Iceland’s Golden Circle was a nice warm up to the rest of the country. Well paved roads with views of sheep, Icelandic horses and rainbows!
1. Thingvellir National Park
The location where the American and European continental plates are separating by 2 cm a year!
A beautiful park, and only UNESCO world heritage center in Iceland.
Some practical notes:
- Pay for parking – highly recommend the parka app
- Great place for a free, clean bathroom break not just at the visitor’s center, but within the park – with great views!
- Bring layers, including waterproof layers – it can get wet and windy!
- Plan your meals – places to grab food are sparse, close early, and reservations are helpful
The park is a great place for some gentle hiking:
The Continental Rift
We were lucky enough to visit with a friend who studies geology, so thank you Paula for the helping us with the following graphics!
The other reason Thingvellir is famous is because this is the location of the Alþing, or meeting point of the Icelandic parliament starting in 930 AD and lasting for nine centuries.
Other sights at Thingvellir
2. Geysir Geothermal Area
This area has been active for over 1000 years! Made up of Geysir, Strokkur and other smaller hot springs.
Seamboat geysir in Yellowstone is even larger than Iceland’s geysir, but both will only erupt after earthquakes.
Strokkur — wait for it…!
Strokkur here in the Golden Circle erupts regularly, and is even larger than Old Faithful, and erupts much more frequently.
Strokkur erupts every 8-10 minutes, Old Faithful every 30-100 minutes. Plus, Strokkur has another mini eruption shortly after the initial eruption, see for yourself below!
Bonus Sight: Bruarfoss Waterfall Hike
Bonus sight: Kerid Crater
3,000 year old crater created by a volcano. Famous for being well intact, unique aquamarine water, and red, volcanic dirt. The water comes from the ground and the sides of the cater area are covered in moss. The area is full of wildlife, such as birds. One is able to walk around the lake.
Just under 200 feet deep, approximately 550 feet wide. Typically costs 4 ISK to enter.