This March I decided to join The Pearl Tour with Mountaineers of Iceland. The tour description promises to experience some of the most exciting natural phenomena in Iceland and it could not be more accurate. The tour is based on two parts, exploring the Golden Circle which consists of Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Spring area and Gullfoss waterfalls; and a snowmobile tour on Langjökull glacier. The tour is suitable for individuals, groups and families. The combination of typical sightseeing with more adventurous snowmobile excursion makes the tour convenient for all kinds of travelers.
The day of the tour, we met around 8:30 in the morning and started driving from Reykjavík city center. Since Mountaineers of Iceland own professional super tracks and jeeps, the drive itself is an adventure. During the drive, our tour guide entertained us with interesting facts and funny stories about the South coast landscape as well as the highlands through which we were passing. Our group was small, only 5 people, including the driver and me. In the morning, the weather in Reykjavík did not seem ideal; it was very cloudy and a bit rainy. But once we left the city, the sun showed us the way and our adventure could begin!
Our first stop was Gullfoss, one of Iceland's most powerful waterfalls. Located on Hvíta river, Gullfoss plummets 32 meters in two stages into a rugged canyon. For me, Gullfoss is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the South coast and definitely worth visiting. Be prepared for a quite slippery terrain, many tourists and amazing views. The tourist centre close to the waterfalls is ideal for buying snacks and souvenirs.
After visiting Gullfoss, we drove to Langjökull glacier to experience another adventure - a snowmobile tour! This definitely was what I was most looking forward to. Langjökull, which translates into “Long Glacier”, located in the midwest highlands, is the second largest glacier in Iceland. It also is the most popular glacier in Iceland when it comes to hiking and skiing. However, it is not recommended to travel alone on Langjökull, as there are many cracks in the glacier. Many companies provide jeep and snowmobile trips to the glacier which guarantee an unforgettable experience in the highlands of Iceland. Mountaineers of Iceland seemed to be a close-knit company providing a good quality service and unique adventures. And this is exactly what our snowmobile experience looked like. After putting on a proper snow overall, helmets and gloves, we got professional instructions on how to operate a snowmobile. Next to adrenaline driving, racing and having fun, we could explore breathtaking views at the mountains. The snowmobile tour itself took around one hour and for me it was the highlight of the day. Since driving a snowmobile at the top of a glacier might get pretty exhausting, it is good to have a proper lunch after such an experience. Luckily Mountaineers of Iceland also think of that and one meal is included in your tour price. We went to a cosy place, which was surprisingly not very crowded, and enjoyed our well deserved lunch.
Our next stop was in a highly active Geysir Hot Spring area with the boiling mud pits and spouting hot springs. Geysir, the most famous geyser, has unfortunately not been active in the past years. On the other hand, Strokkur, the only active geyser in the area, erupts approximately every six minutes and promises an incredible show you will not forget so easily. The eruptions are usually around 20m high but sometimes can be higher (up to 40m) or smaller if they come too early one after each other. There are other small geysers and hot springs you can explore in this area.
From the Geysir area we headed to Þingvellir National Park, which was our last stop of this one day trip from Reykjavík. Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of Iceland's first parliament as well as the oldest extant parliamentary institution in the world. Founded in 930, Þingvellir National Park is considered to be the most significant historical site for Iceland. Not only history but also the geology of Þingvellir National Park should be a good reason for a visit. Situated between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plate, Þingvellir National Park is a real Icelandic wonder. It is actually not difficult to spot the continental drift traversing the area. Þingvellir is great for short hikes and extremely clean water in the lakes around is ideal for snorkeling, a unique activity in Iceland!
It all depends on the season during which you are joining the tour. In any case you will need warm and windproof clothing in addition to good and waterproof hiking boots. It is good to take a camera so you can capture the incredible Icelandic landscape and exciting moments on a snowmobile. It is important to know that a valid driver's license is needed to operate a snowmobile.
Pick up: Reykjavík downtown or your hotel around 8:30
Operation: All year
Duration: Approximately 9 hours
Price: 46,900 ISK
Included: Pick up from your hotel, guided super truck tour, one-hour snowmobile tour, appropriate equipment, lunch, drop off
I was invited to this tour by Mountaineers of Iceland. However, this article is entirely based on my own experience and thoughts.