Around The Iceland Golden Circle


Time for a Golden Circle road trip. 

The last time we went for a family trip was years ago when we won the JetStar contest, bringing us to New Zealand. My parents has been making this a big deal since then and all of us finally came together and made it to Iceland.

Our first road trip for the week started with the popular Golden Circle route that spans 237 kilometers and 3-hours drive away from Reykjavik. Although there are many places that caught our eye during a week long online research, we decided to enjoy the scenery and chose the ones that we wanted to see the most together. When you have a big family like mine, there are bound to be random stops for epic sceneries, toilet breaks and snack time.

Therefore I bring you the main highlights and stunning landscapes taken from our Golden Circle road trip with a few random stops along the way.

Stop 1: A quick stop for the beautiful view. 

The land of ice and fire never cease to amaze me. From the moment we started our journey out from Reykjavik, the landscape changed from cityscape to green moss, shiny black rocks and dreamy mountains. At one point, the road ahead of us seemed to stretch beyond infinity, with endless sky and moody clouds. I stared out the window for minutes until we reached a stop for a quick photo and to stretch our legs. There were many stops along the way but we only chose a few that was interesting, to save time. What I loved about traveling with my family is that we always go with the flow and this makes the journey more memorable.

The Golden Circle Road Trip

Random stop after leaving Reykjavik.


Stop 2: Þingvellir, or Thingvellir. 

An hour and a half later, we arrived at Þingvellir National Park for a view of the earth plates between two continents (American and Eurasian). The park is also a site of geological wonder, history and listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites for its cultural values. It was such a cold day and I was not used to the chilly winds hitting my face. A little fun fact about me is that I can’t stand the cold because it makes me shiver and freeze. (Yes I tend to pause in my walk and not move a muscle until someone rescues me with heat.) The admission to this scenic view is free but parking costs US $5 and if we wanted to go to the toilet (which we did), it costs US $2 per entry.


A church below at Thingvellir Park.

The beautiful Thingvellir National Park from the top view.


Stop 3: Saying Hello to Icelandic Horses.  

We made our way again to our next destination, but not before stopping to pat these gentle Icelandic horses which we saw along the way. Most of the farms belong to private owners and its normal to see these magnificent creatures roaming about on their land. The one we saw were held behind a fence (to keep them safe from the road) and very friendly. At another stop, we saw a small wooden box with a container of coins and neatly arranged horse pallets. The owners allowed travelers to see the horses up close, and feed them with a small fee. It’s refreshing to see how trustworthy and honest people are in this country.

Meeting this cute thing on the Golden Circle Route.

Such trust and honesty displayed in this country.


Stop 4: Gullfoss Waterfall. 

The Gulfoss Waterfall is also known as the Golden Waterfall where rainbow shines above it every few minutes or so. On a good day, travelers were able to see a double rainbow! This untouched nature is located in South Iceland on Hvítá (White) which pours from Iceland’s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull. The water goes all the way down, 32-meters in fact, in two stages and then flows into a canyon where the walls are up to 70 meters in height. We stood at the top deck admiring the Gulfoss, and could feel the sharp water droplets splashing on us. Everyone except my mother and I went, walked down to get closer to the waterfall.

The iconic Gulfoss waterfall on the Golden Circle Route.


Stop 5: Haukadalur Geysir.

We went to the Haukadalur Geysir with more than 40 hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles. There, we waited for the Strokkur, the biggest Geysir to erupt in a big way, every five minutes. The smoke comes out from the ground and stream pushes through when the temperature gets hot. We had a quick lunch stop at the cafe where a plate of fish & chips cost 2,900 ISK (US $29) and a cup of coffee for 545 ISK (US $5.45). While we were ordering coffee, we overheard a group of travelers commenting on the expensive prices in the cafe and that they would try to find a cheaper place down the street. This made me feel a little funny inside because these prices are expected in Iceland through other travelers experiences and local information that was gathered online.

The steaming Haukadalur-Geysir.

The tall steam spouting Strokkur Geysir in Haukadalur.

Stop 6: Keio Volcanic Crater 

Our final stop of the day was Kerið, a volcanic crater lake that was located on our way back from the Golden Circle. It is believed that Kerið was originally a cone volcano that erupted and and emptied its magma reserve. The crater was formed about 6,500 years ago and forms a a clear colored lake, with red and green slopes. It’s oval in shape and can be viewed from above or below (right at the lake). My siblings took a walk down to take some photos while we stayed above, admiring at this large natural beauty.

A view of Kreio, volcanic crate lake on the way back from the Golden Circle.

Ending the Road Trip with more scenic views.

As the road trip ended, we enjoyed the scenic views that kept on alternating, just like the weather. At that point I realized that one week would not be enough to cover this beautiful land. Perhaps if there was more time, we would be able to stop by other spots along the way. But for now, this Golden Circle Route ended pleasantly well for us.

Adorable houses can be seen on private lands.

Steam spouting from the geothermal geyser in Iceland.

A mossy land is commonly seen throughout Iceland.

Our Golden Circle Route, Iceland in One Day. 

If you’re planning on taking a road trip around the Golden Circle, plan well especially on the timing so that you catch these places before night falls. Click on the map below to have a look at the route that we took on this trip.


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About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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