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The Golden Circle is a must-visit for travellers wanting to delve into Iceland’s unique natural wonders. This popular route includes a trio of stunning attractions showcasing Iceland’s beauty and history and a few other nearby sites worth adding to your itinerary.

The Golden Circle Iceland - Gullfoss







The Golden Circle is a renowned tourist route in Iceland, not far from the capital city, Reykjavík. It includes three main attractions; Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area and Gullfoss.


This area is a great day trip from Reykjavík. If you start and end in the city, the full loop is around 300 km (186 mi) and takes approximately 4 hours, not including time at each site. Alternatively, The Golden Circle is also the perfect place to start a larger Iceland road trip.


The latter is how we began our adventures in the land of fire and ice. Check out our 10-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary for more on our route, activities and accommodation.



Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has great historical and geological significance. At this location, the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, forming dramatic fissures.


One of the most popular activities inside the park and an attraction unique to Iceland is snorkelling or diving in the crystal-clear waters of Silfra Fissure. The location is known as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and can also be seen on the walking trail through Almannagjá Gorge. Along the trail, you can read about Iceland’s political history and visit the beautiful waterfall, Öxarárfoss. 

There is no entry fee for this park, but there are parking fees at some of the sites. This cost starts at 750 ISK for a standard 5-seater car. You can pay at the meter or online, and it is valid for 24 hours across all parking sites.





The Geysir Geothermal Area in Haukadalur Valley is high in geothermal activity. It is a great spot to get up close to the hot pools, if you don’t mind the strong stench of sulphur; a smell that is unavoidable in Iceland, but you will get used to it.

This spot is a popular attraction not just for the hot pools but particularly for the geysers. While Geysir itself is no longer active, the nearby Strokkur Geyser usually erupts every 5-10 minutes.

There is no entry or parking fees at the Geysir Geothermal Area.




No popular tourist route in Iceland is complete without an incredibly epic waterfall, and that’s exactly what Gullfoss is. The name translates to “Golden Falls”, taken from the golden hue the water displays when hit by sunlight.


The water, coming from the Hvítá River, roars with immense force as it cascades over two tiers into the canyon below. There are multiple viewing platforms and a trail that takes you up close, where you can feel the powerful falls shake the ground beneath your feet as you are sprayed with ice-cold mist.


There is no entry or parking fees at Gullfoss.



While these three famous sites are the main attractions of the Golden Circle, they are not the only locations worth seeing in this area.


The Friðheimar restaurant is one of the most well-known places to eat in Iceland. This dining experience is set within a working tomato farm, with a cosy greenhouse ambience and all the items on the menu are tomato-themed. You do need to make a reservation via their website well in advance.

If the tomato soup at Friðheimar doesn’t warm you up enough, stop by one of the thermal baths in the area. Hrunalaug Natural Hot Spring is a small pool nestled in the Icelandic countryside, offering a raw, secluded oasis. The Secret Lagoon, also known as Gamla Laugin, is the oldest pool in Iceland and provides guests with a simple, relaxing retreat.


If you still have more time, visit another waterfall at Faxafoss or walk down to a lake inside a volcanic crater at Kerið.





If you are booking a trip to Iceland and want an itinerary that includes The Golden Circle route, then check out our 10-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary.





When planning our travel destination, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our family and friends to use too.


Click here to see our Google Maps for The Golden Circle in Iceland.



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