Located on the remote Arctic edge and sitting upon one of the world’s most volcanically active zones, school trips to Iceland involving the Land of Fire and Ice is a magical combination of thundering waterfalls, gushing geysirs and rugged scenery, where activities such as hiking across glistening glaciers contrast with a soak in a steaming hot spring.
Adventurers to this land of extremes are spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding which of the breathtaking wonders to behold. But one thing is for certain… no geography student or teacher can tick Iceland off their bucket list without having embarked on the Golden Circle tour!
What is Iceland’s Golden Circle?
Iceland’s Golden Circle consists of three of the country’s most iconic sites; Thingvellir National Park, Geysir and Gullfoss. Whilst the order and inclusions of the tour can vary, the Golden Circle is so-called because the classic route departs from Reykjavik and loops into the southern uplands and back.
The Big Three
Þingvellir National Park
One of Iceland’s most important geological and historic sites, Þingvellir National Park, is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, sat atop the tectonic plate boundary of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area show the spreading of the earth’s crust, with its wide rift valley separating the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate.
Venture with your budding geographers between the steeply rising fissure walls, witness the striking waterfall at Oxarafoss, gaze across the rift valley to appreciate the reality of plate tectonics at a divergent boundary and discover more about the site of Iceland’s first parliament.
Geysir Geothermal Area
Another stop on the Golden Circle tour is the Geysir geothermal area where the main attraction is the spectacular Strokkur Geysir which erupts every 8-10 minutes.
Home to various other hot springs, bubbling mud pools and lively eruptions, you’ll also find Great Geysir, living up to its name as one of the greatest natural wonders in Iceland. In fact, all other geysers in the world are named after Geysir and although it rarely erupts these days, when it does, it can eject water vapour up to an impressive 80 metres in the air.
Just one of Iceland’s many iconic waterfalls, Gullfoss is untouched nature at its best!
With various viewing platforms around the two-tiered waterfall, as well as wooden boardwalks and information boards, you’ll see its powerful water plummeting 32 metres down into its rugged gorge, with walls that reach up to 70 metres high. When the sun is shining, you’ll be able to see a shimmering rainbow curving over the falls.
As you journey Iceland’s Golden Circle Route you could choose to include some additional options into your day:
- Kerið Crater
- Secret Lagoon
- Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse
- Ljósafoss HEP Station
- Efstidalur Farm
- Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Station
Take me there!