Before you hit the wild depths of the Ring Road, it is a good idea to ease into it with doing the Golden Circle first, which is home to many of Iceland’s most famous attractions. Kicking off your ring road with a tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle is a smart move to ease yourself into the unforgettable beauty you will encounter.
FIRST STOP: Pingvellir national park
At this national park, I visited three main places, the Almannagjá gorge, Þingvallavatn lake, and the Öxarárfoss waterfall.
The Almannagjá marks the place between the Mid-Atlantic Rift, which separates the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This made me wish I paid attention more in science class. It is also said to represent the Gates of the Moon ☽
Next I saw the Þingvallavatn lake, which honestly was a little bit underwhelming. However, it is the largest natural lake in Iceland so it deserves some credit for that.
The Öxarárfoss waterfall is a very serene place. This waterfall reminded me of a Microsoft desktop background I would’ve had on my computer 10 years ago. There is also an Öxarárfoss Waterfall Trail hike, which is 2.6 miles looped around the area. I saw a guy here take out a cup and dip it into the running water, and immediately sip it. At first I was like woah what is this crazy guy doing, but then realized it’s probably some of the most pure water on earth.
SECOND STOP: Gullfoss
Next on my Iceland’s Golden Circle daytrip, was an astonishing waterfall, Gullfoss. This waterfall literally took my breathe away. The weather cleared up and it became such a gorgeous sunny day for the duration of my visit to Gullfoss. The height is a whopping 105′ which is huge. It is arguably Iceland’s most famous waterfall, and the raw power is what attracts most people. It is completely remarkable.
THIRD STOP: Geysir
Geysir is a famous hot spring in a geothermal area. It is highly active which makes this part of the trip really exciting, as you’ll see water spurting out every few minutes. This is a must-see for every visitor coming to Iceland. It’s also probably an awesome place to bring kids… not that I have any of course! I loved this spot because I’d never seen anything like it, however as you can see from the photos below, it was quite crowded.
I befriended someone at the top of the hill and luckily got some photographs in. Getting pictures while doing solo travel is tough, especially without a tripod. Don’t be afraid to make friends with some fellow-travelers 😉
Wooooo I’m flying!
FOURTH STOP: Kerid Crater
Nothing compares to the emerald green and blue lake at Kerið, which is a volcanic crater lake. I never thought I would see one of these in my life! The crater is 55 meters deep, and dates back to around 3000 years ago. It’s a few bucks to enter, but it is worth it for the extraordinary views. You can walk the perimeter of the crater and also walk down some stairs to be at level with the lake.
FIFTH STOP: Selfoss
At night, I stayed in a wonderful Airbnb in Selfoss, right behind a sweet little river. I loved this location because I could easily walk to town to get dinner. I went to Kaffi Krus, a cozy restaurant with tons of options on their menu, which I talk about in my post, the Best Local + Healthy Restaurants in Iceland. This is where my Airbnb host suggested so I followed the local advice and wasn’t let down by my vegan lasagne!
And yes, if I could do it all over again I would. Iceland’s Golden Circle is one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited. Read my 6 Day Solo Trip in Iceland Itinerary if you’re interested in seeing all the other parts of Iceland I’ve explored ♡ See you again someday, wonderful Iceland xx