Road Trip Iceland Part 2: Golden Circle Tour – Þingvellir, Gullfoss & Geysir
Iceland Golden Circle Tour – Everyone knows about the all-in-one tour of Iceland: Golden Circle Tour Iceland Þingvellir, Geysir & Gullfoss. The days in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik have been wonderful: close to nature, nordic architecture as a perfect starting point for our 21-days Road Trip Iceland. After our Gay Couple City Weekend Reykjavik, it was time to leave the city life and start our adventure in nature with a 4×4 Land Cruiser, a tent, and all necessary equipment.
Huge and powerful waterfalls, a walk between the American and European tectonic plates at Þingvellir and our first Northern Lights (Aurelia Borealis) at world-famous Geysir left us gay couple travel bloggers simply speechless. But there is more to see during the first steps through untouched nature, besides our 13 Top Highlights Iceland. Join us on our Golden Circle Tour Iceland Þingvellir Geysir Gullfoss and experience Icelandic nature through a couple of men‘s eyes before our road trip will continue to South Icelandic Vík.
Our Golden Circle Tour: Finally in Iceland’s nature
Working until the last day before a long holiday doesn’t give enough air and time to calm down from everyday life. The inner clock is ticking in work mode, thoughts about work things running through your mind and an inner unrest and insecurity about how well prepared everything might be, keeps you away from a true holiday mode. Thanks to our first days in Reykjavik we were able to switch into travel mode as Reykjavik is a perfect place to calm down. Finding inner peace while sitting in hot tubs looking for countless minutes over mountains and thinking about what will come when we are finally escaping from everyday life into Iceland’s deserted landscapes. From beautiful Reykjavik into nature, the Iceland adventure begins.
Driving with the sound of Iceland
Thanks to our Wifi by Síminn we were able to listen to the right music for Iceland over Spotify. Bands like Íkorni, Yunip, and Kate Bush were our constant companions during our time in the car. Especially for that, we created our own Iceland Playlist.
Enjoy whenever you want, best of course while driving through the Icelandic landscape.
From Reykjavik to our first steps in Iceland’s nature
After a half an hour driving in North East direction we left Reykjavik and the busy city life behind us. And suddenly it turned out there was nothing, nothing than hills, valleys, mountains, horses, sheep, scattered farms and one road ahead: the ring road number 1. Surreal and free.. that is how we can describe our first impressions. And again: we needed to calm us down! Our adventure had just begun. We stopped the car off the road and walked for minutes out of everything into nothing. Pressure drops off, the sun blinded our eyes and a fresh wind breeze blows through untouched grass playing around our still fully heads. We are on Iceland, finally.
Golden Circle Tour Iceland Þingvellir Geysir Gullfoss
How fast can Iceland’s landscape change its (sur)face? How intense can Iceland’s colors be (without any filter)? How calming down and turning off can nature set your whole body’s mode? One answer: Iceland is beyond words. Throughout all the preparations back home high expectations built up. But Iceland exceeded all our expectations, on every level. The only thing to do: staring speechlessly at incredible beauty, enjoy the silence of nothing than nature and saving images in our minds and our Nikon. This feeling should not stop for the rest of our trip. While writing this, several times we had to close our eyes, turning on our Iceland Playlist on Spotify and suddenly we were on the roads again. You have to believe: This is how Iceland is and will treat you.
“Out of everything into nothing but nature.” – KARL & DAAN
On our journey through Iceland here with you on our Blog, we will come back again and again on how this nordic island is simply different and mind-opening. For now, we will stay focused: this post is about a Gay Couple’s Golden Circle Tour. Feel free to ask more questions about how Iceland exceeded or even surpassed our expectations.
Good to know about our Golden Circle Tour Iceland
The Gullni hringurinn, that literally means in Icelandic The Golden Ring or Golden Roundtrip, is one of the most famous day tours operated from Reykjavik. The Golden Circle Tour is especially for a short trip or stopover from Europe to America (or reverse) for a one day trip. The main highlights are the area around the rift valley marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at Þingvellir, the father, and eponym for all the other geysers in the world, the Great Geysir and the waterfall “Gullfoss”. Plenty bus tours are offering day tours about 8,5 hours (including breaks) and a total of 300 km. An alternative is, of course, the self-drive option. Read now more about a Gay Couple’s Golden Circle Tour from highlight to highlight.
We left Reykjavik facing the Golden Ring as an entrance to our 21 days Roadtrip Iceland. We didn’t do the loop but left the way back to Reykjavik in a southeastern direction to the black beaches of Vík.
1. Þingvellir – Tectonic Plates of Europe and America
Distance Reykjavik to Þingvellir: ca. 46km by car
Þingvellir (pronounced in English Thingvellir), is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Iceland and describes the historically and geological important area in southwest Iceland at the northern part of Iceland’s biggest natural grown lake, Þingvallavatn. The main road passes by the Information Center on top of the cliff. Follow the signs and do not miss to stop here, because the area around is a hidden treasure behind the cliff and take your time to walk down the valley to the small chapel Þingvallakirkja surrounded by pure nature. Walking down the rift brings you to a waterfall falling from America down to Europe. Special, unique and powerful. Next to nature highlights, in Þingvellir the Icelandic Parliament was established in 930 and remained there until 1798. You are still able to see the Flag of Iceland at the spot of the act of the Icelandic parliament.
