Driving Iceland’s Golden Circle: All You Need To Know
Imagine coasting through stunning countryside to see spouting geysers, thundering many-tiered waterfalls, and dramatic cliff faces. All at your own pace. If that sounds incredible, then you’re ready for an iconic adventure with a driving tour of Icelands Golden Circle.
This iconic route represents one of Icelands most popular day tours, where you can discover landscapes rich with history and folklore. And inbetween attractions you can find reasons to stop at any number of fascinating locations. Think photogenic Lutheran churches, Icelandic horse farms, and restaurants dishing up Icelandic cuisine.
- Relax and let someone else book your hotels and plan your itinerary: choose from these Golden Circle self-drive tours
- Prefer someone else to take the wheel instead? Consider a private tour, a small group tour or a multi-day tour
When you’re ready to hit the road, bookmark this handy guide to the route. Its packed with insider tips on must-see attractions and handy local restaurants to help you make the most of your trip.
Golden Circle Tour Iceland
On this Golden Circle Tour Iceland you will experience the highlights of the most popular tour in Iceland along with all the hidden secret stops we love so much
The tour is delivered using luxurious SUV/minivan that takes up to 4 persons, contact us for larger groups.
The Golden Circle tour is by far the most popular tour in Iceland and a must do if you haven´t done it before.
The first stop is Thingvellir National Park, a location very dear to Icelanders due to the contribution its given to our history. Its also a tremendously important place, geologically speaking, since here its possible to see the tectonic plates of two continents, splitting apart. And then, we return to Reykjavik and drop you off at your hotel, hoping youve enjoyed private tour just like kids :). It is located around 45 min a long way from the capital city, and this is the essential stop on the Golden Circle Tour Iceland.
Next will visit the Geyser Strokkur, which erupts every 5-10 minutes. Have you at any point seen hot spring water spouting out of the earth and rose to a few meters high in the sky? Dont miss the chance of taking a look at this present natures excellent phenomenon in your Golden Circle Tour Iceland.
Contact us by email at if you cant find availability for your traveling date or if you want to discuss adjust the itinerary.
Would you like to see the off-road version? This is our Golden Circle Tour Iceland super jeep tour.
Welcome To Ingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park is located about 45 km from the city of Reykjavik and is typically the first stop for tours around the Golden Circle because its the first attraction drivers encounter. The national park features a few sites and activities you can enjoy while you spend time there. The ideal place to start is the Visitor Centre, where you will find a number of interactive exhibits and learn more about the rich history of this area. There is also a cafeteria to buy food and a souvenir shop in the building. Children are free and adults pay a low fee of 1000 krona, which is approximately $8, but varies depending on the currency conversion.
As you work your way through the park, you will find a number of hiking trails to take in the beauty of Icelandic nature, as well as the Þingvellir church. Visitors can also camp in the area if they prefer surrounding themselves with nature rather than staying in the city. Other activities available in the park include fishing, horseback riding and diving.
When it comes to tourism, Þingvellir National Park is popular with both tourists and locals, which means youll likely encounter a good mix of people during your visit. In total for 2019, about 1.9-million people visited the park, which is slightly up from the year before. Because the country saw a small dip in foreign tourism in the same year, this indicates a greater number of locals are also visiting the park.
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Hvt River And Drumb Base Camp
The Hvítá River is sourced from Hvítárvatn, a glacial lake created by meltwater from the large glacier of Langjökull. It is the Hvítá River that flows through Icelands famous Gullfoss Waterfall.
Its one of the countrys most beloved rivers for rafting and tours by river jet, and locals often enjoy fishing for salmon in the beautiful milky-blue waters. River tours lead through eye-catching scenery, with soaring basalt columns and impressive rock formations surrounding the canyon.
Golden Circle And Kerid Crater Small
For savvy travelers looking to have an intimate experience and get the most bang for their limited travel dollars, small group tours are definitely the way to go.
This Golden Circle and Kerid Crater combo tour is limited to less than 20 participants, begins and ends in Reykjavik, and includes many of Thingvellir National Parks most impressive attractions.
Tour highlights include volcanic craters, deep chasms, and spouting geysers, as well as the unique ability to stand with one foot in Europe and the other in the Americas.
Its a great option for those whove had their fill of Reykjaviks urban setting and long for wide-open spaces and breathtaking natural attractions.
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Get Off The Beaten Path
Beyond the three main attractions, you can also visit other points of interest along the Golden Circle, such as:
- Kerid volcanic crater
It’s always a joy to explore new corners of Thingvellir National Park. No matter how many times you visit, it’s possible to see something new.
Autumn is a favorite season to explore the park when the low shrubs covering the area turn multi-colored. The ground’s red, yellow, and green colors contrast nicely with a fresh snow layer.
Tours will give you ample time at each location to see the main sights, but with your own car, you can choose to go for a short hike within the national park or perhaps bring a picnic and settle down in some mossy clearing with a view over the lake.
Most people go to the same paths in only one section of the park, next to the information center. But the park is much larger and encompasses the entire lake of Thingvellir, which would take about an hour to drive around, or a one- to two-day hike .
Welcome To The Grand Golden Circle Tour You Will Have Time To Explore The Geysir Area Around Midday And Watch The Most Active Hot Spring Strokkur Spouting Steam Up To 25 Meters In The Air
In the afternoon we will continue on your Grand Golden Circle Tour. You will head to the highlands to visit the waterfall Gullfoss, Golden Falls, in the glacial river Hvita.
On the way back, you will be taken alongside the lake Thingvallavatn and continue through the rift valley between the continental plates to Thingvellir National Park, the site of the first Icelandic parliament, Althing. Now the National Park is on the UNESCO World heritage list. You can also have a break and a photo stop at the view point above the Almannagja and the historic Rock of law before heading back along side the great lake with its unique arctic and volcanic landscape.
