Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle Through Photos

Geysers,Iceland Golden Circle

Our trip to Iceland was a surprise, probably the best birthday surprise I’ve ever received. But because of that, I wasn’t able to plan and instead my partner was in charge of our schedule. Luckily he did an amazing job putting together a fun and well-rounded schedule including the popular first-time tourist tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle.

In its simplest terms, the Golden Circle is a 300 km loop into central Iceland that includes three primary stops: Þingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss and the active geyser region. But of course it’s so much more than that. Instead of trying to find the words to piece together the three sites themselves, I decided that the best way to share them is through photography.

Iceland Golden Circle

Just as interesting as the main sites themselves, the drive across the Icelandic terrain is stunning and dynamic, changing from green valleys dotted with horses to barren lava fields. The first stop is usually at Geysir, home of the geysers. The active geyser field is smoky and smelly, the hallmarks of geothermal activity. The real star of the show is watching one of the geysers erupt every five minutes. It may not be the largest in the world, but its consistency guarantees a show for every visitor.

Geysers, Iceland Golden Circle

 

Geysers, Iceland Golden Circle

 

Geysers, Iceland Golden Circle

 

Geysers, Iceland Golden Circle

 

Geysers, Iceland Golden Circle

 

Gullfoss, or the Golden Falls, are the next stop and rival any waterfall you’ve seen around the world. The massive falls are beautiful any time of year, but in winter there is a special stark elegance to it that’s hard to resist.

Gullfoss Iceland

 

Gullfoss Iceland

 

Gullfoss Iceland

The final stop is Þingvellir or Thingvellir, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it marks the spot of the world’s first parliament in 930. The site is so much more than that though, it holds a special cultural spot in the hearts of all Icelanders and has been elevated to more than just a physical site, but one of intense emotional importance.

Thingvellir Iceland

 

Thingvellir Iceland

 

Thingvellir Iceland

 

Thingvellir Iceland

The Golden Circle tour lasts all day, but it is the perfect way to get out and enjoy the natural beauty of Iceland for yourself.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

15 Responses

  1. Dave

    Þingvellir is also where the North American and European tectonic plates are pulling apart, which is the engine that powers all of the geothermal activity in Iceland.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Yes! We saw some stunning example of this on the drive

      Reply
  2. Cynthia Scarborough

    Impressive shots Matt. I have yet to visit Iceland, but it sure looks spectacular.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Thanks! It’s an amazing place, and so easy to reach from the US

      Reply
  3. Valerie Walberg

    Lucky to have seen the Golden Circle in Feb. 2012. Left part of my heart in Iceland. I would return at a drop of a hat. Wonderful photos. Brought back recent memories. Thanks

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Me too! Maybe we were even there at the same time. It’s an amazing place

      Reply
  4. Anne

    Brings back great memories of my mini honeymoon in Iceland. This country is a geothermal paradise although I do have a love hate relationship with this place given an Icelandic volcano was responsible for our stranding in brazil in 2010!

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      ha! I understand that, we were in Europe when the volcano blew. Enough said I think LOL

      Reply
    • Matt Long

      Oh, and Iceland? best mini-honeymoon destination ever! What a great choice

      Reply
  5. Elijah

    Amazing pictures! you are lucky enough that got chance to see Golden circle. I never been there but, your snaps are alluring me. What is the best time to visit Iceland?

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Well it depends really. Iceland doesn’t experience extreme temperatures like one would think, although it’s sunnier and warmer in the summer than winter just like anywhere else.

      Reply
    • Mary

      Mid to late June is a great time to visit. The flowers are in bloom, the weather is perfect and its sunny every day, and its a little bit before the big rush of Europeans on holiday in July and August. Winter would be ideal for the Northern Lights, but i enjoyed my visit during the summer. We could hike and take in the sites with great weather (in most parts of Iceland).

      Reply
      • Matt Long

        We went in February and really enjoyed it. I’d love to see the Northern Lights though

  6. Antje

    Wow! Fantastic Pictures! I’d love to visit Iceland one time!!!

    Reply
  7. Grace

    I am off to iceland in March so excited !! hopefully get to see the northern lights

    Reply

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