Sunday, October 23, 2016

ICELAND: The Golden Circle | Part 1

Iceland's Golden Circle is a popular tour of some of the most incredible natural attractions nearby Reykjavik. We would recommend going clockwise from the city as this will allow you to see the main attractions first. The entire trip can be driven within about 4 hours, but you should plan a day to complete the sights if you enjoy photography. In addition to the main 3 stops (Thingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss), we also added on some stops to some lesser-traveled destinations - which was super rewarding.

We began our tour early in the morning. As we opted to rent a car for our week in Iceland, we were not constrained by having to meet the timing of a tour bus. We would highly recommend doing the Golden Circle in this way if possible, in order to have the best opportunity to get photos without a bunch of tourists and to add on other destinations at your discretion.

Our first stop was Thingvellir National Park, which is located between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Thingvellir is also the location for the formation of the Icelandic parliament. This park has a lot of history and geological beauty, and it's therefore a very popular destination. We arrived at the park around 8am, an hour before the info shop officially opens and tour buses arrive. This allowed us to get in many shots without having the nuance of many people in our photos and to get the best light possible for early morning.

Our second stop was Geysir - the geyser for which all others are named. There are several geysers in the area, but the most notable attractions are Geysir and Strokkur. While Geysir itself is rather inactive, Strokkur Geyser is only a few feet away and erupts every few minutes. It was really incredible to spend some time in this hot springs area, where you can hear the ground boiling beneath your feet! We did not spend much time here but there were a few trails that meandered through the area.

This is part of a series of posts about the Golden Circle in Iceland.
Check out the other posts here.

Did you tour the Golden Circle? Which was your favorite part?

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