Iceland Golden Circle guide: Big attractions in addition to hidden secrets

Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets

The 300-kilometer (186 miles) road loop east of the capital Reykjavik neatly fits in a Viking heritage site, impressive geysers, lagoons, waterfalls in addition to more.

Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets

Better still, especially for those using the volcanic island as a brief stopover between North America in addition to Europe, the idea can be done in a day as part of a bus tour or self-drive.

Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets

There’s a downside though.

Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets

that will ease of access, in addition to the ethereal allure of This particular geological wonderland, means the Golden Circle can get a little busy, particularly when the tour buses arrive.

Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets

Not only that will, yet in following that will well-worn trail, visitors could be missing out on equally stunning, yet somewhat more hidden marvels elsewhere in Iceland.

Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets

To help, we’ve put together a guide to the Golden Circle that will offers alternatives to the big attractions for those with extra time on their hands in addition to adventure on their minds.

Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets

Þingvellir National Park

Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets
Þingvellir, or Thingvellir as many people pronounce the idea, can be a national park in addition to an extraordinary first stop on the Golden Circle tour.

Here, under what looks like the solid ground of Iceland, the North American in addition to Eurasian tectonic plates are splitting apart a few centimeters (an inch) each year, meaning that will eventually the island will be pulled in two at This particular spot.

Þingvellir also holds cultural in addition to historical value for Icelanders — the idea’s here that will the Althing, the national parliament of Iceland, was established in 930 AD, doing the idea the site of the first Viking parliament.

Sessions were held until the end of the 18th century, when the parliament moved to Reykjavik.

While the idea’s rugged in addition to filled with boulders, ravines in addition to creeks with crystal-clear water, the idea’s easily accessible by trails.


The Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall takes its name by the fact that will on sunny days the water definitely does look golden.

The river Hvítá plunges into a deep gorge here, in addition to Gullfoss can be difficult to see at first when approaching — the idea appears that will the river simply vanishes into the earth before reaching the edge of the gorge.

the idea’s an epic sight, looking just as not bad by close up as the idea does by the viewing spot overlooking the falls.

The booming cascades of water are thankfully loud enough to drown out the sounds of tourist-operated drones shooting video overhead.

inside the early 20th century there was talk of building a hydroelectric power plant over the falls.

Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of the man who owned the land, loved the falls so much that will she threatened to throw herself into the water if the plant was built.

She also went barefoot on a protest march to Reykjavik, a walk of 0 kilometers (75 miles) on unpaved roads.

Her protest ended successfully — the power plant was never built, in addition to there’s a little memorial to Tómasdóttir in addition to her love for the waters at the top of the falls.

The land around the waterfall was later sold to the state of Iceland, in addition to can be today a protected area.

Strokkur in addition to Geysir at Haukadalur

The unruly surface of Iceland can be easily accessible at the geothermal area of Haukadalur, a smoldering landscape of geysers that will has been attracting attention since an earthquake in 1294.

The biggest geysers here are Strokkur in addition to Geysir itself, which lends its name to all the various other explosive hot springs around the planet.

Dependable Strokkur erupts every a few to 10 minutes; Geysir, however, erupts rarely. Thanks to visitors inside the early 20th century who kept throwing stones into the idea to trigger an eruption, the idea’s today almost completely blocked.

There are around 40 smaller hot springs in addition to mud pots nearby. Tour guides like to show off the ground’s heat by baking bread directly on the hot earth.

Skálholt Cathedral

Bloody past: Skálholt Cathedral. - Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets
Skálholt Cathedral can be an important structure in Icelandic history, having been a bishop’s seat since 1056, in addition to the location of the country’s first school.

the idea’s also the site of the bloody ending of Catholicism in Iceland in 1550 when the last Catholic bishop was executed here along with his two sons, clearing the way for the Lutheran church.

The current Cathedral can be large compared to most Icelandic churches, in addition to its white walls in addition to tower can be seen far away.

Visitors can stay overnight in dormitories in addition to cottages in summer, in addition to classical concerts take place here in July.

Nesjavellir geothermal power plant

So hot: Nesjavellir geothermal power plant. - Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets

Many streets in Reykjavik are heated in winter thanks to the geothermal fields around the city which provide a supply of hot water straight by the ground.

Some of the water comes by the foothills of the active mountain Hengill on the Golden Circle route.

The geothermal areas here are among the most powerful high-temperature fields in Iceland, in addition to are processed by the Nesjavellir plant, which can be open to visitors.

Perched inside the hills, the idea looks more like a moon base than a power plant, in addition to the idea’s equally fascinating to learn about the way the water can be processed here.

that will sulfur-smelling hot water inside the hotel shower in Reykjavik? the idea’s probably also by Nesjavellir.

Secret Lagoon

Secret Lagoon: Not definitely a secret. - Iceland Golden Circle Guide: Big Attractions In Addition To Hidden Secrets
A dip into the geothermal waters at the Secret Lagoon, a public pool built over natural hot springs inside the little village of Fludir completes the Golden Circle loop.

The name can be misleading. the idea’s not definitely that will secret anymore, yet the idea’s still a relaxing way to end a busy day.

The water here stays at 38-40 C (100-104 F) throughout year, in addition to there’s even a little geyser visible by the pool which erupts every a few minutes.

Visit in winter in addition to there’s a chance of seeing the Northern Lights while bobbing inside the hot water.

Beyond the Golden Circle

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After knocking off the Golden Circle classics, the idea’s worth livening up any Icelandic adventure that has a few Insentif outdoor wonders a bit farther by Reykjavik.

The Mid-Atlantic ridge comes ashore on the Reykjanes peninsula between Reykjavik in addition to the international airport in Keflavik.

The park can be home to breathtaking geological formations — including the geothermal area of Gunnuhver, where the ground can be constantly erupting with boiling mud in addition to hot steam wafting across silica hills.

Geology here goes back many millennia, with the last series of eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula beginning around AD 1000.

Fittingly, Gunnuhver can be named after a ghost that will allegedly plagued locals 400 years ago.

The horseshoe-shaped depression can be part of Vatnajökull National Park in addition to, for over half of its length, the canyon can be divided by a distinctive, 25-meter-high (82 feet) rock formation called Eyjan (Island), where hikers can enjoy spectacular views.

Ásbyrgi was formed by glacial flooding after the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago. The wooded canyon with steep cliffs up to 100 meters (328 feet) can be well-liked with hikers in addition to locals camping here in summer.

A rare wooded area on a volcanic island, visitors to Ásbyrgi can hike up to the cliffs or even play a round of golf on the nearby course.

by the cliffs, one might even glean the mythological origin of the canyon: according to legend the canyon was formed when Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, touched one of its feet to the ground here.

The waterfalls pour into the Hvítá river by ledges inside the hardened lava, flowing dramatically out by what looks like solid ground.

Just upstream can be another smaller waterfall called Barnafoss, or waterfall of children.

Iceland Golden Circle guide: Big attractions in addition to hidden secrets