2. Geysir – The origin of “Geysers” worldwide
Distance Þingvellir to Geysir: ca. 60km by car
Our way further on the Golden Circle Tour brought us around the lake Þingvallavatn with a stunning sunset panorama. What a highlight of our way to Geysir. After 30-40 minutes including small stops on our way, we reached our final destination of the day: Geysir. Right next to the special area around the Great Geysir owned by the people of Iceland, you find a well maintained and basic equipped campsite of Geysir. It was not busy at all so we found our private spot for our first-night camping under Icelandic sky.
Our special tip: There is no entrance fee to pay when entering the hot spring area so a free visit around the clock is possible. After setting up our tent and stuff, we decided to discover the surrounding, being excited to see the origin of all geysers worldwide ALONE AT NIGHT.
Wandering under a full moon in steam clouds makes it thrilling to walk through the area, not knowing when the next spouting will appear in the dark. Although that’s what a geyser is about, the periodical spouting off hot, boiling water, you never know when to expect the next steaming. And don’t forget to look up: especially the time of year between the end of August and spring it the time for Northern lights! We made here at Geysir our first impressive shot. The next morning we had enough time to see everything in daylight. A special and must see a place of the tour, seriously.
3. Gullfoss – Powerful & one of the most impressive Waterfalls
Distance Geysir to Gullfoss: ca. 10 km by car
Around noon we said goodbye to Geysir heading further to our first big waterfall of our trip, Gullfoss. Literally, the Icelandic name of Gullfoss means “Golden waterfall” and is one of the most powerful and impressive waterfalls we saw on our 21 days road trip around Iceland. The waterfall even made our Top 13 Highlights of Iceland! The water from the river Hvítá runs down the canyon and drops in 2 steps first 11 and then 21 meters down into a never-ending roaring of the water. Curtains of mist floating along the riverside. When you first see the river and falling water, it looks like the river is swallowed up by the earth. A spectacular experience. Our tip: take waterproof clothing there and a camera protection for the mist.
More Waterfalls on our way from the Golden Circle to Vík
From our Gay Couple’s Golden Circle Tour, our road trip led us in south direction. Through sheer endless wide plains along isolated areas and a mountain glacier panorama far ahead, driving in Iceland has something meditative and inspiring. The goal of our second day on our 21-day road trip around Iceland is the small city of Vík famous for its black beaches and Puffin cliffs. But before reaching this area, we passed by popular waterfalls: the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall with its hidden neighbor Gljúfrafoss and Skógafoss Waterfall with stairways to heaven, almost.
Take a walk behind Seljalandsfoss & Gljúfrafoss
Distance Gullfoss to Seljalandsfoss: ca. 117 km by car
Just 100 meter of the ring road you can already spot Seljalandsfoss out of the car. After reaching the small parking ground with free toilets and a snack bar, in less than 2 minutes walking distance a real highlight of Iceland! Walk behind the Seljalandsfoss and discover the mystery of the backside of a waterfall. But do not leave afterward! In less than 5 minutes further away from the ring road you can find a campsite with a huge hidden waterfall in a cave, Gljúfrafoss! Our tip: take waterproof clothing and a camera protection!
Skógafoss Waterfall – with stairways to heaven
Distance Seljalandsfoss to Skógafoss: ca. 29 km by car
After passing by a huge mountain and crossing a typical Icelandic bridge we spotted on our left-hand side the huge waterfall Skógafoss, famous from the guidebook Lonely Planet about Iceland but also for uncountable pictures of a waterfall with a rainbow. We parked our car next to the crowded campsite and took a walk along the black gravel of the riverbed of the Skógá River. Right next to the waterfall, a stairway leads up to a hiking path to the pass Fimmvörðuháls. Reaching the top of the stairway we enjoyed a stunning view of the waterfall and the wide countryside of new land. The Skógafoss waterfall, like many other waterfalls along the south of Iceland, marks the former coastline of Iceland after the coast receded seawards. With a drop of over 60 meters, Skógafoss is one of the highest and biggest waterfalls of Iceland.
Interesting Iceland Articles for your Iceland Road Trip:
- Whale Watching North Iceland in Húsavík >
- Hiking a Glacier at Skaftafell National Park >
- Zodiac Tour over the Glacier Lagoon Jökulsárlón >
- Bus Tour to Volcano Askja Central Iceland >
- White River Glacier River Rafting with Viking >
- Hestasport Horseback Riding in North Iceland >
- Stay at gay-friendly Hestasport Cottages >
- All Information for a Road Trip North Iceland >
- All information for your planning: 21 days Road Trip Iceland >
Curious what’s coming next?
Iceland Golden Circle Tour: Þingvellir Geysir Gullfoss
We reached the campsite of Vík by sunset. After building up our tent, we went out for dinner with tasty pasta and Icelandic beef burger just across the main road with a view of the sea. To be awake early in the morning, our second day of our 21 days road trip around Iceland ended when darkness falls. We spend the next day in Vík and around Vík visiting the black beaches, the national birds of Iceland, the Puffins and explored the coast lava caves of Vík in part 3 of our Iceland Road Trip.
Karl & Daan.