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Things to See Around Golden Circle

Discover the The Lesser-Known Spots

|April 5, 2022

Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Geysir geothermal area are the most prominent spots that you need to visit to complete the journey of exploring the Golden Circle. But what if we told you to set out on an off-beaten path to discover some of the lesser-known spots in the Golden Circle? From hidden hot springs to sneaky caves and caverns, there are plenty of spots that should be on your list of places to see.


What Is the Golden Circle in Iceland?

Golden Circle is a circular tourist route that comprises three main locations, including Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Geysir geothermal area. As one of the key Iceland attractions, it is a 300-kilometer loop that starts from Reykjavík.

Gullfoss Falls by the sunset in Iceland

Gullfoss waterfall by the sunset, Iceland

Typically, you'll need at least a day to cover three of the key location in the Golden Circle. But if you have some additional time on hand, check out some of these Golden Circle attractions too. These lesser-known spots are stunning and not very touristy.

Golden Circle Lesser-known Sights

Wondering what to see in the Golden Circle, one of the most popular tours in Iceland? Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Geysir geothermal area are the main attractions. But there's more to the Golden Circle than that.

1. Helgufoss Waterfall

Situated on the Mosfellsdalur valley, Helgufoss waterfall is just a 30-minute drive from Reykjavik. Although this is one of the less explored sites, it is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Iceland and must not be missed. Helgufoss is just 12 meters tall and is not as dramatic as some of the thundering waterfalls that you'll find on the Golden Circle tour. But, it's a hidden gem with scenic views!

2. Thorufoss Waterfall

If you are an aspiring photographer trying to capture the best of waterfalls along the route, Thorufoss must be on your list of places to see. This serene spot is located near the Þingvellir National Park. Besides being featured in Game of Thrones, Thorufoss waterfalls are famous for their fine salmon population too. From lush greens to 100 feet wide waterfalls, everything about this location is truly mesmerizing.

Thorufoss Waterfall at Þingvellir National Park in Iceland

Thorufoss Waterfall at Þingvellir National Park in Iceland

3. Slakki Petting Zoo

For those travelers exploring the Golden Circle with their little ones, Slakki Petting Zoo will be a favorite. More than a petting zoo, Slakki is a relaxing spot located in the small village of Laugarás. Bunnies, cats, goats, parrots, small rodents, and even foxes can be found here.

4. Kerið Crater

Located in the Grimsnes area, Kerið Crater is an ancient volcanic crater lake. Part of Iceland’s Western Volcanic Zone, the crater is about 55 meters deep and gives a surreal experience. This 3,000-year-old volcanic crater is a part of a group of volcanic hills called Tjarnarhólar. Located along the Golden Circle route, most travelers usually have Kerið crater on their bucket list of places to see.

Aerial view of Kerid Crater in Iceland

Kerið Crater, Iceland

5. Faxi Waterfall

Set out on an off-beaten track and take a slight detour off the Golden Circle route to get to the Faxi Waterfalls. This place is every photographer's dream location. Although Faxi is a little-known waterfall tucked away on the Tungufljót, it will still be one of the most impressive and beautiful parts of the Golden Circle tour.

Drone view of Faxi Waterfall

Faxi Waterfall, Iceland

6. Hrunalaug Hot Spring

Hrunalaug hot spring is one of the many secret geothermal pools in Iceland. Located on a privately owned property, this hot spring is out in the open and has no changing rooms. Hrunalaug is a small natural hot pool near Flúðir, a quick detour from the Golden Circle route.

Hrunalaug Hot Spring by turf roofed house

Hrunalaug Hot Spring near turf roofed house in Iceland

7. Brúarhlöð Canyon

Every spot in Iceland is beyond stunning, and so is Brúarhlöð Canyon. Words cannot summarize the beauty of the blue lagoon and the milky azure waters, so it must be witnessed. Brúarhlöð Canyon is one of the best spots to relax and unwind amidst nature. From extraordinary rock formations to milky white waters, it is amazing to see how nature creates contrasts that soothe your vision.

Brúarhlöð Canyon with blue waters in Iceland

Brúarhlöð Canyon with blue waters, Iceland

8. Skálholt Church

After your visit to Brúarhlöð Canyon, stop by the cathedral at Skálholt. Situated in the lower part of the Biskupstungur valley, this church is a historical spot and has been in existence since the 11th century.

Skálholt Cathedral and turf roofed house

Skálholt Cathedral in Iceland

9. Langjökull Glacier

During your visit to the Gullfoss waterfall, try the snowmobile tour at Langjökull Glacier. This is a great activity that'll give you an adrenaline rush. Located in the western highlands, Langjökull Glacier is the second largest ice cap in Iceland and is spread across 950 square kilometers. The open and vast glaciers can be accessed by Super Jeeps and snowmobiles.

Man Snowmobiling on Langjokull Glacier

Snowmobiling on Langjökull Glacier in Iceland

10. Laugarvatn Fontana Spa

After a long journey, traveling far and wide to experience the best of Iceland, you'll need a spa to relax and unwind. Fontana Spa is located in the town of Laugarvatn and is equipped with a sauna, steamed bath, hot tubs, and even gives you an opportunity to take a dip in one of their three geothermal pools.

Fontana Spa at Laugarvatn town

Fontana Spa in Laugarvatn, Iceland

There are so many splendid locations in Iceland, especially on the route of the Golden Circle. So, whenever you plan to visit Iceland next, don't forget to explore some of these lesser-known spots. Take on an adventure, go beyond the usual touristy path, and create memories.

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