GOLDEN CIRCLE IN ICELAND
The Golden Circle is the most popular route in Iceland and the nearest to Reykjavík. The reputation is well earned as it includes some of the most fascinating natural monuments in Iceland. This circular tour includes Thingvellir National Park, where you can find the area where the division of the tectonic plates of Europe and North America is visible, the impressive golden waterfall of Gullfoss; and the geothermal area of Geysir and Strokkur, where you will spot a geyser erupting up to 35 metres high. There is no better way to start your trip around Iceland.
- What is the Golden Circle in Iceland?
- The Golden Circle is a circular tourist route you can complete in one day departing from Reykjavík, along which you will discover three of the most important attractions in Iceland: Thingvellir National Park, the geothermal area of Geysir and Strokkur and the impressive Gullfoss waterfall. It is a great tour to take on your first or second day in Iceland as it is a great presentation of what Iceland can offer and it is also a great area to spot the Northern Lights on winter nights.
- How can I explore the Golden Circle in Iceland?
- There are different ways of exploring the Golden Circle. You can rent a car and do it in one day returning to Reykjavík at the end or you can join one of our one-day tours, which includes different experiences apart from the main attractions, such us the Secret Lagoon, sustainable farms or snorkeling in Silfra. You can also join to one of our multi-day trips that includes this area or you can add it to your itinerary in your fly and drive package. After that you can continue along to the South Coast of Iceland on your own.
- Which places can I see in the Golden Circle area?
- Here is the list we have compiled with the best places within the Golden Circle area:
- Thingvellir National Park: Designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2004 due to its historical and geological importance. Here the first Icelandic Althing parliament was founded in 930. But it is not only for its history or natural beauty that the Thingvellir National Park stands out but also for its geological characteristics. Here is the division between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. This division is visible in the faults that run through the region, some of which are filled with clear water.
Geysir and Strokkur geothermal area: Have you ever wondered where the word geyser comes from? The term derives from the Icelandic verb "gjósa", which means to erupt, and comes from no less than "the great Geysir", one of the most impressive examples of this phenomenon in the entire world. Unfortunately, "the great Geysir" has been inactive since the beginning of the 21st century, although at any moment it may surprise us again. That is why, today, his little brother Strokkur is the great attraction in the area, erupting every 6-9 minutes and reaching heights of 35 meters.
Gullfoss Waterfall: With a drop of 32 meters in height and a flow of 140 cubic meters per second in summer, the water descends on the canyon of the Hvitá River with a brutal force, forming a great roar. A very safe path passes very close to the waterfall, allowing you to witness a spectacle suitable for a movie. The water plummets in two falls (11 and 21 meters) into a 32-meter deep crevice, which is about 20 meters wide and 2.5 kilometers long. On many occasions, the great curtain of water causes a huge rainbow to form over the waterfall, creating a dreamy postcard. Do not forget to bring a raincoat since sometimes the water can reach you.
Kerid Volcanic Crater: A volcanic crater lake located in the Grímsnes area of southern Iceland. Kerið is believed to have been a cone volcano that erupted and emptied its magma reservoir. Once the magma was depleted, the weight of the cone collapsed into the empty magma chamber.
Skálholt Church: It is a Lutheran church belonging to the Church of Iceland and which commemorates the Christianization of Iceland. Its sober design, inspired by traditional churches, incorporates modern elements.
- Secret Lagoon: The Secret Lagoon is located in the small town called Fludir, about a half hour drive from the famous Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area. Known as the oldest swimming pool in Iceland, you can enjoy a fabulous thermal bath in the middle of nature and live a purely Icelandic experience. The natural environment of the pool and the steam that rises in the air creates a magical feeling. The warm water is kept at 38-40 degrees all year round. Throughout the area there are several geothermal points and a small geyser that erupts every 5 minutes.
Fontana geothermal spa: Geothermal baths located between the Thingvellir National Park and the Geysir geothermal area. You can soak in a natural pool, listen to the bubbling hot springs in the steam rooms, or take a dip in the refreshing lake.
- What activities can I do in the Golden Circle?
Of course the first thing you have to do is sightseeing, you cannot leave the Golden Circle without bearing witness to the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir and Strokkur geothermal or Gullfoss waterfall, but the Golden Circle has more to offer. In the Thingvellir National Park you can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience of snorkeling in Silfra (the clearest waters of the world!). There is also a snowmobile tour that departs from Gullfoss to explore Langjökull glacier, in West Iceland. And you can have a relaxing geothermal bath in the nature in two of the most famous places in Iceland for that: the Secret Lagoon or Fontana geothermal Spa.
What kind of tours can I join to see the Golden Circle?
If you are staying in Reykjavík, you can simply join to one of our one-day tour to see the Golden Circle. If you want to make the experience even more amazing choose the tour with snorkeling or the one with the Secret Lagoon. If you are travelling on your own, don't forget to book your entrance tickets to Secret Lagoon or Fontana in advance and, if you are more adventurous check the Snorkel or Diving at Silfra or the snowmobile at Langjökull glacier, which departs from Gullfoss. You can also book one of our multi-days trips to explore Iceland further so you don't have to worry about where to go next.
How many days do I need to explore the Golden Circle?
Only one day is enough but if you prefer to experience it in a more relaxing way, why not spending a couple of days in this amazing area? You can find nice walks, take a comforting warm bath in the nature and much more! Moreover, if you come in winter you will have great chances to see the Northern Lights so don't rush and enjoy your time in Iceland.
Should I stay overnight in the Golden Circle?
Although it is not necessary as you can see it from Reykjavík, there are really nice accommodations in this area with perfect locations to spot the Northern Lights on winter nights. Contact us and we will arrange if for you. If you are travelling on your own around Iceland consider this area to stay instead of Reykjavík and check Hveragerdi as the place to stay between the Golden Circle and the South Coast.
When should I visit the Golden Circle?
You can visit the Golden Circle during the whole year. Just don't forget your camera and come well dressed. It doesn't matter if it's winter or summer, the attractions of the Golden Circle will be there awaiting for you.
The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in Iceland that includes three major attractions:
Thingvellir National Park: This is a UNESCO World Heritage site where visitors can walk between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, which are slowly drifting apart.
Geysir geothermal area: This is a geothermal field where visitors can see Strokkur, a geyser that erupts every few minutes, shooting water up to 30 meters into the air.
Gullfoss waterfall: This is a spectacular two-tiered waterfall that drops 32 meters into a narrow canyon.
In addition to these three main attractions, there are other places to visit along the Golden Circle route, such as the Kerið volcanic crater, the Secret Lagoon hot spring, and the Friðheimar greenhouse, where visitors can see how tomatoes are grown using geothermal heat.
The entire route is approximately 300 kilometers, and it's recommended to plan for a full day to visit all the attractions and take in the scenery.
Pictures from the Golden Circle tours in Iceland:
Important note: All activities in the Icelandic nature are carried out under the own responsibility of the clients. ISLANDICA s.r.o. is not responsible for any accidents that may occur during the activities or due to the actions of the participants. The people who participate in these outings are accepting these conditions when booking a tour. ID 830