Ahhh… the Golden Circle. This is a classic stop on most people’s Iceland adventure. It is a fissure zone featuring all sorts of unbelievable landscapes as a result of shifting plates. It is also home to the Thingvellir National Park. It is one of the only places in Iceland that feels like a typical American Park meaning there are signs and fences and lots of tourists. This is interesting to note, because, what makes Iceland Iceland is the lack of people.
You won’t find this here at the Golden Circle, but you will get to experience the Scandinavian landscape via the tectonic plate shift valleys, insane waterfalls, unique crater hikes, tall geysers, and wild horses. This fissure zone is all quite stunning and breathtaking. And, to top it all off, it's a great place to drive away from the noise pollution of Reykjavik to see the Northern Lights.
Make sure to visit these stops along the Golden Circle and download the Map as a Guide:
STOP NO.1: THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK
STOP NO.2: GEYSER AREA
Strokkur is one of two large geysers in the Haukadalur Valley. It is also the only one that is currently active. Interestingly enough, it is also the most reliable geyser in the world guaranteeing you a performance.
STOP NO.3: GULLFOSS WATERFALL
The dramatic Gullfoss waterfall was one of my favorite stops on the Golden Circle. It was incredible, powerful, and quite moving. Be prepared to walk away wet from the plume of water this fall creates.
STOP NO.4: KERID (OR KERIÐ) CRATER
Due to weather conditions, I couldn't visit this crater, but google it. It is an amazing mineral crater of red and oranges and a must if you have the time.
STOP NO.5: THE SILFRA FISSURE
At Thingvellir lake you can snorkel through the Silfra Fissure. This is basically a crack between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. It is home to the only place in the world where you can snorkel or dive between two continental plates. This is on my bucket list once I complete my diving certification!
OTHER NOTABLE STOPS:
Skálholt Cathedral – Built after Iceland adopted a religion. This catholic church is the largest Cathedral in the country.
Laugarvatn Fontana – If you are into natural (unlike the Blue Lagoon) hot springs, steam baths, geothermal pools, then this Spa & Wellness center is the place for you.
The Geothermal Energy Exhibition: Interested in how geothermal energy is harnessed? Stop by this energy plant to get a better grasp on sustainable energy presentations.
Hveragerði – Another geothermal park, this stop offers hot springs and other nature adventures.
One of the biggest tips that I could give you no matter where you are traveling is to download google maps, not just the app but the actual maps themselves. This is especially important in situations like Iceland where reception is not always ideal. Download the map below to see all of the stops mentioned above: