Sorry in advance if this post is ridiculously long, basically yesterday was THE best day ever!! The tour we decided to take was booked through Sterna Travel (situated in the Harpa building), it did cost quite a bit but, in my opinion it was worth every penny. We departed from outside Harpa at 10.30am after meeting our lovely guide lady and the other person in our group. The first stop was the Þingvellir rift valley. Having learned about plate tectonics since probably the age of 11, it felt pretty weird to be walking in the middle of the Eurasian and North American plates! The views were great, even if my photos look a bit naff.
The next stop on the tour was to the geysers. I was most excited about this because I remember it as being the best part of my trip 5 years ago and it definitely didn’t disappoint this time round! The first one you come across when walking into the park (which was absolutely packed with coach loads of people) was Strokkur. This is the biggest geyser and erupts roughly every 5-8 minutes. We found ourselves waiting for the perfect shot with cameras/phones at the ready for pretty much the whole time we were in the park. (By the way all of my photos on this trip are being taken with my iPhone 5c). I managed to get some great photos of the geyser erupting.
We stopped off at Gullfoss next and as we were pulling up our tour lady told us some of the stories/legends behind it and the lady who ‘owned it’ refused to sell it to the government to make money and that she became known as the first conservationist in Iceland. It was great to have an Icelandic guide to tell us random stories as we were driving around (even if the microphone didn’t work and we were all too polite to tell her). Gullfoss was incredible! So much bigger and more striking than I remember it and the sun came out just in time for us to see a rainbow over the top of it! We took a few pictures at the top and then walked down the path to the bottom for a closer look. We got absolutely soaked by the ‘upwards rain’ as somebody called it, but luckily we were prepared with our raincoats for this. Apparently this path is only open during the summer months and I can see why, I would’t fancy slipping on ice and falling to my death in a giant waterfall!
The final stop of the day was to the secret lagoon. Everyone I’ve mentioned it to back home seemed surprised that we didn’t go for the classic trip to the blue lagoon, but, when you’re on a very tight budget and the trip is going to cost over £70 we thought we’d go for the cheaper option. The secret lagoon is actually the oldest swimming pool in Iceland and from 1909 to 1957 it was used for swimming lessons. When a new pool opened up, the secret lagoon became deserted until it was refurbished and opened again a few years ago. What was most amazing was being able to swim past the geysir which was heating up the pool and actually not being able to get too close because the water was so hot! We were also able to walk around the back of the pool and take a look at the bubbling pools.
Having been to the blue lagoon last time I came to Iceland, I’d definitely recommend taking a trip to the secret lagoon instead, it was more cultural and wasn’t filled with coach loads of tourists.
If you’re visiting Iceland for only a few days and want to get as many things done as possible while there, this tour is a very very good idea. It was brilliant value for money, there wasn’t too much rushing around and the company seem very friendly (our tour lady even dropped us home afterwards). Definitely the best day here so far!