Nesjavellir – (Road closed in Wintertime) First stop on the Golden Circle Tour, located near Thingvellir and the Hengill Volcano, is Iceland’s second largest geothermal power station, Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station. In 1947 boreholes were drilled in order to evaluate the area for possible power generation. From 1965 to 1985 the area was researched and in 1987 construction work of the station began and the cornerstone was laid in 1990. Servicing the Reykjavik area, the power station produces 120MW of electrical power and delivers 1,800 litres (480 US gal) per second of hot water to Reykjavik.
Thingvellir – A place of great natural beauty and history, Thingvellir National Park is one of Iceland´s most precious gems. Walk the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the boundary between North America and Eurasian tectonic plates, which are slowly pulling Iceland apart. In 930 AD Iceland´s chieftains from Iceland´s ruling families gathered at Thingvellir and established the Icelandic parliament (the world’s oldest). The parliament was held at Thingvellir until 1798 when it was moved to Reykjavik where it has been since.
Geysir Haukadalur – Geysir in Haukadalur Iceland is sometimes known as The Great Geysir. It is the first described geysir in print and the earliest geysir known to Europeans. The oldest accounts of geysir in Haukadalur are from 1294. Several new hot springs hotsprings were created due to earthquakes in the area. The activity of the geysir is strongly related to earthquake activity. Following a earthquake in 2000 Geysir was revived after a period of inactivity and the column of water was shot up 122 meters for two days. Today the bigger Geysir erupts around three times a day. A smaller geysir in the area, Strokkur erupts with more frequency than Geysir, erupting every 5-10 minutes up to the height of 30 meters. The activity of Strokkur is also affected by earthquakes, but to a lesser extent than the bigger geysir. In the area there are around 30 much smaller hot pools and geysirs in the area.
Gullfoss – Gullfoss or Golden Falls is a waterfall in a canyon of the Hvita river in Iceland. It is and has been for years one of the more popular tourist attractions in the country. Much speculation was in the first part of the 20Th century to use Gullfoss to generate electricity. The waterfall was rented indirectly to foreign investors, but their efforts to harness the waterfalls were in wain, partly due to lack of funds. The then owners of Gullfoss Tómas Tómasson and Halldór Halldórsson later sold Gullfoss to the state of Iceland. If the Hvita river had been utilized to generate power it would have changed Gullfoss forever. Gullfoss is today protected.
Kerid – Last stop on the Golden Circle Tour before heading to Reykjavik – In the Grimsnes area of south Iceland is Kerid. Kerid is a volcanic crater lake and one of several in the area and a part of what is known as Iceland´s Western Volcanic Zone. The Iceland´s Western Volcanic Zone also includes the Reykjanes Peninsula.