Around Iceland’s Golden Circle – A Day Trip from Reykjavik

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If you don’t have much time in Iceland but still want to see some sights outside of the capital, Iceland’s Golden Circle is the perfect day trip from Reykjavik! The Golden Circle can be visited either by renting a car or going on a tour bus with one of the many companies leaving from Reykjavik. We did the route by rental car as the end of our trip around the Ring Road. Our first stop was at Thingvellir National Park. The park itself is beautiful with plenty of paths to explore and even Oxararfoss waterfall.

Thingvellir National Park is also home to the Silfra Fissure. Silfra is a freshwater fissure between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The water is some of the clearest in the world with visibility exceeding 100 meters! We opted to go on a snorkeling group with Dive.is to experience the 2-4 degrees’ Celsius temperatures for ourselves!

Our next stop on the Golden Circle route was at Geysir, the inspiration for the English word geyser. A geyser is an underground hot spring that intermittently builds up enough pressure from the heat to release a burst of steam into the air. In Geysir there are actually three different geysers: Geysir, Liti Geysir and Strokkur. Geysir can erupt to a height of 70-80 meters but typically only erupts after earthquake activity so it’s not very likely you’ll see Geysir or Liti Geysir go off on your visit. The main attraction is actually Strokkur.  Strokkur erupts regularly every 8-10 minutes and shoots between 25 and 35 meters into the air! The water in this geothermal area can get up to 100 degrees Celsius so be sure to stay on the designated paths!

 

The last major stop around our Golden Circle route was Gullfoss. With its proximity to Reykjavik, Gullfoss is possibly the most famous of Iceland’s many waterfalls (check out other awesome waterfalls here!). The total falls are 32 meters (105 ft) tall but it is split into 2 waterfalls. A combination of regular rains and glacier runoff makes Gullfoss the largest waterfalls in Europe by volume.

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To finish up our Golden Circle tour we made a quick stop at the small not very well known Faxifoss waterfall. Located just off of road 35, Faxifoss doesn’t even have a sign leading to it! Look for the sign “Faxi” and turn there for a pretty waterfall view all to yourself.

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The Golden Circle is a great way to see the beauties of Iceland on a tight time frame. If you have more time to travel, check out our favorite things along the Ring Road which wraps around the entire island!

 

6 Must-See Waterfalls of Iceland

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Along our 8 day trip around Iceland’s Ring Road we got to see hundreds of waterfalls. Here are six of the most notable ones and where to find them:

Skogafoss – Located in southern Iceland between Reykjavik and Vik, Skogafoss is an easy day trip from the capital or a stop on your way around the country. Be sure to climb the stairs to the top of the waterfall for the gorgeous views!

Dettifoss– Located in Northern Iceland, Dettifoss is about a 40 kilometer, gravel road, detour off route 1 (aka the Ring Road). Dettifoss is considered the most powerful waterfall in europe with an average of 96,500 gallons of water flowing over its edge every second!

Godafoss – Godafoss is located in northern Iceland between Lake Myvatn and Akureyri. Godafoss is considered to be the “Waterfall of the Gods”. Legend has it when Iceland was converted to Christianity, Thorgeirr, a priest and chieftain, dispensed of the heathen Norse Pagan Gods by throwing them into the falls.

 

Oxararfoss– Situated in Thingvellir National Park, Oxararfoss is easily accessible from Reykjavik as part of Iceland’s Golden Circle. The falls are small by Icelandic standards, only about 20 meters tall, but definitely worth a visit if you are already on the Golden Circle route.

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Gullfoss – A main attraction on Iceland’s Golden Circle route, Gullfoss is possibly the most famous of Iceland’s waterfalls. The total falls are 32 meters (105 ft) tall but it is split into 2 waterfalls. A combination of regular rains and glacier runoff makes Gullfoss the largest waterfall, in terms of the volume of water flowing over the falls, in Europe!

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Faxifoss – A small, not very well known waterfall just off the Golden circle route is Faxifoss. There wasn’t even a sign on the road leading to it! Look for the sign Faxi to know where to run and its right off the road.

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Miscellaneous Waterfalls – As mentioned before, we literally were able to see hundreds of waterfalls on our drive around the Ring Road. Most of them didn’t even have names! Even though they are nameless they are no less beautiful and definitely deserved a mention!