One of my favorite parts about Iceland is driving around on the Golden Circle tour. One can go with a tour company for 10.500 Icelandic Krona, about $82 USD per person, or rent a car and go at your own pace. I personally rented a car for the long drive around Southern Iceland.
I recommend starting out early to beat the tour buses, and if it winter it can get dark very early! The first stop for most people on the Golden Circle is þingvellir National Park, the founding site for the Icelandic Parliament. þingvellir is also in a rift valley, where the North American and Eurasian plates are slowing pulling apart from each other a few centimeters a year! I took a few pictures from a distance, as it was rainy and very cold out. The average driving time from Reykjavik to þingvellir is about thirty-five minutes.
The next stop on the Golden Circle tour is to Geysir. Geysir has a couple of active geysers around the area. The Great Geysir rarely erupts much anymore, maybe about three times a day with no predictability. A little farther up the road there is another geyser named Strokkur. Strokkur is a much smaller geyser, but it erupts very predicatively every eight to ten minutes with heights between fifteen to twenty meters on average. The average driving time between þingvellir to Geysir is about fifty minutes.
A little father up the road is a huge waterfall called Gulfoss. Gullfoss is a huge waterfall with a three-step “staircase” down. Gullfoss almost disappeared from existence because some foreign investors wanted to dam up the falls for a hydroelectric plant. The story goes that Sigríður Tómasdóttir saved the falls by threatening to throw herself into the falls. The average drive from Geysir to Gullfoss is about ten minutes.
Some people like to continue their drive around Southern Iceland by heading south to Selfoss and driving back to Reykjavik on the ring road. I personally drove back the same route I came, since it was a shorter drive back to Reykjavik. I highly recommend the Golden Circle drive while visiting Iceland!