One of the things I knew I just had to do whilst in Iceland was to tour the Golden Circle.
Why I hear you ask? Well, because I’ve been dreaming of Iceland for years now and so many of the stunning images splattered around the internet, books and television are from the Golden Circle and boy does it look AMAZING.
It’s something that the majority of visitors do when coming to Iceland and it’s easy to see why. If you’re visiting Iceland than I cannot recommend the Golden Circle route more, whether you do it by yourself or as part of an organised tour that’s up to you. Just. Do. It.
The Golden Circle takes you to Gullfoss Waterfall (a must visit when in Iceland!), shows you the original Geysir, from where the name geysir actually originates, and offers an amazing overview of the jaw-dropping otherworldly landscape of this beautiful little country.
Golden Circle Tour with GeoIceland
We had decided not to rent a car, as so many other tourists do in Iceland, and boy were we glad we didn’t. There was some pretty heavy snowfall during our trip and the roads in the more rural areas were almost unrecognisable. If I had been driving the trip would almost certainly have ended in complete disaster and probably with a trip to the hospital!
I imagine in summer Iceland would be the perfect place to embark upon a road trip, but in winter I’d recommend leaving it to the professionals unless you’re used to driving in ridiculously changeable conditions. Seriously. The weather changes so quickly in Iceland that one moment it’ll be pleasant and sunny and then the next you’ll feel snow dropping onto your nose.
There are a tonne of different companies offering Iceland tours and after much research was done we opted for GeoIceland for our Golden Circle tour and we certainly weren’t disappointed.
My absolute favourite place we visited was Gullfoss Waterfall. This is the site where Hvítá River rushes downstream and flows over three steps that look almost like part of a staircase, before splitting in two and then plunging into a deep crevice.
My hastily snapped photographs because of the biting cold nipping my fingers definitely do not do justice to this magnificent site.
It is an incredible, unique piece of landscape that is nothing short of epic.
Despite the cold, the bracing wind and the thick layer of snow I stayed to admire the view for as long as I could stand it. At the top overlooking the waterfall the wind was so strong it was blowing me backwards and I was glad of the layers upon layers of clothes I’d packed for Iceland.
My second favourite stop of the day was our final one at Thingvellir (or Þingvellir in Icelandic that Þ is pronounced as ‘th’). Thingvellir is a massive National Park and also the site of a rift valley where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a divergent tectonic plate, moves apart at a rate of about 2.5 cm per year. You can even see where the tectonic plates are separating and the geography nerd in me absolutely loved this!
The views over Thingvellir National Park are stunning, especially as we visited in late afternoon when the sun was beginning to dip. The whole place looked magical covered in snow with the hills rising out of the crystal clear waters. Beautiful.
I haven’t spoken to a single person who has visited Iceland and hasn’t fallen completely and utterly in love with it. I don’t know anyone who’s been that has said they wouldn’t want to return and I know I would be on the next plane back there if at all possible. That kind of love for a place is incredibly rare and if that’s not a testament to the power of Iceland’s magic then I don’t know what is.