Exploring Iceland’s Enchanting Golden Circle

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I’ve been in Iceland for just over 24 hours and have to say, if you do one thing here, visit the Golden Circle. Want to know why? Read on…

The Golden Circle is full of gems ranging from mountains to waterfalls, to glaciers and geysers. It’s also a very well planned tourist machine that gets you in and out to the top places very efficiently. My friend and I booked the Premium Small Group Golden Circle Tour with Viator.  With just 11 people on the tour, it was a nice-sized group. And while there wasn’t a ton of commentary, the scenery was amazing.

Tectonic Plates

First we visited Þingvellir National Park where the tectonic plates from North America and Europe recently (after an earthquake in 2000) split. We walked from North America to Europe and also saw some beautiful scenery.

The divide of the continents

The first of many beautiful waterfalls

Dairy Farm

Iceland is famous for its cows (happy cows they say) and its yogurt-like cheese called Skyr. We were able to try Skyr from one of the few places that makes it daily. It tasted a bit like cream cheese to me, but once you added sugar and milk, it got a bit more yogurty. We also tried some smooth soft serve before we were on our way.

Gullfoss Waterfall

We then visited Gullfoss Waterfall, a 70 meter high waterfall with a stunning drop.

It got quite misty in spots and you did get a bit of a shower (thankfully it had warmed up a bit and we had some sun).

It was very lush and beautiful.

Geyser

After the beautiful views at Gulfoss, we visited a geyser and found out that the word geyser is Icelandic. The geyser blows its top every couple of minutes, shooting sulfer-smelling gas high into the air.

Faxi Waterfall

While smaller than Gulfoss, the Faxi Waterfall was peaceful and beautiful (and not as crowded!).

Kerid Crater

Our final stop was the Kerid Crater, a beautiful turquoise lake that’s housed inside a volcano’s crater.

We walked the periphery of the crater and looked down into the lake.

At the end of the day, I felt like the Queen of the World!

We had debated about renting a car and driving the Golden Circle ourselves, but decided to take a tour so that we could focus more on seeing the sites and less on where we were going. I definitely think it was the right move for us, but can understand if others would prefer the car route. I don’t think it would be terribly difficult and the driving wasn’t crazy or treacherous. Have you been to the Golden Circle? Did you drive? Tour? Hitchhike (we saw quite a few!)?

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