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Iceland: Golden Circle

Iceland is famous for its stunning scenery and natural beauty. No one should visit without a trip around the famous Golden Circle. This is a popular route between three of Iceland’s most visited attractions: Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. It can be a day trip from Reykjavik into the southern uplands and back, or the first day of an amazing road trip around the Ring Road.

The whole Golden Circle route can easily be done in one day, as the classic loop route back to Reykjavik is 230 kilometres (140 miles). One of our guidebooks said that the drive takes just over 3 hours. We spent approximately 3-4 hours at each of the three stops, perhaps longer... we really lost track of time due to the 24 hour days. It was our first night on the road and we were quite shocked to discover the lateness of the hour when we settled into our campsite for the night.


The first major stop on the Golden Circle drive is Þingvellir (Thingvellir). Thingvillir is a hugely important site of Iceland's cultural history, as well as a site of outstanding geology. The first Viking settlers arrived in South Iceland sometime in the 9th century AD. As time went on, the settlers realized that they needed some sort of group who could resolve disputes and create the rules of their society. Thingvellir was chosen as the site because it was widely known and accessibly from all the settled areas. In 930, the world's first parliament was created. Shortly afterwards, Christianity was declared the religion of the nation as a way to quell religious squabbles.

Geologically speaking, this is the location wh