Iceland: Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is the most popular tourist route in Iceland. Looping approximately 300 kilometres from Reykjavik into the Icelandic interior and back, its main sites are always the same: overlooking Þingvellir national park; the geothermal area Haukadalur, home to Geysir, which is so intermittent that tours tend to stop near Strokkur instead, a fountain geyser which erupts every 5-10 minutes reaching somewhere between 15-40 metres in height; and Gullfoss, the ‘golden falls’, which steps and plunges 32 metres into a crevice in the canyon of Hvítá river.

Depending on the tour, other stops on the Golden Circle can include Kerið volcanic crater lake; the greenhouses of Hveragerði, heated by water from volcanic hot springs; the historical area of Skálholt with its cathedral; Nesjavellir and Hellisheidarvirkjun geothermal power stations; Friðheimar vegetable farm, which specialises in tomato soup; Efstidalur farm; Fontana Spa; and the Secret Lagoon at Flúðir. Some will be compelled to spend time petting the Icelandic horses, while for those driving the Golden Circle themselves, Nesjavallaleið road is particularly scenic whenever it is not closed due to the wind and snow.

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