Day #2 was the only of the days that we booked an actual tour. We had seen a deal through WowAir for a Golden Circle and Northern Lights Tour combo. They worked with Reykjavik Explorations to give us an insanely good deal. I'm not sure if I would go through a tour company (once I start telling you about day #4 and day #6 you'll understand why) but for the price and the convenience of thoughtlessly sitting on a bus it was a good experience!
When you book most tours in Iceland they have an option (generally free with ticket purchase) to be picked up directly from your hotel/hostel/guesthouse. This is absolutely amazing and makes the process seamless. Our guesthouse was not one of the approved locations, but the company automated an address for us to be picked up at that was legitimately right across the street. So, for those that are weary about renting a car, I would say that it isn't necessary with the convenience of these tours.
Our whole itinerary was planned out by the company and went as follows:
9:15am- Pick up at Guesthouse by Tour Shuttle
As I already said the tour company will pick you up where your staying and shuttle you to the bus depot where you will get your larger tour bus.
10:00am- Start Golden Circle Tour
The tour was broken up into three different stops that were each about 45 minutes away from each other with about an hour on each end of driving to and from the city. The tour guides were extremely informative and gave us a wealth of knowledge about the varying landscapes, natural elements, history, and basically anything Icleandic you could imagine.
11:00am- Arrive at Pingvellir National Park
The first stop was at Pingvellir National Park to explore the mountains, lava fields, and scenery. It was a gorgeous first stop and the landscape was stunning! We departed 45 minutes later after taking countless pictures.
12:30pm- Arrive at Geysir
Geysir is a small area on the Golden Circle that is known for its hot springs and geysers (hence the name). This huge geyser erupts every 5-10 minutes so we stayed for a few eruptions to get the pictures we wanted. This stop also is our lunch stop so we got fish and chips and related in the warmth of the lodge.
After we left we had another 45 drive to the next stop but we passed a volcano on the way named Hekla. This volcano was due to erupt any day and we were right in the presence of it! We were urged to book a tour as soon as word got out that it had erupted because seeing that sight is near once-in-a-lifetime. Unfortunately it didn't erupt in our time there, but it was still extremely cool to be there around the time it would.
2:30pm- Arrive at Gullfoss Waterfall
The last stop on the Golden Circle Tour was the Gullfoss Waterfall. Of all the waterfalls we saw on the trip this one was the most massive. Walking up we could hear the rushing water. We couldn't get close because of the force of the water, but the views were breathtaking. Whereas the other we visited later in the week were tall and narrow, this waterfall was wide and massive and reminded me of the scale of Niagra Falls.
The pictures we got were amazing! It was a perfect end to the tour. When we returned to the city the bus dropped us back off at our guesthouse, which was, again, extremely convenient!
6:00pm- Quick Dinner in Reykjavik
We only had a short amount of time before the shuttle would pick us up for the night-time portion of the tour. We grabbed a quick Italian dinner which I would rate as sub-par. I didn't even bother looking it up for you all because it's nothing to write home about. But... it was food and we needed a hearty dinner before venturing back out to chase Northern Lights.
8:00pm- Depart for Northern Lights Tour
Of all of the things we did this was by far the most disappointing. Not because the tour was bad, but because we missed the Northern Lights. It was the only clear-sky night of our trip (which is needed to view the lights) so we were hopeful that they would pop up in the couple hours we were out there. To no avail we left the countryside field at 10:30 with no viewing of the lights. I will absolutely be planning future trips to ensure I cross off this bucket-list item.
After a long and eventful time we were exhausted! Would I take a tour again- No. Did I enjoy myself- Yes.
Day #4 was my favorite so make sure to check back tomorrow for the full itinerary!