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Golden circle questions

Newmarket, Canada
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Golden circle questions

We will have a car on our trip at the beginning of June and would like to drive the Golden circle tour ourselves. Does it matter which way you drive the circle. All organized tours seem to go in same direction, so I was just wondering if one direction is preferable to the other. Are there places on route to eat or should we bring a picnic? Any suggestions for side trips while on route? Thanks

Reykjavik, Iceland
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1. Re: Golden circle questions

This got so long in writing that I almost sent it to you as a PM, but I think it will be useful to others, so here goes:

No, it doesn't really matter in which direction you go. As to what to see, I'd suggest that you google "Golden Circle" and make sure you are clear on the main route and attractions.

There are many possible side-trips; I‘ll mention only what I consider to be the most important ones, because you could never see them all in one day, even a very long day. Others may feel that some which I‘ve omitted are worth a diversion and perhaps they‘ll make their own comments too.

If you begin with Þingvellir then there are two possible routes:

1. Road #1 north to #36 and stop at Gljúfrasteinn http://www.gljufrasteinn.is/a - if you are interested in Icelandic culture and the arts then this is something you should look at. Then continue on #36 towards Þingvellir, shirtly before taking the road on the right to Almannagjá, before returning to #36 and continuing to Þingvellir.

2. Road #1 east to #431 Hafravatnsvegur and then #435 Nesjavallavegur out to the centre of the volcano Hengill - you'll drive through two craters, then overlook the steam collection area for the Nesjavellir geothermal plant. Following #435 downhill to #360 Grafsningsvegur and turn right, after 1km you can drive up to the geothermal works, and may be able to get a guided tour. Retrace your tracks and backtrack on #360 past the junction with #435 and continue with Þingvallavatn lake on your right until the junction with #36 - turn right and you are now on the same route as 1. above.

3. It is possible to combine the two - start with Gljúfrasteinn and then backtrack into Mosfellsbær, finding #431 to meet #435.

For full information google “Þingvellir“ or “Thingvellir“.

After Þingvellir take #365 over Lyngdalsheiði to Laugarvatn (you may see this on some digital maps as Bláskógabyggð), turning left on #37 towards Geysir, continuing straight on #35 a few kms before Geysir.

For full information google “Geysir“.

Continue on #35 to Gullfoss, noting the gravel road #30 on your right, which I suggest you use on your return.

For full information google “Gulfoss“.

Return on #35, turning left on #30 for 4 kms or so, then right onto #358. Drive past the narrow bridge on your right and soon after you‘ll come to Faxi (or Vatnsleysufoss) waterfall. Here‘s a map reference http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=64.2256,-20.3381&spn=0.01,0.01&t=m&lci=org.wikipedia.en&q=64.2256,-20.3381(Faxi)

Backtrack to the narrow bridge, cross it and almost immediately you are on #35. Turn left, past Reykholt. Continue on #35 until #31 on your left, turn up #31 and after 3 kms or so turn right to Skálholt church – the turning is about 0,5 km before the church.

For full information google “Skálholt“ or “Skalholt“.

Return on #31 to #35 and turn left heading south passing #37 on your right. About 3kms after passing #353 on your left look for a sign to “Kerið“ on your left; you may see cars and or buses in the car park which is just uphill from the road.

For full information google “Kerið“ or “Kerid“.

Continue on #35 until Route #1.

The quickest route back to Reykjavík is to turn right on #1, passing through Hveragerði, which is worth a stop if you have time.

For full information google “Hveragerði“ or “Hveragerdi“.

If you want a slightly longer route and to stop somewhere for an early dinner then (all tarred roads):

At the end of #35 turn left on #1 to Selfoss; immediately after crossing the river turn right at the roundaboutonto #34, and 10kms later left on #33 to Stokkseyri to Fjöruborðið – bookings essential www.fjorubordid.is/englishhaus_haus.html

Or, continue on #34 to the second turning on the left to Eyrarbakki and Rauðahúsið – bookings advisable -http://www.raudahusid.is/english

Or, continue on #34 and immediately after crossing the bridge on your left is Hafið bláa http://www.hafidblaa.is/ (Icelandic only)

To return to Reykjavík:

Continue on #34 until the junction with #38 – turn left if you want to make a brief visit to the fishing village of Þorlákshöfn, or turn right towards Reykjavík. After 3 kms you have two options, turn right on #38 to Hveragerði and then left at the roundabout on #1 and up and over Hellisheiði, or continue straight on (now #39) and up and over Þrengsli to join #1 nearer to Reykjavík.

For an even longer day you could skip the crater Kerið - maybe see it on the way back, as it‘s only 5km from Route #1 - and end the Golden Circle at Skálholt, then continue east and southeast on #31 turning left on #30 and very soon right on #32 to head through Árnes to Þjórsárdalur. …wikipedia.org/wiki/…A1rdalur

Either backtrack on #32 then #30 south to #1 and turn right to Selfoss, then pick up the route alternatives above, or continue north on #32, crossing the Þjórsá river north of Burfell, then turn right on #26 heading south past the volcano Hekla back to #1 between Selfoss and Hella, where you turn right to Selfoss and pick up the routes alternatives above.

With both these last options you should include Urriðafoss – from #30 turn left onto #1 away from Selfoss and right on #302 just before the bridge. Coming from #26 on route #1 it‘s of course left just after the bridge. A couple of km south turn left for 200 metres and you‘ll see the falls. Backtrack to #1 and turn left to Selfoss

And finally, if you want something even more adventurous then consider the option of a private guide – see reply #1 tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g189970-i594-k4236…

Places to eat, apart from those specifically mentioned above :

Þingvellir – tourist centre

Laugarvatn

Geysir

Gullfoss – by the top level car park

Reykholt – petrol station on #35

Hveragerði

There are several other places as well.

If you do take the Þjórsárdalur option then there are hardly any – best to pick up some sandwiches and drinks at Árnes.

Lastly, do be aware that to do the Golden Circle justice, you need at least 8 hours. Adding on the Þjórsárdalur option means anything from 3-6 hours in addition, and of course even more if you want try to see absolutely everything. But, in early June you will have no lack of daylight, so anything is possible, provided you have the stamina!

London, United...
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2. Re: Golden circle questions

Hi,

Could we do what you mention above in 2 days in March, starting from reykjavik in the morning with an overnight break at laugarvatn. ( have already made hotel booking at Galleri laugarvatn) while combining Deildartunguhver, Reynisfjara beach.

Many thanks for your time.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Golden circle questions

Thanks for the lengthy reply, we will be using this route when we go up there in May.

4. Re: Golden circle questions

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