The Most Instagrammable Spots in Iceland’s Golden Circle
Cameras at the ready...
Iceland is top of the bucket list when it comes to capturing mind-bending views and will make your insta followers wish they hadn’t spent all that money on their annual all-inclusive beach vacay in the Med last year.
Think natural hot springs, epic waterfalls and erupting geysers, ice caves, volcanic craters and black sand beaches. It’s jaw-dropping shiz.
There’s no better way to see all of the above than on the Golden Circle trail. Here’s a list of the most beautiful places to see (and grab those all-important shots along the way).
Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is a true sight to behold and perfect for nature lovers looking to capture the rawness and diversity of Iceland’s incredible landscape. Winter is the best time to visit, especially after dark when the Northern Lights can be seen in all their glory and the snow covered lava field gives an eerie, magical feel.
The park lies in a rift valley, caused by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, that is pulled apart at a rate of 2 centimetres per year. If you don’t mind feeling completely freezing, you can Scuba Dive or Snorkel in these icy waters, which is the only place in the world where you can do so between 2 tectonic plates.
There’s much to explore in the park, whether it be gazing in awe at the 20 metre (66ft) Öxarárfoss waterfall, tossing coins (and/or credit cards!) into the Nikulasargia Gorge whilst making a wish, or gazing out at the wonder of it all from the top of the Almannagjá (the money shot!)
Geysir Geothermal Area
Another essential stop along the Golden Circle trail is the geothermal area in Haukadalur, with its boiling mud pits, hot springs and exploding geysers putting on quite a show for your camera.
The area became active over 1000 years ago and contains more than a dozen hot water blowholes in total. The absolute must-see is the impressive Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100ft) into the air every few minutes - just don’t get too close!
Found in the Hvítá river canyon in South-west Iceland, Gullfoss (or ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and much loved waterfalls. If you’re lucky enough, you may catch rainbows glimmering across the spray of the water in the sunshine.
Prepare to be spellbound by the sheer force of nature as the water cascades 32 metres down Gullfoss’ two stages. It’s a truly unforgettable sight and with it comes a sense of serenity and peace that will stay with you long after you head back home.
Why not visit the nearby Langjökull glacier and spend some time exploring its majestic icy tunnels, or whizz around its sparkling surface on a snowmobile if you fancy a thrill?
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
White sandy beaches may seem totally overrated once you’ve set your eyes on the mesmerising Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach on the south-coast of Iceland.
Having quite literally risen from the ashes, this lava beach is beautifully rugged and wild, ranked one of the 10 most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. Iceland has several volcanic beaches but Reynisfjara with its eerie black sands, lava formations, basalt columns, caves and imposing cliff faces is definitely the pick of the bunch.
Kerið Volcanic Crater Lake
If you can fit it in, head over to take some shots of the stunning Kerið volcanic crater lake located in the Grimsnes area of South Iceland. Formed around 3000 years ago, the crater lake is surrounded by fiery red and orange volcanic rock which contrast beautifully with the piercing blue waters.
It’s easy to get a bit lost in the big blue eye of Kerið.
Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls
Definitely don’t miss the chance to experience the beauty of the Seljalandsfoss and nearby Skógafoss waterfalls. At over 25 metres (82ft) wide and with a 60 metre (197ft) drop, Skógafoss is seriously imposing, with the flow so powerful that you will start feeling the spray from several feet away.
Nearby Seljalandsfoss is the taller of the two waterfalls thought not so wide, and can be enjoyed from every angle as the walking trail goes on either side, in front and behind the waterfall. Prepare to get soggy!
Also, climb up the stairs to the top of if you can. We promise it’s 100% worth it for that staggering view.
By Amy Cecily Wilson