One of the most popular travel destinations and tours around Iceland is the Golden Circle. It’s a road that takes you from Reykjavik into the southern uplands and back to the city. This route is famous for the amount of beautiful, historical, and natural spots it has. There is not road quite like this one. Here you can find geysers, a volcanic crater lake, geothermal springs that are definitely worth a stop, and many waterfalls. That’s probably not all you can find on this nature road. I just didn’t have as much time to discover everything around this road because there is much to see and not enough daylight.
Must-see points of interest on the Golden Circle Road:
- Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in all of Iceland. Recognized for its unique history and geographical location. Þingvellir is the only place in the world where the tectonic plate rift is above sea-level. You can hike alongside both of these plates in the park. One of the most enjoyable trails called the Almannagjá gorge takes you between the edge of the North-American plate and has a beautiful waterfall within it.
- Silfra is a newly opened rift between the continental plates. Over time Silfra filled up with Langjökull water, Iceland’s second-largest glacier, creating the purest natural body of water on the planet. The water is so clean that it has a visibility of more than 100 meters (300 feet) underwater, making it the most unbelievable once in a lifetime diving and snorkeling experience!
- Geysir Geothermal Field is where you’ll find The Great geyser and The Strokkur geyser. This field is one of the most favorite spots on The Golden Circle road. Because of boiling mud pits and the exploding Strokkur, which spouts water 30 meters (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. As well as visit the Geysir Center, it has a coffee shop, souvenir store, and loads of information about the area.
- Gullfoss Waterfall is not far from the Geysir Geothermal Field. It’s a massive waterfall that reminds me of Niagara Falls. The waterfall cascades down two huge rocky steps, before disappearing into the deep gorge. Gullfoss holds tremendous power, which you can experience for yourself when you walk towards it.
- Kerið is one of the most recognizable volcanic craters in Iceland. It was once a typical cone-shaped volcano, but after an eruption some 3000 years ago, the top has collapsed into its empty magma chamber. Over time a small lake was created inside the create. In the summer, the lake has a majestic color vivid aquamarine, and in the winter, if you’re lucky enough to have figured out a way to get down to the create, you can stand in the middle of what used to be a volcano.
Extra Stops on the Golden Circle Road to view (that I didn’t have the chance of seeing):
If you are traveling in the summer and have a whole day to spend on your Golden Circle adventure, you can extend the tour by adding a few extra stops. Here are a few additional places to consider:
- Gjabakkahellir Cave
- Thingvallakirkja Church
- Faxi waterfall
- Friðheimar Greenhouses
- Hvítá River Base
- Efstidalur farm
- Skálholt town
- Slakki Zoo
- Sólheimar Eco-Village
Find out more about the Golden Circle by reading this guide “Iceland’s Golden Circle | Ultimate Guide and Top 9 Detours.” As well as read a few guide books about Iceland, my favorite is the The Rough Guide to Iceland.