Iceland's Golden Circle | A Day Trip from Reykjavik17 August 2015
We had a lot of things we wanted to do and see in Iceland. To cram it all in, we took a full-day tour to the Golden Circle to see some of the most popular natural attractions just outside of Reykjavik.
Our original plan was to rent a car to sightsee around the island at our own pace. If you have the means, I highly suggest considering doing that, but others' accounts of the unpredictable winter weather in Iceland ultimately influenced our decision to take guided tours instead. We saw more going this route since we had several days of challenging weather, but I often felt rushed. The Icelandic countryside offers such an alien terrain; much of it surprised me, and I wanted to stop the bus to get out an explore. But the thing about taking a tour is that the trip no longer belongs to you. Your journey has an agenda, and I'm the type of girl that doesn't do very well with agendas while traveling.
Hellisheiði Geo-Thermal Power Plant
The first stop of the tour was to visit Iceland's largest power plant. Iceland has used geo-thermal resources to create sustainable energy for over 70 years! The Hellisheiði power plant offers an educational exhibit where you'll learn that the plant was built on plate tectonics that move in opposite directions, creating energy. This makes Iceland virtually independent from relying on expensive imported oil and fossil fuels, which are much harsher on the environment.
I was a bit disappointed to learn that admission to the geo-thermal power plant was an additional 5 EUR on top of the already hefty price tag of the tour itself. If you book this tour, I recommend factoring that into your overall budget. There is no other option but to sit in the atrium of the plant or go through it.
Kerid Volcanic Crater
I was bummed during our van ride back to Reykjavik because I wanted so badly to continue exploring this other-worldly countryside, but I was also excited for what was to come next. We'd be heading out to hunt for the Northern Lights a few hours after our arrival back to the city center, which was something that I'd been aching to do for quite some time!