After arriving in Iceland, your 10-day Ring Road self-drive adventure will begin immediately when you pick up your rental car at Keflavik International Airport. Then, you’ll head straight to the most popular touring route in Iceland, the epic Golden Circle.
Thingvellir National Park
You’ll travel through absolutely alien scenery as you drive towards the Icelandic capital. The road leads by moss-covered lava fields along the dramatic ocean coastlines. You’ll drive through Reykjavík and then head inland to Iceland’s oldest national park, Thingvellir.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Thingvellir represents great historical and geological values. This is the very location where the world’s first democratic parliament was founded in the year 930. Also, Thingvellir is the site where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are slowly edging apart, creating a stunning rift valley that runs right through the park.
Follow the path and walk along this rugged valley between the dramatic cliffs of the continents’ boundaries. Visit the site where the law speaker – the supreme Icelandic chieftain – would stand to proclaim the law. There was no parliament building here. Today, a simple flag marks the law rock (lögberg) where the greatest decisions in the history of Iceland were declared under the open sky.
Geysir Geothermal Area
Next on the agenda is the world-famous Geysir Geothermal Area. It’s located only an hour’s drive from Thingvellir. This is the site where the Great Geysir – which all other geysers were named after – is located. The area is filled with thick steam, bubbling hot springs, and boiling mud pots, along with many other exciting geothermal phenomena.
Even though the Great Geysir is inactive nowadays, you’ll get to see its little brother, Strokkur, which erupts huge volumes of superheated water high into the air every 5 to 10 minutes. These boiling water spouts often reach a height of 65-131 ft. (20-40 m)! Watching a geyser erupt will surely give you that tingly feeling in your stomach!
Only a 10-minute drive from here, your next stop is one of Iceland’s most well-known and most powerful waterfalls, the majestic Gullfoss. The water flowing through Gullfoss originates in Iceland’s second-largest glacier, Langjökull. In good weather, you’ll be able to see the giant ice cap shining in the distance!
In the summertime, the path that leads very close to the waterfall is open. Walking all the way to the water will give you the opportunity to feel the spray in the air as the thundering torrent is forced through the canyon. The water drops 105 ft. (32 m) in two stages, down into a scenic canyon.
In the wintertime, you can still walk pretty close to the waterfall. You’ll have plenty of great photo opportunities from one of the scenic viewing points over the cascade. In sunny weather, you’ll see a pretty rainbow and plenty of golden-hued spray around Gullfoss, which are also known as the Golden Falls!
On your way back to the capital, you can visit another scenic waterfall called Faxafoss or Faxi. This one is not as big and powerful as Gullfoss but it’s very pretty and definitely worth a visit.
After the rich and adventurous day, you’ll spend the night in the Reykjavik area in a pre-booked room with a private bathroom and breakfast included.