Drive the Golden Circle, Iceland

There are two types of travelers to Iceland, ones like me who spend the bulk of their time in Reykjavik taking day trips to see the countryside and others who simply stay in small guesthouses in the more remote areas of the island. Obviously, if you can do the latter, you’ll be treated to a far more authentic experience with majestic vistas of glaciers, volcanoes, and the coastline around every bend. I needed to be in Reykjavik for a travel writers’ conference, but even I had the chance to check out three incredible sites thanks to the daylong Golden Circle tour with Reykjavik Excursions. First stop was Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the tectonic plates of Europe and North America meet. You walk on a narrow trail dwarfed by the rocky walls. Next stop was the surging waters of the Gulfoss Waterfalls, cascading down the tiers of rock. You take a short hike to the lip of waterfalls, sprayed by the cool water. Last stop was Geysir, Iceland’s version of Yellowstone where hot pools churn and bubble and the Strokkur geyser erupts every 4 to 5 minutes. Coupled with a trip to the Blue Lagoon, a whalewatching/puffin tour, even the opportunity to hike on a glacier, you can get a good taste of Iceland while spending your nights in Reykjavik.