The island of Iceland is definitely the most magical and mysterious of the Nordic countries. Even the name of the country is magic. Iceland. A land made of ice. So cold and appealing at the same time. By doing The Golden Circle tour you will discover the country´s definitive highlights.
Iceland’s capital Reykjavik is for sure a city with lots of fun to do while there, but you might want to experience some of the country´s beautiful nature as well, which can be found outside the capital. When I visited Iceland some years ago we had our base in Reykjavik and did day trips by car from there.
The Golden Circle is the far most popular tourist trip on Iceland. The route is about 300 kilometres long, starts and ends in Reykjavik and covers the southwestern inland parts of the island. Sights to be visited are the geysers Geysir and Strokkur, the Gullfoss waterfalls and the Thingvellir national park.
Geysir and Strokkur geysers
Geysir, who gave the name to the phenomena geyser, has been inactive for many years, but Strokkur continuously erupts every five to ten minutes. It´s usual height is about 15 to 20 meters, but the eruption can be up to 40 meters. The geyser was first mentioned during the late 18th century, and kept being active until an earthquake blocked it early 20th century. In 1963 locals cleaned away the blocking parts and Strokkur immediately started to erupt regularly again.
In addition to the geysers there are hot springs all over the area.
The river Hvita flows down three minor falls forming a stairway before it abruptly plunges down another two stages, 11 meters and 21 meters, forming the waterfall. When I was visiting Gullfoss a rainbow was visible over the splurging water in the upper three storey stairway. I am not sure if I was lucky or if it is always there, but it was really beautiful. In the opposite direction you can see the river Hvita forming curves and the impressing landscape.
Thingvellir national park
The national park is located in an alley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which separates the Eurasian and North-Atlantic plates. South of the park is Thingvellirvatn; Iceland´s largest lake. Sone of the rifts are filled with water, making several canyons in the area. The movement of the two plates often makes measurable earthquakes in the area.
Other places of interest along The Golden Circle
Others places to stop along the route is the Scalholt Cathedral and the Kerid volcano crater. The Kerid crater is approximately 3000 years old, and is 55 meters deep and 170 meters wide. At the bottom the crater is filled with clear blue water and the crater is perfect for a stroll around.