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  • Writer's pictureAndi

The Golden Circle in Iceland

Icelandic: Gullni hringurinn

Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Region & Gullfoss Waterfall

Okay, I know you're thinking what is so great about a waterfall? Well actually there's a lot.. BUT before I get into that, let me back up and start off by explaining just what in the world the Golden Circle is:

The Golden Circle is a general route in Southern Iceland that consists of about 155 miles from Reykjavik, containing numerous tourist attractions.

There are many stops along the Golden Circle but the main highlights of the route include:

  • Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park

  • The Gullfoss waterfal

  • Geysir Geothermal Area & the Strokkur Geyser

The name is derived from the Gulfoss Waterfall (translates in Icelandic: "Golden Waterfall").

If you have extra time, swing on over to the Langjokull glacier or Friðheimar Farm

Thingvellir National Park

Also known as "Þingvellir," this park contains the crystal clear, spring-fed Lake Þingvallavatn as well. The lake is particularly fertile and rich in vegetation, despite the very cold temperatures.

From being named a World Heritage Site to where Game of Thrones was filmed, Thingvellir National Park is a site for historical, geological & pop culture interests alike. At the rift of continental plates, Iceland's National Parliament was formed in 930 and resided here until 1798. You can walk down the Almannagjá fault line or snorkel in the Silfra fissure and literally observe the natural divide right in front of you.

Gullfoss Waterfall

Gulfoss flows south of the Langjokull Glacier in southwestern Iceland and is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland. The glacial Hvítá river meets with other rivers before flowing into the powerful waterfall which has a total height of about 105 feet.

If this really catches your eye, there are many places to stay that are within 5-10 minutes of the waterfall: Hotel Gullfoss, Litli Geyser Hotel, Geysir Cottage, Vað Holiday Home and Gljásteinn Skálinn Hostel. Of course, you can always camp at the Skjól Campgrounds, Camping Geysir, or Camping Fludir.

Strokkur Geyser

Located in the Geysir Geothermal Area (10 min from Gulfoss), you can watch the Strokkur Geyser blast every 5 minutes or so and go for a hike.

There are numerous geothermal features in this same area - including hot springs and boiling mud pools.

Not far from here, you can drop by the second-largest glacier in Iceland, the Langjokull Glacier or swing by the Secret Lagoon. We made a pitstop at a nearby tomato farm.

Friðheimar Farm

Along the Golden Circle, you'll find a quiet (but busy) little tomato farm that offers lunch in the greenhouse.

We just enjoyed drinks and tonics made from the tomatoes while going on a tour of the facility. Unfortunately you have to make reservations far out in advance to secure your lunch at their facility.

The greenhouse uses modern technology to replicate Mediterranean conditions and imports bees each week for proper pollination.

In Closing

If you're strapped for time, you can actually visit all of these locations that I've mentioned above in the same day. Don't skip out on the farm. It was a perfect way to finish up the day, plus you get to say hello to the beautiful Icelandic horses.

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