The Golden Circle

Diving in glacial waters, walking the Mid-Atlantic Ridge canyon, absorbing the grandeur of the first-ever parliamentary site and watching the earth belch boiling water 40m high – the Golden Circle has it all.

The route spans roughly 300km and takes in three main sights, which are all true knockouts: Þingvellir where tectonic plates meet, Geysir where water erupts more than 100 times a day, and the roaring and staggeringly voluminous waterfall Gullfoss.

With the mega-attractions all within a couple of hours' drive from the capital, places get crowded and it can feel more commercial than other areas. Still, despite the hordes, the Golden Circle remains one of the most memorable routes on the planet. Dozens of tour buses stop here, but visiting during off-hours allows a more subdued experience. Save time for nearby activities: rock climbing, rafting and soaking in geo-pools, plus visiting a hydropower museum, fishing and exploring a 6500-year-old explosion crater.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Golden Circle.