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Highlights from The Golden Circle, Iceland | Don't Ever Look Back

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Highlights from The Golden Circle, Iceland

Highlights from The Golden Circle, Iceland

The Golden Circle is the most popular tourist route in Iceland, a 300-kilometer circular loop that takes in many of the country’s famous landmarks including Þingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss. If you’re only visiting Iceland for a couple of days, this is the tour that you probably want to take.

The two of us took the Golden Circle Classic tour with Iceland Excursions and saw some stunning scenery as we drove around Iceland on their 8-hour tour. Our guide Erlingur knew just about everything there was to know about Iceland and kept us entertained in the process – he actually provided most of the facts for our Did You Know? – Random Facts About Iceland post.

Here are our highlights from our Golden Circle Tour.


þingvellir Rift at þingvellirþingvellir Church

Þingvellir is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its cultural, historical and geographical significance. Icelandic parliament was founded here in 930 AD and is the oldest parliament in the world.

There is also an enormous geologic rift located here between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia which is quite the sight to see! Some of the rifts are full of crystal clear water and one of them, Peningagjá, is littered with coins because of a historic tradition based on European legends that is said to bring you luck if you toss a coin in.

Coins in Peningagjá

Gullfoss Waterfall

GullfossGullfoss Waterfall Amy at Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss, translated to “Golden Falls” in English, is a majestic 32-meter dual-folding waterfall that is the most popular waterfall in Iceland. The best part of the visit here is that you can walk so close to the falls that you can feel the spray on your face – just be careful on the slippery rocks!





Of all the attractions on The Golden Circle tour, the Geysir was the one we were most looking forward to visiting. Although it was a little smaller than expected, it was still definitely worth the stop.

Watching it churn and then erupt was very impressive and we got some semi-decent photos of it happening! The geysir Strokkur erupts approximately every five minutes but be patient – we tried to record a video only to give up just seconds before it erupted again.


Skálholt church

One of the final stops on our Golden Circle Tour was Skálholt and the large cathedral there, a significant historical site in Iceland. For nearly 800 years it was one of the most important places in Iceland as the ancient seat of the Icelandic bishops.

Have you heard of Iceland’s Golden Circle? Would you like to tour it one day?

A huge thanks to Súsanna from ICELANDisHOT for organizing our Golden Circle Classic tour with Iceland Excursions. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.


  1. Posted November 17, 2011 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    Oooh, love the photos! I’m probably just going to keep commenting on all of your Iceland posts, haha. They are great and it feels like I’m revisiting 😀
    Seattle Dredge recently posted..Walking through Old Town Rossano Calabro

    • Posted November 17, 2011 at 3:14 am | Permalink

      Haha please feel free to keep on commenting – we definitely got excited about our visit by reading your posts as well. 🙂

  2. Posted November 17, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    To be honest I’ve never thought much about traveling to iceland and as far as I know haven’t met anyone thats gone, reading your posts is making me want to add it to the list!
    Heather recently posted..Bucket List Item #32: Kissing the Blarney Stone

    • Posted November 17, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Thanks Heather, we really appreciate your nice words – that’s why we write these posts to hopefully inspire others to travel!

      Iceland is a really beautiful place and we would recommend it to anyone. Definitely add it to your list – it’s only a short flight from NYC or London! 🙂

  3. Posted November 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Still need to get up to Iceland! Love the photos. How did you get them to be arranged like that in the post?

    • Posted November 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Cole – definitely get to Iceland when you can!

      The alignment of the photos are set to ‘None’ and just placed next to each other, adjusting the width so that they fit on the page. For the first photo on the left, I’ve set the style to “padding-right: 15px” to give the spacing between the two images.

      Hopefully that makes sense. Send me an email if you need any help!

  4. Posted November 18, 2011 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Iceland came on my radar only a couple years ago, but now I’d love to go. It’ll probably have to wait until we aren’t living on the complete other side of the planet, but we’ll get there eventually, and the Golden Circle is definitely one of main attractions.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..Wine tasting at Viu Manent

    • Posted November 18, 2011 at 5:15 am | Permalink

      It is a long way from the Southern Hemisphere that’s for sure, but the next time you’re on the East Coast of the US or in Europe, include it in your itinerary. 🙂

  5. John North
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I did the tour in August 2010 with my cousin who drove me around. It is definitely worth seeing and your photos are good. Iceland is one of those countries that many people do not think of visiting but there are so many great things to see and do. This winter the Northern Lights are supposed to be more magnificent that usual!

    • Posted November 19, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Completely agree John – we were determined to see the Northern Lights but unfortunately our tour got cancelled due to bad weather (and believe it or not, they were appearing in the midwest USA!).

      We heard the same thing though, the lights are getting brighter and will peak in 2013. A great time to visit Iceland!

  6. Posted November 20, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I did this tour when I was there in 1998. One of my travel highlights!
    Erik recently posted..Photo of the Day- Blue Star Spring, Yellowstone National Park

  7. Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    Nice to hear from you again, Erlingur says hi 😉

    • Posted November 22, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks Robert – say hello to Erlingur for us as well! He was a great guide!

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