Making your way to Iceland is easy, deciding on what to see on the other hand is quite hard as Iceland has so much to offer. One of the attractions that pop into mind when deciding on what to see and do is the golden circle, the most visited tourist attraction in all of Iceland. This popular route has been the number one “must see” since the beginning of tourism in Iceland. The golden circle, as the name suggests, is a circular route that will take you to see three unbelievable sights; the Geysir geothermal area, Thingvellir national park and Gullfoss waterfall.
How to get there? – a map of the Golden Circle
Click here for a Google Maps direction.
The sights along the way at the Golden Circle Tour in Iceland
Thingvellir – national park
The first stop on your way is Thingvellir national park. This historical site has been a rich part of Icelandic history with many significant events and happenings taking place there, making it a place of historical, cultural and geological importance. It is located in a rift valley which marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the longest mountain range in the world, which separates the Eurasian and North American plates.
Thingvellir is also famous for being the place where the Icelandic Parliament was established, in the year of 930. It remained there until 1738. Today Thingvellir is a part of a World Heritage Site. While at Thingvellir, you can visit the nearby visitor center for more information on walking trails, things to see and do, scuba diving and much more.
Laugarvatn Fontana – geothermal baths
Heading onwards from Thingvellir you will drive for around 20 minutes until you arrive at the town of Laugarvatn, a home of Laugarvatn Fontana, geothermal baths. Laugarvatn Fontana is a place where you come to relax and experience authentic Icelandic nature while relaxing in the warm geothermal pools and natural steam rooms. The baths vary in depth, size and temperature and the steam rooms that have been built over natural hot springs that have been used in this purpose since 1929. Fontana is located by a beautiful lake Laugarvatn and you can enjoy the spectacular views from the sauna or the pools.
Geysir – geothermal area
After enjoying a relaxing and reviving experience at Fontana it is time to get back on the road to see the next wonder on the circular route. And the next thing you will stumble upon is no triviality, it is the most popular Icelander of them all; the spectacular Geysir. This extraordinary site will surely amaze you with its natural elements that seem out of a science fiction rather than something found on this planet. Eruptions at Geysir can hurl boiling water up to 70 metres in the air and occur around 3-5 times throughout the day. The nearby geyser Strokkur however erupts more frequently than Geysir, erupting to heights of up to 30 metres every few minutes.
Gullfoss – waterfall
Continuing your journey from Geysir you will drive for around 5 – 10 minutes until you arrive at Gullfoss waterfall. This spectacular waterfall is on the Hvítá (White) river which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier; Langjokull. The waterfall is undoubtedly Iceland’s main tourist attraction and attracts locals and foreigners alike.
Flúðir and Reykholt – towns
Driving back from Gullfoss we recommend that you drive through the towns of Flúðir and Reykholt and then head onwards to Selfoss. The area is quite famous for its greenhouses, and at Fludir you will find the biggest mushroom factory in Iceland. The surrounding area of those towns is a popular location for summerhouses and Flúðir has excellent services available for visitors.