Fire and Ice: Driving Iceland’s Golden Circle

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Iceland's Golden Circle: The perfect evening at Laugarvatn. Photo by Kayla Lewkowicz
The perfect evening at Laugarvatn. Photo by Kayla Lewkowicz

Relax in Laugarvatn

Take a dip in Laugarvatn’s famous geothermal spa, Fontana, or the local geothermal swimming pool right next door. Stop at the geothermal lake. It’s clear blue waters with mountain backdrop will help soothe any aches and pains. Stop in at Lindin, an upscale bistro and restaurant, for arctic char or lamb, both Icelandic staples.

If you’re splitting the Golden Circle into two days, Laugarvatn is a fantastic spot to break up your trip.

Iceland Golden Circle: Steaming cauldrons at Geysir. Photo by Kayla Lewkowicz
Steaming cauldrons at Geysir. Photo by Kayla Lewkowicz

Welcome to Mars: Geysir, Iceland

Stop at Geysir to watch the mighty Stokkur gush every 5-10 minutes or so, but also for the other hot-pots as well, bubbling mud and spurting steam more irregularly. Tread carefully as the water gets quite hot, well over 125 degrees Celsius (that’s 257 degrees Fahrenheit!) You’ll notice the smell of sulfur here immediately — stay out of the path of the steam and it shouldn’t bother you once you get used to it.

The Golden Falls: Gullfoss Waterfall

Only a short drive past Geysir, head to Gullfoss. At 32 meters high, gallons of water gush over Gullfoss’ mighty falls. Known as the “golden falls,” enjoy its picturesque beauty and walk along various trails to see the power of water. It has the distinction of being the largest waterfall in Europe by volume. On a sunny day, you’ll likely catch a rainbow.

The mighty Gullfoss Waterfall. Photo by Kayla Lewkowicz
The mighty Gullfoss Waterfall. Photo by Kayla Lewkowicz

The Hot Spring Capital: Herveragerdi

On your way back to Reykjavik, take a pit stop in Herveragerdi, full of bubbling hot pots. Stretch your legs and take a break in this geothermal park. With miles of hiking trails and paths to explore, you’ll enjoy the chance to take in Iceland at its finest.

In June during the midnight sun, the entire town comes alive with a huge flower festival and exhibition, blossoming the town with color overnight.

Whether you spend a day or a week in the Golden Circle, you’ll be amazed at every turn. It’s the perfect way to get a taste of what Iceland has to offer — and you’ll definitely want to come back.

If You Go to Iceland

Author Bio: Kayla Lewkowicz hails from Hopkinton, MA, the home of the Boston Marathon. A marketer by day and freelance writer by night, she’s a passionate storyteller, reader, hiker, swimmer, runner, and eater. Like what she has to say? Subscribe to her blog or say hello on Twitter @kllewkow.