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During one of my days in Reykjavik last month, Nichole and I rented a car with Ty, a guy we met in our hostel, and headed out to Iceland’s iconic Golden Circle route. Let me just say, this drive is probably one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever taken in my life. Ty was in charge of driving and we spent all day meandering the nearly desolate roads of Iceland. As you can see from the photos below, we had sunshine and perfect (although really cold) weather the entire day!

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir used to be the center of Icelandic culture and politics. In 930 AD, the first governmental assembly for Iceland was established at Thingvellir, which literally translates to “Parliament Plains.” It has played an important role in the history of Iceland for over 1,000 years.

Today, Thingvellir is a National Park and one of the main sites on the Golden Circle. Besides being an important part of Icelandic history, Thingvellir is geographically very important. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which divides the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, runs through Thingvellir (you can actually see the divide!). The landscape of this national park is absolutely stunning!

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerThis reminds me so much of the landscape in Newfoundland…especially all the rocks and their formations.

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerROAD TRIP BUDDIES!

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerIceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerStumbled across this gorgeous waterfall in the middle of the national park!

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerIceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerIceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerStrokkur

This infamous geysir erupts around every 10 minutes. Unfortunately, I only managed to catch the aftermath of the geysir but if you are really curious, you can google it :) It was freezing (!!!) so we decided not to stay and watch it erupt again :)

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerThis wasn’t the geysir but small hot springs that are near Strokkur!

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerThe aftermath of the geysir erupting.

Gullfoss

The waterfall, known as “Golden Falls” in English, was probably the highlight of my time on the Golden Circle. It was approaching sunset so the lighting was amazing and the views spectacular. I think the pictures speak for themselves :)

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerI can’t get over how gorgeous that light looks shining through to the waterfalls.

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerPretty, pretty Nichole pondering the meaning of life? Or just chilling and taking in the gorgeous views ;) Or potentially trying to stay warm!

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerThanks Ty for being a great travel buddy, driver, and friend! :)

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerIceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerThe three of us at the waterfalls together! Loved this travel group and the wonderful memories we made :)

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerIceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With Wagner
Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerIceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerWe took a wrong turn and ended up with this stunning view. Not too shabby?!

Animals along the way…

We made a few impromptu stops along the way to “attempt” to play with the animals. Sometimes we failed (sheep) and sometimes we won (horses)!

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerLook at that golden sun! I love the lighting of this photo and the composition of the sheep.

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerIceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With WagnerBeautiful Icelandic horses grazing in an endless pasture.

Iceland Golden Circle via Wayfaring With Wagner

Tips + Hints:

I’d highly recommend just renting a car (fairly cheap) and doing the route at your own pace rather than going with a tour group. That way, you can stop as frequently as you would like and stay as long as you like! The Golden Circle loop is around 300 kilometers (180 miles) but it took us around 8 or 9 hours to complete! The roads were all pretty good but we were told they can get icy almost any time of the year (thanks E.R. doctor who sewed up my foot for that piece of advice). Also, bring lots of snacks for the route because there are very few places to stop!

We did the Golden Circle clockwise which I think is better because you hit most of the places during the first half (when you still have energy!) We definitely got tired towards the end and were happy we saw everything earlier on the route :)

As always, let me know if you have any questions about what I mentioned! :)

19 Comments

  1. Wow, this looks gorgeous! We are hopefully going to Iceland for New Year, but I don’t think we will have blue skies like you did… for one thing there’s only like 4 hours of daylight at that time of year!

  2. Beautiful pictures of Iceland! It looks like you had awesome weather for a road trip. I just have to ask, was your friend wearing sandals?? My feet were cold just looking at her!

    • Thanks so much! I found your blog from Margo at the Overseas Escape and have been obsessed since then :) Berlin is my favorite city and your photos are amazing! Thanks for stopping by :)))) xo

  3. Wow, the word that comes to mind when I read this is: ENCHANTED! Those views are so beautiful!

    I feel like Iceland is really on the radar this year! I now definitely want to visit it at some point — looks like a nature dream! :)

    • You’re so sweet Erika! :) It is pretty easy (and cheap!) to get to Iceland from the USA! I went from Detroit to Minneapolis and then Minneapolis to Iceland. That second flight was less than 6 hours! Icelandair all the way :))))) Maybe a reward for when you finish school?! Incentives always work on me! xo

    • Iceland is just so gorgeous…how could you not go there? Also, Icelandair allows you to have a free stopover there for up to 7 days so how can you say no! :)

  4. More and more I’m thinking about making Iceland a destination on my way back to the U.S. from Europe. This post just helped to convince me…

  5. Oh my goodness, every single one of these pictures makes me want to visit Iceland so badly! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking! Those waterfalls look especially incredible. I need to go!!!!

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