The Golden Circle hits some of the most popular places that you can visit in Iceland. Running through the southeast of Iceland, the route can be completed in a day if desired, at a length of just 300 miles.
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is Iceland's biggest national park and has a lot to offer those who take joy in different sceneries and landscapes. Research has made it clear that Þingvellir is a natural wonder on an international scale, with the geologic history and the biosystem of Lake Þingvallavatn forming a unique entity, a magnificent showcase. The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth's crust and there are great hiking trails through the area.
Laugavatn is a lake close to Þingvellir on the road to Geysir and Gullfoss. In the Laugavatn there is a very active geothermal area and a new spa in the small town by the lake uses that natural heat and steam to create a very relaxing atmosphere.
Geysirs are an absolute must-see on your journey around Iceland. The Great Geysir sits on a geothermal area is that is very active and blows hot water out of the ground as high as 60 meters on a good day but only erupts a few times every day. Another nearby Geysir, Strokkur, however, erupts every few minutes.
Gullfoss waterfall is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. The river Hvítá rushes southward. About a kilometer above the falls it turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 m and 21 m) into a crevice 32 m (105 ft) deep. The crevice, about 20 m (60 ft) wide, and 2.5 km in length, extends perpendicular to the flow of the river. The average amount of water running over this waterfall is 140 m³/s in the summertime and 80 m³/s in the wintertime. The highest flood measured was 2000 m³/s.
As you first approach the falls, the crevice is obscured from view, so that it appears that a mighty river simply vanishes into the earth. There is a looking point on the edge of the waterfall that is not for the faint-hearted but the view and closeness to the awesome power of nature from that point is something that we would recommend for all visitors.
On the way back to Reykjavik there are a few options for the return trip, I recommend heading to the small town of Flúðir were we use the thermal heat to grow a lot of our fresh fruit and vegetables in greenhouses. In the correct season, you can get fresh products straight from the farmer.
Selfoss is a small town on route 1 that has shops and restaurants. From there you can head straight into Reykjavik or turn to the south coast road towards Grindavik and check out the Blue Lagoon or Kleifarvatn on the way. Both places offer something unique and we recommend hikes in the area around Kleifarvatn on a regular basis.
We hope you check out the Golden Circle and all its great experiences on your next trip to Iceland.