Journey with us as we tour Iceland’s Iconic Golden Circle Route
How to circuit the Golden Circle
Golden Circle tours are a crowd favourite amongst visitors in Iceland. But if you’re feeling adventurous, you can drive it yourself and go on an exciting road trip!
The Land of Ice and Fire
is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. It exudes beauty at every corner, surrounded by natural wonders of all sorts. It’s the absolute perfect location for those who love the great outdoors.
The Golden Circle is a popular route in Iceland and makes for the perfect day trip for those who are strapped for time. As tourists embark on this circuit, there are three main destinations that one will come across – Thingvellir National Park; The Geysir Geothermal Area; and the Gulfoss waterfall.
Thingvellir National Park: Where The Earth Drifts Apart
Located 40 kilometres from Reykjavik, the first stop on the journey is Thingvellir National Park. As the country’s first national park, this is one of Iceland’s most famous national treasures for various reasons. While the Park boasts an assortment of natural phenomena at every glance, Thingvellir is also rich in history. This national park is where the first Icelandic parliament met thousands of years ago. In fact, it was more of an open-air parliamentary assembly than an actual building.
While it may not seem like it, tectonic activities are underway in the park. At Thingvellir, you will actually see the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet and get the opportunity to walk through two continents at the same time. Other sights that are not to be missed include Lake Thingvellir and Þingvallakirkja – one of Iceland’s first churches.
Geyser Hot Spring Area
As you continue driving through the Golden Circle route, you’ll arrive at the Geysir Geothermal Area in the Haukadalur Valley. In this area, you’ll cross paths with two of the most famous Geysers in Iceland – the Great Geysir and Strokkur Geysir.
The Great Geysir, or just ‘Geysir’, is the first documented Geysir in all of Europe. Despite being active for almost 10,000 years, it has unfortunately been dormant since 1916. But once, in 1984, it was said that the Geysir sprouted hot water up to a height of 170 metres!
In contrast to the sound inactivity of the Great Geysir, Strokkur is the complete opposite. The Geysir erupts every 10 minutes and boiling water shoots up to 40 metres into the air. As you journey on the Haukadalur Valley, you will come across more natural sights such as smaller geysers, bubbling mud pots, as well as several other hot springs.
Smack in the middle of the Golden Circle route, Gulfoss is considered to be the most extravagant waterfall in all of Iceland. ‘Gulfoss’ translates to ‘Golden Waterfall’ in Icelandic, which is a fitting title as the water turns into a golden-brown colour on a bright, sunny day!
From river Hvítá, the Gulfoss waterfall plunges into a 32-metre crevice, giving onlookers the illusion that the falls are disappearing into the ground. As it plunges into a gorge, its unique formation begins to unfold – visitors never fail to marvel at the flowing body of water as it cascades down.
Unlike most other waterfalls, the Gulfoss Waterfalls is said to be best viewed from above than below. But whichever view you stand from, there is no doubt that it will still take your breath away.