Katya and I got up early and went on a 20-30 minute search for breakfast, since most places don’t open in Iceland til at least 9am. We found a nice pastries shop, Kornid, that was open and grabbed some donuts from breakfast and a pair of sandwiches for lunch. We then headed to BSI Reykjavik, the bus terminal, and waited for our bus for the Golden Circle Tour. We’d be seeing several of Iceland’s most popular, and crowded, tourist spots: Þingvellir National Park, Gulfoss, Gyser, and Kerid. We also had a few bonus stops as well.
Þingvellir National Park – The park lies in a rift valley between two tectonic plates, and it’s home to The Alþingi, the national parliament of Iceland. It’s the oldest parliament in the world. It’s a beautiful valley with neat rock features, the Law Rock, peaceful rivers and and small church.
Efstidalur II – A laid-back farm-stay featuring a restaurant/bar & an ice cream shop/cafe, plus horseback riding. We had a quick stop here where we were told about the history of the farm and given samples of their ice cream, skyr, cheese, and whey. They also had a door just outside the main entrance where you could check in on the cute calves in the barn.
Gulfoss – These golden falls were really impressive, as it was a two-tiered waterfall with a wide but short flow. There is an upper and lower observation area. both easy to get to, though the lower view point gets very misty, but puts you right next to the upper falls.
Geysir – The Geyser that all other Geysers got their name from is no longer active, but Strokkur, a nearby geyser, erupts every five to eight minutes. The area is very smelly, due to multiple pools of sulfur infused water. Across the street is a giant building that houses several food options and a gift store. No outside food or drink allowed inside.
We also stopped along the road to check out some horses and you could fed them little horse candies.
Faxi – A small, but wide waterfall just of the road. Just a beautiful spot, there were a few guys fishing downriver from the falls. We only spent 15 minutes here, but it’d be a great place to relax for the afternoon.
Kerid- our last stop on the tour, Kerid is a volcanic crater lake, with rich blue-green water. Due to the iron-rich soil, the ground has a unique blood red color. Can hike around the rim of crater and around lake inside. There is a fee of 400 ISK to enter.
Though I usually dislike bus tours, I actually enjoyed this one. It would have been nice to get an extra twenty minutes or so at each place, but it was already a long day.
That evening we headed back to the harbor area to eat at Seabaron. Specializing in grilled fish and seafood on sticks, the place is small, inexpensive (by Icelandic standards anyways) and really delicious. I’d recommend the shrimp, scallop, and potato skewers and grab a bowl of their tasty lobster soup. It does get crowded so go early and enjoy the odd seating setup and the even odder statues in the back room.