What you expect to see when visiting the Golden Circle in Iceland

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Iceland’s Golden Circle is home to the most breathtaking landmarks in the country, and those who take the tour will be sure to be enchanted by each one.

It’s official, Iceland is one of the most popular destinations for aspiring and avid travelers. There is something magical about Iceland, whether it’s because of the elegant whimsy of the famous Blue Lagoon or whether it’s because of their incredible Icelandic horses. Also known as the Land of Ice and Fire, tourists visiting Iceland feel like they’ve landed on another planet, and that’s not a bad thing. This Nordic destination is unlike any other place in the world. It has taken the breath away of many curious travelers who are lucky enough to visit it.

Plus, first-timers to Iceland can embark on the Golden Circle to see some of Iceland’s most famous attractions, including tumbling waterfalls, dramatic continental cliffs, pristine glacial lakes and spouting geysers. Lucky travelers doing the Golden Circle Tour of Iceland can expect to find these beautiful attractions during their travels!

8 Hectic and bustling crowds of tourists

The Golden Circle tour is the most popular excursion for tourists, which consists of 3 of Iceland’s most iconic attractions: Thingvellir National Park, Gulfoss Falls and Geysir geothermal area. Although the Golden Circle is popular all year round, the peak tourist season is usually during the summer months, from June to September. Don’t let the crowds put you off, though. There’s a reason these places are popular: they’re breathtaking!

seven Iconic lake in Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir)

Like much of Iceland, the area around Thingvellir is surrounded by active volcanic fields. The result is a lake rich in fauna, including algae. Travelers can visit the national park and even stay nearby in cabins overlooking the lake (some lucky travelers can even spot the Northern Lights here)!

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6 The remains of the Alþingi Assembly: one of the oldest parliaments in the world

Thingvellir is more than just a park with beautiful dramatic cliffs and ravines filled with glacial water. This Icelandic national park was the former seat of one of the oldest parliaments in the world, at the heart of the country’s governance. Also known as Althingi, this ancient parliament was established in 930 AD and paved a new way for Iceland to enter the Commonwealth era. Although the buildings have since moved to Reyjkavik, tourists can learn all about the Althing when visiting Thingvellir and spot crumbled walls and ruins reminiscent of the original parliament.


5 Discover two continents at once in the Almannagjá Gorge

Travelers interested in physically seeing (and being in the middle of) two continents at once can take in the beauty of Thingvellir’s Almannagjá Gorge. Walking through this gorge is like walking through a cliff of giant statues. Part of the Mid-Atlantic Rift, the Almannagjá Gorge is approximately 8 kilometers wide. Travelers will even come across a magnificent waterfall during their hike.

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4 Silfra for diving

Although Thingvellir is full of beautiful ravines and water bodies, Silfra is the only area that allows recreational diving. Being a fissure between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, curious divers can explore this majestic lake and discover its secrets. Formed from glacial water, Silfra is known for its crystal clear, crystal clear waters.


3 The majesty of Gullfoss Falls

Niagara Falls are beautiful, but Gullfoss Falls has something beautiful about it! Also known as Golden Falls, Gullfoss Falls is one of Iceland’s many breathtaking waterfalls and one of the most iconic in the country. Located in southwestern Iceland along the Hvítá River, Gullfoss Falls is found in the Haukadalur Valley. This iconic waterfall cascades majestically in “two stages”. The first drop is 11 meters high, followed by the second, which is around 21 meters high. Tourists can admire the beauty of the rushing waters flowing through the dramatic cliffs. However, it is important to note that the rocks can get quite slippery in winter, so travelers should stay to the trail to ensure their safety even in hot weather.


2 Gulfoss cafe

For a hot cup of coffee or a cozy bowl of Icelandic meat soup, head to Gullfoss Cafe, also known as Gullfoss Kaffi. The cafe is comfortably seated overlooking a magnificent view of nearby Gullfoss Falls. Travelers can happily enjoy a hot drink while marveling at Iceland’s most famous waterfall. Additionally, tourists can also buy Icelandic souvenirs and trinkets to take back to their loved ones!




1 Geysir geothermal area

Usually the last stop on the Golden Circle Tour of Iceland, the Geysir geothermal area will make tourists feel like they’ve landed on another planet. Billows of smoke and high temperatures fill this geothermal park in Haukadalur. Being one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, many tourists flock to this monument to witness the frequent eruption of the Great Geysir, also known as Strokkur. Tourists eagerly watch this incredible natural beauty spew misty water from a large geyser, as high as 70 meters. Although Iceland is not as hot as some of the hottest deserts on the planet, the geysers can extremely hot, so much so that safety guardrails are installed around the Great Geysir and other areas!

NEXT: 10 things to do in Iceland (that aren’t the Blue Lagoon)

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