Golden Circle Self Drive
If you only had one day in Iceland (which would be a tragedy), this would be the excursion to do. The golden circle, is a condensed Iceland that brings you to three must-see locations that have become icons of the country.
Geysir, a little village on the fringe of Iceland’s interior, gives its name to the rare and incredible geothermal phenomenon. At Gulfoss, “the golden falls”, the Hvita river, puts on a technicolor show as the sun draws rainbows through the cascade’s mist, with deafening background music. And at Thingvellir, Icelandic history is on the menu, as this is the site of the world’s oldest existing parliament…and the only place where the Atlantic oceanic rift is visible. All that in one day!
The Golden Circle is a 240 km route that allows you to drive to three of Iceland’s most stunning destinations within a day – perfect if you are only staying for a few days. People usually opt to drive the route in a circle rather than driving back and forth – hence the name.
As the Golden Circle is Iceland’s premier tourist attraction, there are plenty of organised guided tours from which to choose or you can hire a car or campervan and go it alone and enjoy the freedom of setting your own itinerary. A 4 by 4 isn’t usually necessary unless you are driving in the depths of winter when you might be at risk of snowdrifts! Why not break up the journey and spend a night or two in the scenic Þingvellir National Park where there is a campsite? Iceland is in the Arctic Circle so the nights are extremely long in the summer. Imagine visiting the attractions of the Golden Circle under the midnight sun!
Whatever time of year you choose to explore Iceland’s Golden Circle, one thing is for sure – its waterfalls, national parks, and incredible geysers will combine to leave an unforgettable impression.