Some of the best things to do in Reykjavik include a trip through the Golden Circle, and it doesn’t take long to see why. The hot springs of Geysir, the huge waterfall at Gullfoss, and the vast, broken plains of Thingvellir National Park offer up some of the most incredible geology in the world. If you’re looking for the perfect collection of Icelandic landmarks, we’ve got a few tips to help you navigate this land full of spectacle.
- Admire the sights. The easiest way to learn what all the appeal is about is to catch a ride out for a look, and the folks at Gray Line have you covered. Their express tour lets you keep your morning open, but still shows off all the scenery. You get to stand over the immense watery staircase of Gullfoss and under the towering geyser of Strokkur, scope out some of the most photogenic scenery on the whole island, and be back in town in time for dinner.
- Ride a 4-by-4. Since they’re right on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, sights like Thingvellir and the Geysir geothermal area offer up 2 continents’ worth of natural wonder—which makes them the perfect spot for some off-roading. That’s definitely what the team at Safari Quads was thinking when they gathered up a fleet of ATVs to offer an adventure through the countryside. When you’re not powering through glacial streams and looking out over waterfalls, the tour adds in a ride up into the mountains for a grand look across the country.
- Get a bird’s-eye view. If that’s not quite enough altitude for you, then you can take to the air for a look at just how vertical the landscape gets. Atlantsflug runs a sightseeing flight that shows off the Golden Circle’s greatest attractions from a whole new perspective. There’s no better way to see how the huge rift valley has split open the island, and how the trenches left by ancient glaciers still frame the countryside today.
- Go snowmobiling. Speaking of the glaciers, we have to mention the pieces of Iceland that really do stay frozen all year round. Reykjavik Sightseeing has put together an adventure that takes you out on the snow for some spectacle on the snowfields of the Langjökull glacier. On top of the time you spend powering across the sub-Arctic wilderness, you get a sophisticated audio-guide (complete with GPS) to help you check out the sights of Thingvellir and the Geysir hot springs for yourself.
- Take a bath. All this active geology makes the Golden Circle a real hotspot for the kind of relaxation that comes from an incredible landscape and a geothermal bath. So Reykjavik Excursions has put together an outing that gives you just that. You start with a tour to the geysers of Geysir, the falls of Gullfoss, and valleys of Thingvellir, and then head to the Fontana Baths for a chance to relax in some prime Icelandic steam.
- Get some private time. One thing you can’t escape about the Icelandic countryside is how easy it is to feel like you’ve got the whole world to yourself. If you want to double down on that feeling, and get the flexibility to set your own pace with a tour guide all to yourself, then Private Hire Iceland has a tour that can help. You can fill the whole group with your friends and family, or strike out for a personal introduction to the villages and landscapes.
What’s your favorite way to see the Golden Circle?