The Golden Circle in Iceland is a super popular destination with visitors. You can see waterfalls, historic sites, geothermal geysers, and horses all in one action-packed day!
You can drive The Golden Circle in Iceland on your own (called “self-driving”) and enjoy many gorgeous landmarks of the area.
The Iceland Golden Circle Route
Ring Road is a path that circles the entire country of Iceland, and it takes usually a full week to drive. A popular alternative is the Iceland Golden Circle Route. It’s shorter, and a bit easier to take all in one go.
The Golden Circle is a 190-mile driving loop that travels from Reykjavik into the southern highlands of Iceland. You can do the whole trip in one day. Because of this, it’s an experience you can easily add to your travel agenda — and get a huge return on your investment of time and energy!
Benefits of Self Driving
Driving yourself around the Golden Circle in Iceland will allow you to travel at a pace that pleases you. You can rent a car and hit all the best attractions while driving this epic route.
Considerations when you’re self-driving are:
- how to prepare
- where to stay
- the best things to see!
Iceland Travel Information
Iceland is currently allowing COVID-19 vaccinated travellers through the border to visit. This includes American tourists. Please, however, make sure you check for updates before making any plans, of course.
At the time of writing this article, hotels, popular attractions, and even private tours are open with strict protocols in place. Everyone can feel safe as many businesses are operating at only 50% – 60% capacity.
As long as you follow the guidelines and pay attention to everything that’s required of tourists during these challenging times, you’ll be fine.
While you don’t need a 4×4 vehicle to drive the Golden Circle in Iceland, you’ll need a car to take this adventure. The Golden Circle road is well-maintained and driving in Iceland isn’t difficult.
A big benefit of self-driving is that you can stop at any time, and explore the different areas that are interesting to you. However, if you do prefer to join a tour, you can spend the day exploring the best of Iceland’s Golden Circle with a professional guide, and transportation included.
Driving Your Own Car in Iceland
Have you heard of Discover Cars? It’s a website that searches both local and international car rental companies. Because of this, they can find you better deals and great prices when you’re travelling. This is the easiest way to rent a car in Iceland.
Gas, like in many places, is really expensive in Iceland. Gas will cost you around $2USD per litre. You should really only need one full tank to drive The Golden Circle in Iceland.
Once you figure out your method of transportation, you can start to explore a few of the incredible things you can do on this adventure!
1. Pet Icelandic Horses
As you drive the Golden Circle, you’ll see ponies and sheep along the road. Only thing is, you don’t want to call them ponies, but don’t say that to the locals! They take a lot of pride in their horses, and their history dates back to the 9th century.
The small, fuzzy horses are an incredible opportunity for a horse-selfie! They’re very friendly, and apparently love having their pictures taken.
Make sure, if you do opt to do some patting, that you find a safe parking area. As you drive along, it may be tempting to just stop on the road or at the side of the road but this can be dangerous. Once you’ve found a safe place to park, you can walk up to the fence and pat the horses.
2. The Haukadalur Geysers
Haukadalur is a geothermal area about 60km away from Pingvellir National Park. The two famous geysers here are called Geysir and Strokkur. And a lot of people don’t know it, but the term “geyser” itself was derived from this particular one in Iceland.
The spot is said to smell like rotten eggs. The Earth churns up boiling water and steam rises from vents in the earth at this site. Because those vents run through mud pools, fumaroles, and mineral deposits, they can catch quite the stink.
3. Gulfoss Waterfall
The next major highlight on Iceland’s Golden Cirlce is the mighty Hvita river. It disappears into a ravine at an incredible waterfall, and it’s an essential stop along the way.
When the sun hits in the right way, this waterfall takes on a goldfish hue. This explains why “Gulfoss” translates to “gold waterfall” in Icelandic!
These are just some of the incredible stops you can take in Iceland. There is so much to enjoy in this country!
If you’d like a map of The Golden Circle in Iceland, please check this out!