One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty and adventure of Iceland is by taking the classic Golden Circle Tour. The Golden Circle refers to a route that takes travelers through three of Iceland’s most memorable destinations; the mighty waterfall Gullfoss, the gurgling geothermal wonder Geysir, and historic national park Þingvellir. The Golden Circle tour is known as the best Iceland has to offer, and you can drive it yourself or book a bus tour. If you are curious about the Golden Circle tour, then read on to see what you could experience in Iceland.
As Iceland’s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss is also known as the Golden Falls. Its waters spill in three levels from a height of 35 to almost 70 feet, into a 230-foot gorge that leads to the Hvíta river. You’ll soon discover why Gullfoss is easily Iceland’s most photographed waterfall. The waterfall is beautiful any time of year, whether it is surrounded by miles of lush grass in the summer or enveloped in the crisp white snows of winter. At certain times of the day you might even be lucky enough to catch a photo-op with a rainbow. This site is so popular that the Icelandic Government and the landowners have been debating for years about charging a visitor’s fee, but Gullfoss falls is still free to visit for the time being.
The next stop on the Golden Circle tour is Geysir, which features one of Iceland’s most popular representations of nature’s geothermal activity. If you were wondering, the name Geysir is the origin of the word “geyser,” which makes sense when you see how prominent Iceland’s geysers are. However, Geysir itself is fairly dormant and has only erupted once in the last decade. But you can visit another geyser nearby, Stokkur, that erupts every 5 to 7 minutes. Some geologists had theorized that the geysers came from ancient earthquakes in the 13th century, which may have disturbed underground hot springs enough to cause them to erupt into the surface. There are many hot springs in the nearby area, such as Laugarvatn, meaning “bathing waters,” on the way between Geysir and Þingvellir, where you can enjoy the exhilarating 104-degree dip outside.
The last, and perhaps most memorable, stop on the Golden Circle tour is, Þingvellir National Park. Also spelled as Thingvellir, meaning “Parliament Plains,” Þingvellir holds deep historical significance because it was the birthplace of democracy in Iceland. You can visit the Þingvellir interpretive center to learn historical details and get hiking maps of the area. Then you can set off for the Lögberg, or “Law Rock,” where parliament meetings were first held in Iceland that shaped it as a country.
Explore Iceland with AESU!
Are you ready to plan an adventure of a lifetime? AESU offers unique, thrilling travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We are also able to design custom tours just for your group.
Experience an exhilarating adventure on the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival Tour! This 5-day adventure allows you to experience the very best of Iceland Airwaves. Explore downtown Reykjavik with a knowledgeable guide, and discover the newest, most innovative artists on the planet! After the festival, explore Reykjavik’s most popular attractions, from the Gullfoss Waterfall to the Secret Lagoon!
2020 tour dates are now available! If you have any questions or want help booking your European adventure, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640, or fill out the contact form found on our website. Follow AESU on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.