If you’re heading to Iceland and only have time to do one tour I would 100% recommend The Golden Circle. This is the name given to a popular tourist route in southern Iceland, not far from Reykjavik.
We did this on the last day of our trip and managed to cover the Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the geothermal area in Haukadalur (including the geysers!) It was the perfect way to end an amazing holiday. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of how these photos turned out! Iceland really is a photographer’s dream…
Þingvellir National Park
Our first stop of the tour was Þingvellir and the site where the national parliament of Iceland was founded. During the winter months Iceland only experiences around 4-6 hours of sunlight a day. We arrived at the National Park around 10.30am, just as the sun was coming up. Watching the sunrise was incredible, and it was even more beautiful than it looks in the photos.
Tip: This was the only place we visited where you had to pay to use the loo (the equivalent of around £1.50!)
Most of the pictures we’d seen of Gullfoss Waterfall were taken in the summer when the surrounding area is lush and green. Personally I loved seeing it covered in ice and snow! The waterfall is huge and LOUD. We could hear it from the car park as soon as we stepped off the bus!
The visitor centre here is also really nice. We’d made sandwiches for lunch, but grabbed a hot drink from the cafe. It was a bit expensive (like everything else in Iceland) but not too pricey compared to some of the other tourist areas we visited.
One of our final stop of the day was the geothermal area in Haukadalur. After spending a good few minutes trying to work out how to pronounce Geyser (I’m still not 100% sure!) we wandered over to the Strokkur Geyser. This is one of Iceland’s most famous Geysers and it’s pretty much guaranteed to erupt approximately every 7 minutes. I managed to get a video, which you can check out on my Instagram here.
We also stopped at The Icelandic Horse Park Fákasel for 20-minutes on the drive back to Reykjavik. The people of Iceland are very proud of their horses. It’s illegal to import any other breed to Iceland, so every horse you see has been born there. You can spot loads of them grazing in fields as you drive around the countryside. They may be small, but they’re stronger and hardier than they look. One thing we learnt is to never call them ponies!