Iceland: The Golden Circle

Jun 30, 2013

‘The best of Iceland in one day’ is definitely one of the most popular slogans you’ll hear about this well-known circle accessible just outside of Reykjavik. My guess is that the popularity of this overly touristic route is indeed based on its convenient location more than what it actually has to offer, and our brilliant idea to save the best for last didn’t quite convince us. But what do I mean exactly? To start with, there are three major stops on this loop that include Thingvellir national park, Gullfoss waterfall and Haukadalur geothermal area that’s home for the famous geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Individually speaking each of these is pretty significant and even mind-blowing, it’s more the bigger picture that’s less appealing.

The sense of serenity and raw nature is wiped out by countless tourist busses and souvenir stalls that are built next to the parking grounds, and the ongoing stream of people replaces the distinctive feel of Icelandic solitude. Safe to say, that couldn’t be further away from the real deal of this country. Aside from that, we ended up seeing some very cool things during this circuit and I'm still glad we went for it. Here are the highlights of the Golden Circle in pictures:

Thingvellir national park



To seal the day in a very special way, we still had something else up our sleeve…a hidden hot spring! We had looked up the coordinates back at home and ended up driving to a middle of nowhere to find this spot, but the joy once we lounged in that hot water…indescribable! Honestly, there couldn’t have been any better way to end our day (or the entire trip for that matter) than that! 

But every hour spent in that water brought us closer to our departure, and we had to start heading back to Keflavik and our guesthouse. The drive was gorgeous through green hills that later turned into deserted lava field as we approached the ocean side. We got to watch our last sunset as we arrived to Keflavik, and along with the day, our incredible time in Iceland had come to an end. About six hours later we were already on the plane back home…

{All photos © Voyages of Discovery}


Did you know that...
- The entire route is about 300km from Reykjavik and back.
- Thingvellir National Park is listed as UNESCO world heritage site and it has a strong cultural and geological relevance- it’s the point where the Eurasian plate and North American plates intersect.
- Gullfoss (The Golden Waterfall) is Iceland’s most famous waterfall and has two separate falls: first one has three steps staircase and the second one right after falls into a narrow gorge.
- Strokkur erupts every 4-8 minutes whereas the Great Geysir is currently inactive.
- Haukadalur is home to many (less known & smaller) geysers and hot pools

Find more info for the area here and here
- For all southern Iceland


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