The Golden Circle is a popular day trip and includes some of Iceland’s most stunning sights. The main three being Gullfoss waterfall, Strokkur geyser, and Þingvellir National Park.
You can hire a car and self-drive, but as I hadn’t driven in ten years I booked places on a day tour with GeoIceland after reading rave reviews. They also operate with mini buses rather than coaches which felt more personal and not as rushed at each stop.
On the morning of our tour, a chirpy gentleman called Dooley picked us up at our AirBNB along with 10 other people. He was full of enthusiasm for Icelandic culture and history, throwing in a personal anecdote every so often. A passionate tour guide is definitely a great reason to book a day tour rather than self-drive.
Our first stop was Faxi. A short and wide waterfall in comparison to others, but still beautiful. It was quiet when we were there, maybe we were early or perhaps people bump it from their Golden Circle itinerary in favour for Gullfoss.
I’m glad we visited Faxi first because Gullfoss is epic. I underestimated the size at first glance, as the waterfall is only half visible on approach. But following the walkway round reveals the rest of Gullfoss plunging down into a crevice and the river canyon. It’s incredible to see.
Next stop was Haukadalur geothermal area to visit the geyser hot springs. Geysir and Strokkur are the largest in the area, but Geysir is no longer active. Strokkur however still shoots hot water 100ft into the air every five to ten minutes and is pretty impressive. There’s also little hot springs dotted about which looked extremely inviting when we got caught in a little snow storm.
Þingvellir National Park
The UNESCO World Heritage Site has some fascinating natural features. Whilst walking through the park you can see huge cracks and faults created by the continental drifting of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The biggest crack between the two plates is called Almannagjá which has a path leading through. If you follow it, you’ll be walking between two continents!
GeoIceland Golden Circle day tour