The Golden Circle takes you through the most magical sites within easy reach of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik. On this route, you will truly experience why Iceland is known as the Land of Ice and Fire. Read more...
The Golden Circle in south-western Iceland, is a route that encompasses some of the most impressive natural sights in the world. As though a catalogue of natures greatest achievements, this route is under 250km and the perfect trip for those time-poor travellers who still want to experience the wonders of Iceland.
Encompassing the UNESCO listed Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir Geothermal area, all of these sites are within 100km of Reykjavik and are easily toured in a day. Better yet for those who have the time, an extended trip to take in other nearby wonders, just a little further afield, is well worth your time and money.
But what is so special about these places? Thingvellir National Park was the location of Iceland's first parliament, stretching all the way back to 930 C.E. where 48 chieftans would meet to negotiate and discuss their communities' futures. This park is also where the Eurasian and North American tetonic plates are slowly moving away from each other. The resulting deep rents and fissures in the earth are astounding and in one such, Silfra, visitors can even scuba dive or snorkel in the icy glacier waters that fill it.
Haukadalur is home to the original geyser, the Geysir Geothermal area. Although geysers have of course existed for a long time, it is the Geysir geyser that gave them their moniker. Today, the Geysir no longer erupts after the earth shifted during an earthquake. However, the Strokkar geyser is very impressive, spouting boiling water thirty metres in the air every ten minutes or so.
Gullfoss waterfall is where the raging Hvita river falls about thirty metres into the pool below, creating clouds of mist. Visitors can walk down into the valley and admire the rainbows that glimmer in the spray - make sure you have a rain jacket though!
Beyond the three traditional stopping points, Bentours also recommends visiting the Langjokull glacier where you can go into an ice-cave. As there are many cracks in the glacier, visitors should only travel here with experienced guides on a tour, such as our short Journey into a Glacier tour (also encompasses the Golden Circle). On this tour, you will have the chance to explore the man made ice tunnels in the glacier, which at some points is 528m thick, as well as naturally forming ice caves.
Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths is another worthy addition, where you can relax in the volcano heated pools and behold the magnificent landscape. Efsti Dalur Farm is a great place to stay in this area and we recommend having a dip at Laugaskard. Kerid Crater lake is another impressive sight, with the large lake situated in a collapsed magma chamber of a volcano. The result is volcanic red walls under sparse greenery and a beautiful deep lake, which you can easily walk down to.
Experience the Golden Circle and beyond through one of our Iceland itineraries, tailor-made to suit your travel desires!