Golden Circle Route is one of the most popular touring Route near Reykjavik, Iceland. Almost every first time visitors start their journey with the Golden Circle Tour. The 250-ish km drive covers many beautiful landmarks including Thingvellir, Geysir, Golden Falls and the Kerid Crater Lake. The Road is really easy to drive in Summer and are well maintained. Self-driving with a friend, partner or in a group is better than joining an organise tour. It allows you stop for photos anytime. However, if you are a solo traveler or not confidence in driving, you should join an organised or private tour.
★The star features of Golden Circle are: ★Þingvellir ( Thingvellir), ★ Strokkur Geysir, ★ Gullfoss and ★ Kerid Crater Lake
With Optional additions: Vatnsleysufoss (Faxi), Skálholt Cathedral, Bruarfoss Waterfall, Secret Lagoon, Friðheimar Greenhouse or Hellisheidi Geothermal Plant!
Total ? Driving time: 3h 25m (248 km)
Plus extra 6-10 hours hiking and photo time in all ★ locations
1) Reykjavik City Center — ? 46km | 40 mins ? — 2) Þingvellir
★Þingvellir ( Thingvellir)
Most of the travellers started their Golden Circle Tour with Þingvellir national park and so did I! 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik with mountains and beautiful valleys views on the way will brighten up your day. There are few entrances and car park for Þingvellir national park, the most common one is the main entrance in Road 36 with a visitor centre. The other 2 car parks are down the 361 which I would rather park there if I visit again. ★The star features of Þingvellir are: Drekkingarhylur, Öxarárfoss, Þingvellir Lagoon and Silfra. It takes you at least 1hour to walk around the park. You can also choose to join a snorkeling tour in Silfra which takes around 3 hours.
2) Þingvellir — ? 61km | 51 mins ? — 3) Geysir
★ Strokkur, Geysir
After Þingvellir, our next stop is Geysir Strokkur. You can also stop by Brúarfoss in between if you have extra time, it’s a little blue gem hidden off-road 37. Strokkur is one of Iceland’s most famous geysers in Iceland, it shoots up water once every 6–10 minutes. The original Geysir doesn’t erupt no more. You may spend some time here to see and photograph the geyser erupt. The foods in the Geysir Center are nice and the prices are fair. You can have your lunch here before or after heading to Gullfoss.
Geysir— ? 61km | 51 mins ? — Gullfoss
★ Gullfoss (Golden Falls)
Now, to the highlight of the golden Circle trip: Gullfoss (The golden falls). This fall is enormous and spectacular. With tones of water running down the waterfall every second, it frequently create rainbows in a sunny day. There are a decent amount of thick mist and wind, make sure you bring a rain coat and lense protector for you camera.
Gullfoss— ? 21km | 17 mins ? — Faxi
Vatnsleysufoss (Faxi) 30+ Minutes
Vatnsleysufoss (Faxi) waterfall is 10 mins drive from Geysir and is on the way to Skalholt or Kerid. People said it was full of salmon but unluckily we didn’t see any. If you have extra time, you can stop by this beautiful waterfall.
Faxi — ? 42km | 36 mins ? — Kerid Crater Lake
★ Kerid Crater Lake
After Faxi, we skipped Skálholt Cathedral and headed straight to Kerid Crater Lake as we were getting late. Kerid have a visitor’s carpark and it charges 400ISK to enter. To be honest, I didn’t find Kerid as amazing as the other featured locations but still worth a quick stop.
Kerid Crater Lake — ? 68km | 53 mins ? — Reykjavik City Center
What I have learnt from my Trip!
★Rent a 4X4 car! There are always some locations that are on gravel and bumpy roads.
★ Bring a rain coat or waterproof jacket with you
★ Bring a pair of spare trouser with you
★ Bring you own tea or coffee in a thermal coffee mug. Iceland’s coffees are quite pricy and tiny!
★ Seriously, a lot of hiking roads are slippery, wear hiking boots!