The Golden Circle, Iceland
One of the most magical experiences you can have in Iceland would have to be going on a road trip along Route 1 or the Ring Road. During the warmer months when weather conditions allow, you are able to circle the entire island. And it’s guaranteed that the journey will be filled with picturesque scenes of sweeping fields, snow-capped mountains, and adorable Icelandic ponies.
Along this Ring Road are smaller routes that will lead to breathtaking falls, majestic fjords, quaint towns, and more. This route is so often traversed by visitors that it has earned the name The Golden Circle.
During my road trip excursions, I only touched a minor portion of the southern region of Iceland, but it was enough to convince me to come back one day for a complete tour around. The drive was also fairly easy to navigate, especially if you acquired a GPS with your car. After securing a rental, I spent a leisure two days driving to some of the major sights of this Golden Circle.
Whichever sights you choose to visit, every one is sure to be a worthwhile experience.
Camera used : Canon S95 Date taken : April 2013
One and a half hours away from Reykjavik is Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It is visible from the ring road, but a short drive to get to. Due to a cave recess behind the fall, there is a small walkway that can take you to views behind the gushing waters. Just be caustious in the colder months as the ground will be mostly slicked with frozen sprinkles.
When you drive further about twenty minutes away from Seljalandsfoss is the roaring giant of Skogafoss. Because of the gushing water with heavy amount of sprays, visitors are guaranteed to be treated to double rainbows views almost anytime. To the right of the fall is the trail for the hike on Fimmvorduhals to reach Eyjafajallajokuff volcano. Unfortunately then I was not as adventurous. I chickened out about a fourth of the way up due to my fear of height and the rickety condition of the steps.
The coastal town of Vik is 2 and a half hours away from Reykjavik. A little before reaching the town of Vik is Dyrholaey, a coastline of black sand beaches as far as the eyes can see. A very curvy and tiny road leads up to a summit where you can get vast views from all angles. To the North is visible the glacier of Myrdalsjokull. To the East is a black lava columns of Reynisdrangar. And to the West is the coastline that reaches Selfoss. For the bird lovers, summer times are when those adorable puffins come to play around the area.
Thingvellir National Park
Located at about 40 minutes drive away from Reykjavik is the cultural and geological signficance landmark of Thingvellir. Established as a World Heritage Site in 2004, this national park is one of the popular must visit destinations of Iceland. It lies in a rift valley that marks the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with unusual tectonic and volcanic composition. These photos were taken during the Spring of April which is already a sight to be seen, but I am sure it would look even more amaizng during the Summer seasons.
The next stop on the drive would be the great geothermal Geysir at Haukadalsvegur. There are various springs aligned along a 100 m wide strip of land. Every few minutes hot water spouts as tall as 100 feet(30 meters) from the great Geysir.
Continuing on from Thingvellir is Gullfoss waterfall, located in the canyon of Hvita river in southwest Iceland. The crevice is about 66ft (20 m) wide, 2.5 km in length, and extends perpendicular to the flow of the river. Coming directly to this fall from Reykjavik would be approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. This was the last stop on my drive before heading back to Reykjavik.
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