Iceland’s Golden Circle
For a rip roaring good time on your next trip to Iceland, put Iceland’s Golden Circle on your itinerary. It represents a compact 300 km area about 1 hours drive from Reykjavik and wallops a true travel punch. The area can be done as day trips out of Reykjavik or lodging in Selfoss or Geysir is recommended. You can take tours or rent a car out of Reykjavik but I prefer the rental as you get to go at your own pace, the roads are well marked and thus hard to get lost and the scenery is jaw dropping and stopping for pictures is requisite for the trips.
The Iceland Golden Circle consists of these hotspots:
- Gullfoss waterfall
- Geysir + Strokkur geysirs
- Thingvellir National Park (spelled locally as Þingvellir)
Geysir + Strokkur Geysirs
Like clockwork these geysers release energy 150 feet into the sky. Don’t mind the sulfur smell, I kept telling myself I would get used to it. The valley within the Golden Circle is a geothermal hotspot and like Old faithful in the US, Geysir doesn’t disappoint with its regular releases of hot vaporous energy. Click on the wikipedia Geysir info for more.
A short drive north from Geysir is the almighty Gullfoss. It’s a mama of an Iceland waterfall and it’s rumbling strength can be heard from miles away and if you dare, you can get extremely close to the falls for some terrific memos of your near death experience. Which reminds me of another place you can have a similar near death experience in Ireland.
WARNING: You will get you wet, wet and more wet.
Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park is a cultural as well geological gem. It’s cultural significance lies in its history and the founding of parliament in this region which led to, you guessed it, the nation of Iceland. This park also is strikingly beautiful from the largest natural lake in the country, some waterfalls and cool rock fissures ( thank you mid Atlantic ridge). The park is enormous but some of the more touristy sites are bunched together with parking nearby (lookout, the church, and waterfall Öxarárfoss (Ax falls). You can camp here and spend at least 2 days exploring or see in 1 day depending on your itinerary.
Don’t let the Icelandic language throw you off, Þingvellir is the correct spelling, Þ = ‘th’ sound. I have dumbed down the spelling for new visitors but often found myself basically making up the sounds to words with the foreign letters. It’s a fun car game- Name that sign!