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Golden Circle Tour: A Personal Odyssey Through Iceland’s Treasure Trove

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Explore the breathtaking wonders of Iceland's Golden Circle with our captivating journey to Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, Mt. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss, and Strokkur Geyser. Discover the awe-inspiring landscapes and geological marvels of this iconic route, complete with personal photos, insider tips and amusing trivia.

Explore the breathtaking wonders of Iceland's Golden Circle with our captivating journey to Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, Mt. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss, and Strokkur Geyser. Discover the awe-inspiring landscapes and geological marvels of this iconic route, complete with personal photos, insider tips and amusing trivia.

Discovering the Wonders of Iceland's Most Celebrated Route


As the plane descended, skirting over Iceland's rugged terrain, a ripple of excitement coursed through me. I was about to embark on a journey not just through Iceland's famed Golden Circle but into a realm where nature's artistry knows no bounds. This wasn't just a tour; it was a personal odyssey into the heart of Iceland's raw and untamed beauty.


Join me as I recount my trip through the Golden Circle, a path that weaves through the essence of Iceland's spirit. From the thundering majesty of Gullfoss, a waterfall that seems to encapsulate the power of the ancient Norse gods, to the mystical expanse of Thingvellir National Park, where the earth itself is torn asunder. I'll also take you on a detour to the ethereal landscapes of Mt. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss, followed by the explosive spectacle of the Strokkur Geyser.



This is more than a travelogue; it's a voyage of discovery and wonder, an intimate glimpse into the wonders that make Iceland a treasure trove of natural marvels. So, buckle up, let your imagination take flight, and be with me on this extraordinary adventure through Iceland's Golden Circle.


Gullfoss: The Golden Waterfall


Our first stop was Gullfoss, often referred to as the 'golden waterfall.' As I approached the falls, the sound of rushing water crescendoed into a powerful roar. The sight was mesmerising: cascades of water plummeting down in a three-step staircase, then tumbling into a deep crevice. The sun cast a golden hue over the spray, creating rainbows that danced in the mist. It was a moment of pure magic, a spectacle of nature's raw power and beauty.

Our first stop was Gullfoss, often referred to as the 'golden waterfall.' As I approached the falls, the sound of rushing water crescendoed into a powerful roar. The sight was mesmerising: cascades of water plummeting down in a three-step staircase, then tumbling into a deep crevice. The sun cast a golden hue over the spray, creating rainbows that danced in the mist. It was a moment of pure magic, a spectacle of nature's raw power and beauty.


Gullfoss is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe, with an average water flow of 140 cubic metres per second. This flow can increase significantly during the summer when glacial meltwater adds to the river. Gullfoss is also a key site in Icelandic history for environmentalism; in the early 20th century, it was nearly turned into a hydroelectric dam, but conservation efforts led by Sigríður Tómasdóttir helped preserve it.


Thingvellir National Park: Where Continents Meet


Next, we ventured to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its historical, cultural, and geological significance. Here, the Earth tells its own tale, as the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates drift apart, revealing the dramatic North-Atlantic Ridge. Walking through the park, I felt a profound connection to the earth as I literally strolled between two continents. The pitted landscape, with its fissures and lava rocks, spoke of ancient volcanic activities that shaped this incredible land.

Next, we ventured to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its historical, cultural, and geological significance. Here, the Earth tells its own tale, as the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates drift apart, revealing the dramatic North-Atlantic Ridge. Walking through the park, I felt a profound connection to the earth as I literally strolled between two continents. The pitted landscape, with its fissures and lava rocks, spoke of ancient volcanic activities that shaped this incredible land.


Thingvellir is not only geologically unique for being a place where two tectonic plates meet but also historically significant as the site of the world's first parliament, the Althing, established by the Vikings in 930 AD. The park also features in Norse mythology and is believed to be a place where the gods held their own assemblies.


Mt. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss: A Scenic Marvel


Though not part of the traditional Golden Circle route, a detour worth mentioning is the trek to Mt. Kirkjufell and the nearby Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. Located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Mt. Kirkjufell is often hailed as Iceland's most photographed mountain, and it's easy to see why. Its distinct, almost symmetrical shape and stunning surroundings make it a photographer's dream. 

Though not part of the traditional Golden Circle route, a detour worth mentioning is the trek to Mt. Kirkjufell and the nearby Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. Located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Mt. Kirkjufell is often hailed as Iceland's most photographed mountain, and it's easy to see why. Its distinct, almost symmetrical shape and stunning surroundings make it a photographer's dream. 


Just a stone's throw away lies Kirkjufellsfoss, a charming waterfall that, when viewed with Mt. Kirkjufell in the background, creates a picture-perfect Icelandic panorama. The interplay of the waterfall's cascading waters with the imposing presence of the mountain creates a harmony that encapsulates the essence of Iceland's natural splendour. This area is a testament to the diverse and breathtaking landscapes that Iceland has to offer, extending beyond the well-trodden path of the Golden Circle.


Mt. Kirkjufell, also known as 'Church Mountain,' stands at 463 metres and is noted for its unique shape, which has been likened to a witch’s hat. This mountain has also gained popularity due to its appearance in the television series "Game of Thrones" as 'Arrowhead Mountain.'


Strokkur Geyser: Nature’s Spectacular Performance



Our final highlight was the Strokkur Geyser, a natural wonder that never ceases to amaze. Every 5-10 minutes, the ground trembled slightly, and a surge of water and steam erupted up to 40 metres into the air, making it one of the most active geysers in the world. The geyser's activity is due to the geothermal heat that characterises much of Iceland’s topography.


The suspense of each eruption was exhilarating, and the spectacle was one of nature's most impressive performances. I managed to capture this incredible phenomenon in a video, which you can view above. It's an experience that reminds us of the ever-changing and dynamic nature of this planet.


Embracing Iceland's Enchantment: Final Thoughts on the Golden Circle


As my journey through Iceland’s Golden Circle drew to a close, the echoes of its ethereal landscapes lingered in my heart. This was more than a mere sightseeing tour; it was a pilgrimage into the heart of Iceland's elemental grandeur. Each step through this land felt like a dance with the forces of nature, from the hypnotic dance of the Gullfoss waterfall to the primal energy of the Strokkur Geyser.


In Thingvellir National Park, I walked through chapters of Earth's history written in stone, and at Mt. Kirkjufell, I found poetry in the mountain's silhouette against the sky. These experiences were not just visual spectacles; they were dialogues with the soul of Iceland, a land where myths breathe and landscapes speak.


As I leave behind the jagged beauty of the Golden Circle, I carry with me not just photographs or videos, but memories etched into my very being. This exploration was a reminder of our planet’s ancient wonders, a testament to the enduring beauty of our natural world.


I share this story with you, not just as a guide, but as an invitation to witness the majesty of Iceland for yourself. May these words be a bridge to your own adventure, leading you to the heart of Iceland's enchanting Golden Circle, where every turn is a discovery, and every moment a treasure.


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