The Golden Circle is a 300 kilometers long touristic (car) route near Reykjavik. We drove this route and stayed in Tungufell, at Jaðar – The Old House. This holiday home, with a horse riding school, was by far the most beautiful and special accommodation we stayed at during our road trip through Southern Iceland.
In this article you will find more information about the main sights along this route, namely Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir National Park), the Gullfoss and the Faxifoss waterfall, the geothermal area Haukadalur, with its geysers Geysir and Strokkur, and the Kerið volcano.
Tip: Check out our aftermovie!
Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir National Park)
The Þingvellir National Park, also called Thingvellir National Park, is one of three national parks in Iceland and is located 50 kilometers from Reykjavik. In Þingvellir there have been many important events in Iceland’s history, making the area very important for the Icelandic people.
Its history and striking landscape make the park a popular attraction for tourists. Here lies the fault line between the North American and the Eurasian continent. If you like you can snorkel and dive between the continental shelves.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit the park, because there was a lot of snow and all roads to the park were closed.
Gullfoss and Faxifoss waterfall
If you drive the Golden Circle route, you will pass the Gullfoss and the Faxifoss waterfall. The Gullfoss waterfall is one of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls and that shows, because there are a lot of tourists visiting it. The water of the waterfall falls into a 70 meter deep gorge, which is 20 meters wide and 2.5 kilometers long. The waterfall has two steps, so there is a lot of drifting water. If you’re lucky and the sun shines on the waterfall, a rainbow can form, just like the Skógafoss waterfall.
The Faxifoss waterfall is also called the small Gullfoss waterfall. The waterfall is not as impressive as the Gullfoss waterfall, but is till worth a visit. Its 80 meter width makes the waterfall unique in its kind. And there are hardly any tourists! We were the only visitors in the middle of the day.
Both the Gullfoss waterfall and the Faxifoss waterfall are can be visited free of charge.
Haukadalur – Geisers Geysir & Strokkur
Haukadalur is close to the Gullfoss waterfall and is a valley area that owes its fame to the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Geysir is probably a few thousand years old and its name comes from the Icelandic word for ‘spraying’. The geyser has a 14 meter diameter, with a hole in it of about 3 meters, which is filled with hot water. The geyser is about 23 meters deep, but it doesn’t spray anymore.
Strokkur, a geyser a bit further away, is still active. Every few minutes the geyser sprays water, which can reach a height of 30 meters. Super cool to see! Besides Strokkur and Geysir, you also have Little Geysir, which used to be a geyser. Now it’s just a small waterhole with hot water bubbling in it.
Kerið volcano and crater lake
Although we visited the Kerið volcano ourselves from Selfoss, this attraction is also on the route of the Golden Circle. The volcano crater is about 170 by 270 meters and is 55 meters deep. The origin of the crater lake is told in several stories, but it is believed that Kerið was a cone volcano that collapsed during an eruption. The water in the crater lake has a beautiful turquoise color and is about 10 meters deep.
It is possible to descend from the edge of the crater to the crater lake. A staircase has been constructed for this purpose, which makes it easy to get there. During our visit there was snow and the crater lake was frozen, which made it very special. I didn’t bring my ice skates, otherwise I could’ve crossed off ‘ice skating in a volcano’ from my bucket list ;-).
The costs for visiting the crater are 400 ISK per person.