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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
16 thoughts on “Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle Through Photos”
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.
Yes! We saw some stunning example of this on the drive
Impressive shots Matt. I have yet to visit Iceland, but it sure looks spectacular.
Thanks! It’s an amazing place, and so easy to reach from the US
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
Me too! Maybe we were even there at the same time. It’s an amazing place
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!
ha! I understand that, we were in Europe when the volcano blew. Enough said I think LOL
Oh, and Iceland? best mini-honeymoon destination ever! What a great choice
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?
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.
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).
We went in February and really enjoyed it. I’d love to see the Northern Lights though
Wow! Fantastic Pictures! I’d love to visit Iceland one time!!!
I am off to iceland in March so excited !! hopefully get to see the northern lights
40 days after my mother died, I had a dream in black and white where she took me on a trip in a flying machine over Siberia, and we landed and entered into a wooden building which had people mulling around, but one could not see their faces. I was pushing her in a chair and we came to a set of 3 stairs going down. I looked for help to get the chair down and I saw her already deceased twin sister, who helped me by holding a shiny silver bar of the chair. When we descended my mother was standing, feeling more energetic and we approached a circle of GEYSERS, which were shooting up and which I wanted to count, but she moved me forward into another area where everything became in COLOR, and she looked like a beautiful Ukrainian lady with golden braids circling her head, and she was smiling, and pointing to a low lying bridge with water running smoothly over it – saying, AND THAT IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. As I am viewing the scenery of ICELAND, I see that, perhaps, we were in this beautiful land.
I would be interested in your comments.
LIFE AND MORE IS AN ABSOLUTE WONDER.
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