The traditional Golden circle consists of three stops. There's Þingvellir national park, Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area. Now don’t get us wrong, these are all fantastic places and we highly recommend them.
But, since you’re driving on your own you won’t have the hassle of waiting for a bus or 50 other tourists. That means you have time for more stops along the way and can make the most out of the day. This is even more true if you’re here in the summer because the midnight sun gives you extra time for sightseeing. The sites can even be more magical during the evening because the sun casts sort of an eerie light. The guided Golden circle tours are around 6-10 hours but since you have your own car you can squeeze in more hours if you leave early.
The crater Kerið
For a small fee, you can see the 6500-year-old natural wonder, just off road 35. The crater has very colorful surroundings and a lake at the bottom. Yes, it’s a hole in the ground, but it’s a very cool looking hole in the ground.
Friðheimar greenhouse and restaurant
Friðheimar is a nice stop, especially if you’re in the area between 12:00 and 16:00 and feeling hungry. If you're wondering how we can grow vegetables in Iceland you can go on a short tour of the greenhouse. Afterwards, you can chill at the restaurant. You´ll sit among tomato plants and eat delicious tomato soup with home baked bread. The tomatoes might look at you funny while you eat but you´ll just have to get past that.
Fontana Spa at lake Laugarvatn
The Fontana geothermal baths are unique. They offer a peaceful and rejuvenating soak in mineral rich water. You can choose between several types of hot tubs with different temperatures. There's also a steam room and you can take a dip in lake Laugarvatn. If you're hungry you can have a taste of geothermally baked bread or sample other food in the restaurant. It’s open all year round.
Although it may not be as impressive as Gullfoss waterfall, Faxi is still a popular stop. It’s only 12 kilometers from Gullfoss. It plunges down 7 meters or so, and while that may not sound like much, it makes up for it by being 80 meters wide.
Other interesting places:
- Secret Lagoon
- Sólheimar ecovillage