The Golden Circle – a one day trip from Reykjavík

The Golden Circle – a one day trip from Reykjavík

After 2 days in Reykjavik we started our road trip by driving the so called “Golden Circle” route. It’s a typical thing to do for every tourist in Iceland. Thus, some spots may be crowded, but still it’s worth to visit the attractions along the route. Actually, you can’t really use the word “attraction”, as whole Iceland is one big stunner. We would recommend that you plan one day for the roughly 250km of the Golden Circle route. Therefore, it’s manageable as a one day trip from Reykjavík. You will still have enough time to stop every now and then, to go for short hike or even a dive! Just in case you’re curious about diving in Iceland, check this video. Below we will give an outline of the stops we made, and you will also find an embedded map of the Golden Circle route for your one day trip.

Thingvellir National Park

When you start from Reyjkavik you will first reach the Thingvellir National Park.  Most impressive in this area is the intercontinental gap between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. You can also have a view over the Thingvellir lake, or check out the space where the old parliament was founded and took place for centuries. Close by the old parliament, in the north side of the lake, the ‘Silfra fissure’ is located. It’s possible to go for a dive or to snorkel in this crystal clear water in between the two tectonic plates (see link to video above). Unfortunately, we are both neither scuba divers, nor very big fans of snorkeling. The parliament is surely interesting when you love history. However, it was so crowded that we wouldn’t stop there again. Instead, we opted for the less crowded, Northern part – left of the main road. There, you can also go for a memorable walk between the two tectonic plates.

Strokkur Geysir and surroundings

While you can stop basically everywhere and admire the incredible nature, the next must see are the hot geysers roughly one hour drive away.

When you arrive at the geysir area you can park on the big parking lot next to the restaurant. Just walk across the street and you’ll be overwhelmed by the hot and cooking water that reaches the surface. Be warned, it is really hot (around 90-100 degrees celsius) and you can seriously burn yourself. Take some time to walk around and watch the different geysers and wells. We loved the Strokkur Geysir, as it erupts every 5 minutes or so, and the eruption is quite huge (see photo).

If you’re into taking pictures you should probably use burst mode or the slow-motions video of your smartphone because those eruptions happen pretty quickly. It’s a lot of fun to watch those geysers erupt.

The Golden Circle tour continues…

and there are at least two more things to see and do:

First is Gullfoss, one of the most visited waterfalls in the world. Hence it is always crowded and you have to try at least a few times in order to get a decent picture ;). We just stopped by for some pictures and to check it off our list.

The second sight is an old volcano, named Kerið,  which has a beautiful lake inside the volcano funnel.  This one is less known and therefore only a few people will be around. Take some time, walk around and enjoy the view and photo-opportunities.

Afterwards we drove to Selfoss for our Airbnb. We stayed with Helgi in this small town and can totally recommend his place: It’s quiet, there are lots of other travellers, and you can easily park your car. Oh, and he has some beautiful paintings all around the house – if you ask he might tell you some stories about them. You can find it here.

However, in case you opt for the one day trip and need to drive back to Reykjavik, this is pretty easy as well. You will need less than an hour to drive from Selfoss to Reykjavik on the Ring Road.

You can find our route marked on Google maps below. We hope it helps you plan your Golden Circle one day trip.

That was the Golden Circle – a one day trip from Reykjavík.

We hope you liked our short report on this wonderful day trip and we would like to hear from you guys: Have you been to Iceland and have you seen the main sights around the Golden Circle Route? Which were your ‘Icelandic highlights’? If you have not been to Iceland yet, be assured that this journey will be unforgettable:-) In case you only have a long stopover in Iceland, you will love the Golden Circle Route.

Let us know about your experiences and we are also curious to hear about your secret spots.

All the best, Theresia and Dave

1 Comment

  1. Goals - What does the future hold? - 2trvlrs

    2. April 2017 at 19:23

    […] come. We explored parts of this impressive island – read through our experiences made on this page. The Icelandic, vast and empty landscapes remind us so much of the Australian countryside (while […]

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