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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!
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 :)
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 :)
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)!
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! :)