It is, without a doubt, the excitement of night-time excursions Aurora Borealis hunting in the wilds of Iceland that draws most visitors in the winter. However, the “land of fire and ice” is equally spectacular by day, with some of the most popular activities being day trips around the island’s stunning sights and scenes. One day trip, following the trail of the Golden Circle, is an absolute must for travellers exploring Iceland’s dramatic terrain.
Venture Away From the City
Aurora borealis hunting is best done as far away from the glare of city night lights as possible. Most guides facilitating the hunt will take viewers out to extremely remote areas for the most optimal opportunities. While outside the busy bustle of the city of Reykjavik, it is possible to join group tours or sign on for a self-guided tour of the Golden Circle. Be sure to set out early as there is plenty of ground to cover and you won’t want to miss any of the major sights.
Thingvellir National Park
The first stop on the Golden Circle loop is Thingvellir National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is both geographically and culturally significant to Iceland. The park is part of a fissure zone that runs through Iceland and you can even see the rifting of the earth’s crust in the ground’s surface. This site of natural beauty is also historically important, as it was the original home of Iceland’s parliament – Althingi, which was established back in 930AD. Thingvellir gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status back in 1994.
Great Geyser and Strokkur Geyser
The second stop on the Golden Circle loop is the stunning geysers of Iceland, namely the Great Geyser and the Strokkur Geyser. The powerful, natural jet of spray that extends over 20m into the air from Strokkur is simply breath-taking. The acrid smell of sulphur in the air and the surrounding bubbling hot pools are a constant reminder to visitors the sheer power behind this force of nature. The Strokkur Geyser and the Great Geyser have been around for over 10,000 years and are still impressive today.
The Gullfoss Waterfall
After evenings of exciting Aurora Borealis hunting it is hard for many to contemplate anything being equally beautiful. However, the final stop on the Golden Circle adventure is the Gullfoss Waterfall, which is renowned for its awe-inspiring grandeur. The huge cavern that swallows up the rushing waters of the falls is 61ft wide and makes a wonderful finale to a trip to see the Northern Lights.
A trip to Iceland filled with nights of Aurora Borealis hunting will be a trip to remember. However, the island has many beautiful sights and scenes to fill your days in between the night time hunting. The Golden Circle is simply stunning and not to be missed.
Source by Abigail Collins