the investors were thankfully unsuccessful, partly due to lack of money. Today everyone can see the memorial to Sigridur at the top of the falls which depicts her profile.
Geysir, situated in the Haukadalur valley in Iceland, is the oldest known geyser. The English word "geyser" to describe a spouting hot spring derives from Geysir. (The name Geysir itself is derived from the Icelandic verb gjósa, meaning to erupt. The English verb gush is probably related to that word.) Geysir lies on the slopes of the hill known as Laugarfjall, which is also the home of the geysir of Strokkur which erupts every few minutes nowadays and is about 50 meters south. Eruptions at Geysir can hurl boiling water and steam up to 70 meters in the air.
However, eruptions may be infrequent and have in the past stopped altogether for years at a time. The oldest accounts of a geyser at Haukadalur date back to 1294. Earthquakes in the area caused significant changes in the local neighboring landscape creating several new hot springs. Changes in the activity of Geysir and the surrounding geysers are strongly related to earthquake activity. Records dating back to 1630 show the geysers erupted so violently that the valley around them trembled. In recent times earthquakes have tended to revive the activity of the Geysir which then subsides again in the following years.
No single place epitomizes the history of Iceland and the Icelandic nation better than Thingvellir. At Thingvellir – literally "Parliament Plains" – the Alþing General Assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Thingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. Today Thingvellir is a protected national shrine.
According to the law, passed in 1928, the protected area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the preservation of the Althing. In the last few decades, research has made it clear that Thingvellir is a natural wonder on an international scale, with the geologic history and the biosystem of Lake Thingvallavatn forming a unique natural entity, a magnificent showcase. The ability to witness the evolution and the formation of new species in a place like Lake Thingvallavatn is of immense value.
The Thingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth´s crust. Thingvellir was declared a national park in 1930. A law was passed designating Thingvellir as "a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged."
The Hellisheiði Power Station is the largest geothermal power station in the world. The facility is located in Hengill, southwest Iceland, 11 km (7 mi) from the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station. The plant has a capacity of 303 MW of electricity and 400 MW of hot water. It is the largest geothermal power station in Iceland, in terms of installed capacity.
We hope that you will really enjoy your trip and acquire great memories from Iceland to share with your friends and family when you get back home.