Golden Circle

Most Popular Road Trip of Iceland

The Golden Circle is a famous tour of the south of Iceland. Its official name is Gullni hringurinn, which is Icelandic for Golden Circle. This autoroute is about 300 kilometres long. It runs from the capital Reykjavik to the southern highlands and back. Along the tour, you can see an unprecedented amount of sights on a small piece of land. These are the highlights to see on a Golden Circle road trip.

This tour is very popular. Think of people with little time, but as well for travellers who make a longer Road Trip over the island. You can visit at least three of the well-known attractions of Iceland on the Golden Circle. But there is a lot more to see. You can discover waterfalls, national parks, steep canyons, volcanic craters and more. With exceptional excursion like snorkelling in freezing water.

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The best route

You can drive this route in your rental car in various ways. You can of course stop at any of the places you want to visit. The list of attractions is long, although mostly only the absolute highlights are mentioned. But there is much more to see. I have driven the Golden Circle clockwise. In this article, I follow this order, so can easily do the trip yourself in that way.

Thingvellir National Park

Snorkelling and diving in the Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park. ©Wolfgang Poelzer

Thingvellir National Park is special as it is where the fault lines of Europe and America meet. This is clearly visible in the landscape. In fact, you can walk between the cracks. And even go snorkelling or diving here, which is a unique excursion. Discover the sights of Thingvellir National Park, called Þingvellir in the Icelandic language.

Read my article on Thingvellir National Park

Brúarfoss Waterfall

Brúarfoss waterfall in full force. ©Corno van den Berg

The lesser-known Brúarfoss (also known as Brúarárfoss) can only be reached via a lovely walk along no fewer than three waterfalls. Icelanders like to do this 6-kilometer (round trip) hike. One of the reasons is the bright blue water. This is due to the many minerals in the glaciers that feed the river.

Read my article on Brúarfoss

Geysir en Strokkur geysers

The bubbling water of geyser Strokkur in Iceland.

Geysir is the largest geyser in Iceland. But this geyser only sprays now and then. This is in contrast to the adjacent Strokkur, which spews hot water into the air every four to eight minutes. These geysers are worth a visit in any season.

Read my article on Geysir and Strokkur

Gullfoss Waterfall

The beauty of Gullfoss in winter.

Gullfoss Waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland. A serious amount of water falls into a gorge of 32 meters deep. It is mainly the amount of water that is impressive, although the setting is also nice. In addition, this waterfall is easy to reach, by car and on foot.

Read my article on Gullfoss

Faxifoss Waterfall

Faxi waterfall or Faxifoss in Iceland. ©Corno van den Berg

The Faxi waterfall in Iceland is not that well known. Maybe it's because he has multiple names, such as Faxifoss and Vatnsleysufoss. Most people ride past it doing the famous Golden Circle. I have to disagree on that. All the more so because at the Faxi waterfall you can see the water violence up close.

Read my article on Faxifoss

Hjálparfoss Waterfall

Hjálparfoss in Iceland. ©Corno van den Berg

Hjálparfoss is not one of the most famous waterfalls on the island. It is also not one of the largest, highest or otherwise special bodies of water on the island. But it is worth a visit because it is a double waterfall. And it sits beautifully between basalt blocks, making it look good in any season. In addition, it is located next to the road near the famous Golden Circle. So a stop is quickly made.

Read my article on Hjálparfoss

Kerid Crater 

De Kerid Crater in IJsland. ©Corno van den Berg

Kerid Crater is one of the many volcanic craters in Iceland. You can visit it upclose. There is a hiking trail around the crater, as well as a path to the lake in the middle. This stop is well worth it.

Read my article on Kerid Crater

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