A 186 mile loop featuring geysers, lagoons, waterfalls and more lies ahead of travelers embarking on Iceland’s Golden Circle Tour. Just east of Reykjavik, the well-traveled road is one of the most popular excursions in Iceland.
Highlights of the Golden Circle include visits to Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss, Strokkur, Skálholt Cathedral and the Secret Lagoon. But travelers seeking a more unique experience might be interested in checking out some of the following sites to explore lesser known parts of Iceland’s countryside:
Here, travelers find one of the only places in the world where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rises above sea level. This geological hub is as much a historical wonder as it is a natural one, with local folklore capturing Icelanders’ imaginations for over 400 years.
Shooting up over 300 feet are the sheer cliffs surrounding Ásbyrgi, a two-mile long horseshoe-shaped canyon about a 50 minute drive east of Húsavík. While there are geological explanations for the formation of this depression, legend has it that Sleipnir, the Norse god Odin’s eight-legged horse, put one of his hooves down as Odin rode by, thus creating the canyon.
The area is complete with a vast pond at the heart of the “U” and an exciting variety of vegetation and wildlife.
Flowing from the Hallmundarhraun lava field is a nearly 3,000 foot expanse of waterfalls known as Hraunfossar. The falls get their name from the Icelandic word “hraun,” meaning “lava.” From Hraunfossar, explorers can check out a number of other natural sites within walking distance, like the Barnafoss waterfalls that are just a stone’s throw away.
Whether visitors choose to stick to the main loop or venture off on their own, one thing is for sure: these sites will offer some of the most breathtaking experiences in Iceland!
Know any other hidden attractions? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @IcelandNatural!