The Golden Circle is one of the most popular day trip activities in Iceland and is comprised of Þingvellir National Park, the Great Geysirs and Gullfoss Falls. These attractions are well-known around the world and are bucket list items that should be visited during anyone’s first trip to Iceland. This set of attractions offers a glimpse into Iceland’s incredible history and views of its expansive landscape.
Þingvellir is a stunning national park in Southwest Iceland, about 45 minutes from Reykjavik, that sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Crowds of tourists flock to this attraction every year to walk between the two continents, see the beautiful Öxarárfoss waterfall, go snorkeling at Silfra and hike out to the abandoned farms of Skógarkot. Read more about the best tips and things to do when visiting Þingvellir National Park here.
The Great Geysirs are among the most well-known geysers in the world and it’s not uncommon to see large congregations of visitors gather around Strokkur, the famous geyser that reliably goes off every 2-5 minutes. This site, which is about 45 minutes further east of Þingvellir National Park, features many different geysers to check out. Strokkur is the main attraction and it’s worth staying to see it explode a few times since it runs so frequently. Geysers are such a rare natural phenomenon that you should make sure to go out of your way to check them out!
Gullfoss is an iconic waterfall of Iceland, offering a spectacular view of the two powerful drops. Only located 5-10 minutes down the road from the Great Geysirs, this attraction rounds out the Golden Circle and is quite a final view to marvel at. On especially sunny days, visitors can see rainbows appearing from the splashing water coming off the falls. During the summer, you can walk right up to the edge of the falls – if you don’t mind getting a bit wet! Find out why we recommend stopping at Gullfoss Falls here.
While not necessarily considered a member of the Golden Circle family, the Kerið Volcano Crater is a nearby stop close to this circuit that should also be included on your list of places to visit. Kerið is a volcanic crater lake in South Iceland and is thought to have formed when the magma in the center simply depleted itself, creating what is there today. You can walk around the edge of the crater to capture some epic photos, or even walk down into the crater itself if you’re feeling it! See why it’s worth going out of the way to see Kerið Volcano Crater here.