Why You Should Plan Less Time for the Golden Circle

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Why You Should Plan Less Time for the Golden Circle

Category : Iceland

We decided to start our road trip by driving the Golden Circle route which is very popular among tourists that visit Reykavik. It consists of three main sights that are only around 40 km away from the city: Pingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss. Some tour operator offer Golden Circle Day trips. If you’re organizing the trip yourself I recommend you to plan less time for the Golden Circle.

Pingvellir is a national park that lies in a rift valley and has historical and cultural significance. There are parking spots available very close to the rift valley and you can take several hiking routes through the whole area. You can certainly spend a couple of hours hiking here but we only wanted to get an impression of the area and chose a short track.

Pingvellir, Iceland

Our next destination was a hot spring, Geysir, just a few kilometres away from Pingvellir. It was impressive to observe the natural power pushing the hot water out of the ground every 2-3 minutes. However, due to the popularity of the Golden Circle route this area was completely full of tourists arriving in huge busses and squeezing each other next to the Geysir to cast a glance at this phenomenon. I recommend you to hike up the hill for a better view.

Geysir, Iceland

After that we visited Gullfoss, the first of many waterfalls we were about to see. Again you could park nearby the waterfall and hike there within a few minutes. That explains the masses of tourists gathering here as well. Make sure to bring your rain jacket and protect your camera because the wind carries lots of water in the direction of the hiking trail. The waterfall is impressive in terms of the water volume running down each second but in my opinion not the most beautiful waterfall that Iceland has to offer.

Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Why you should plan less time for the Golden Circle

We definitely enjoyed the Golden Circle route because it reflects a part of Iceland’s scenic diversity. If you’re only staying in Reykjavik and have no possibility to drive around on your own it’s a good thing to do.

However, I recommend to plan maximum a half day for this trip if you organize it yourself. Simply because you have the chance to see much nicer places with fewer people. In our case we luckily we had enough time left to drive to Seljalandsfoss. This waterfall was the highlight of our day. It’s one of the most scenic and ‘romantic’ waterfalls I’ve ever seen. You can take a walk in the surrounding area and behind the waterfall. Try to get there early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

When we arrived in the afternoon most people already left to drive back to Reykjavik. We explored the area and took some pictures of Seljalandsfoss during sunset. Afterwards we had dinner next to this beautiful scenery – a perfect end of day one 🙂


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