In the late afternoon, you will be dropped back off to a destination of your choice in Reykjavik.
Lunch can be taken in the Service Centre and the Hotel Geysir Restaurant .
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Double Room / Twin Room
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Perfect for two travellers and two bags. Accommodates up to 5 passengers and two bags.
These vehicles are Ideal for families. Being both Comfortable and economic they are nice to drive. Accommodates up to 5 passengers and 4 bags.
SUVs can be better in snowy or icy conditions due to their 4 wheel drive. The size provided by us accommodates up to 5 passengers and 3 Bags.
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For up to 6 passengers. Perfect for families or couples. Your personal driver takes you around in a comfortable way. Mercedes Vito or similar
For up to 18 passengers. We use a Ford Transit or similar. You will have enough room for your small group in this.
For up to ten passengers. The extra big tires make almost to road impassable and allow you to get on glaciers, over mountain roads and through rivers. The model may vary.
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ï What they say about this tour
Hi, we just wanted to say thank you for making our trip so special this weekend. We used your airport shuttle service and had a private golden circle tour with Siggi on Saturday and it was super. Highly recommend your company to anyone travelling to ReykjavÃk. Thanks for the memories, Sheelagh, Edel, Derv, Hazel & Barbara.
Travelling The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is widely known to be the most popular sightseeing route in Iceland, in large part due to the capital citys proximity to three of the countrys most inspiring natural attractions Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal valley and the mighty waterfall, Gullfoss .
Other attractions en-route, though not part of the Golden Circle itself, include Kerið volcanic crater, Efstidalur farm and ice cream store and the fascinating Sólheimar Ecovillage. If you hope to see these extra attractions, please make sure that the tour you are interested in includes them as part of the scheduled itinerary.
What is less known, however, is the sheer variety of methods in which visitors choose to undertake this route, the most popular of which is taking a guided tour on a coach or minibus this is a cost-effective means of experiencing the Golden Circle while also providing your party with a learned and experienced tour guide.
Guides on the Golden Circle are able to focus in on each attraction, teaching you about their history and importance to Icelandic culture, as well as pointing out lesser-known sites of interest, such as shooting locations for the HBO fantasy series, Game of Thrones, of which there are a number to be found in Þingvellir National Park.
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Where To Stay In The Golden Circle Tips For Finding Accommodation When Visiting The Golden Circle
Depending on how long you allocate for your trip on the Golden Circle, the best accommodation option for your group will vary. Here are some of our top tips:
- If you plan to drive the entire Golden Circle in a single day, then the most straightforward option is to stay in Reykjavik. Unless you have other self-drive plans to see more of the south coast or head up north.
- If your itinerary takes you away from Reykjavik, you can book accommodation on your route using Booking.com, Hotels.com, or Airbnb.
If camping is your thing, then you might consider renting a camper, which will serve as your transportation and accommodation. Keep in mind you will have to pay for a campsite if you take this option.
Cheap Iceland Golden Circle Tour
If you want to do the basic Icelandic Golden Circle route, I recommend this tour, since you will spend the day visiting the highlights of the Golden Circle at the best price. In fact, this tour is considered the cheapest Golden Circle day tour from Reykjavik.
During the tour, which lasts approximately 8 hours, you will visit the Geysir geothermal area, the impressive Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park . Also, this is one of the few tours that stop at Kerid Crater. Without a doubt, one of the best Golden Circle full-day tours to take if you are on a budget.
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Stop For Lunch At Friheimar Farm
Friðheimar Farm is a local Institution that specializes in homemade tomato soup and freshly baked bread. If you are driving the Golden Circle, this horse, cucumber, and tomato farm could be a great place to stop for lunch. Theyre open from 12-4 pm and you want to call in advance to let them know to expect you.This is especially crucial if youre with a large group.
Can I Do The Golden Circle As A Day Tour From Reykjavik
The Golden Circle is one of the most popular day tours from Reykjavik, so yes, you absolutely can.
We recommend some more tours at the end of the post, but here are a few quick examples to give you an idea of whats available.
- An 8 hour tour of the Golden Circle which includes the major highlights plus Kerid Crater.
- A full day tour of all the highlights of the Golden Circle, which includes the option to visit the Blue Lagoon as well.
- A private full day tour of the Golden Circle which includes all the highlights as well as Kerid Crater, Faxi waterfall, and time for ice cream at Efstidalur II.
As you can see, theres no shortage of choice, whether you want a private tour or a group tour.
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Can You Drive Golden Circle In One Day How Many Miles Is It
The Golden Circle can be driven in one day. If you drove it straight through, you could get around the entire route in about 3 hours, but that would mean not seeing anything. The whole loop is about 190 miles in length or 300 kilometres .
If you leave first thing in the morning, then it is technically possible to spend around 6 hours on the loop, with short stops at each of the three attractions, but we would recommend giving yourself a full day and staying over in a few places to get the full experience. The last thing you want on a vacation is to rush the whole thing. This is especially true when you self-drive the Golden Circle. You want to give yourself the flexibility to take your time, enjoy the sites and spend longer in places if you decide to. Plus, you can go at off-peak times to avoid tourist traffic.
You can also take guided day tours which will take you around the Golden Circle in a coach. These tours will stop at each site, but youll be on their schedule, meaning youll have limited time to get off the bus and check things out before moving on to the following location. Since so many people take these day tours, youll be visiting during peak hours, so places will be more crowded.
Booking Confirmation Policy For Golden Circle Tour Iceland
- The customer receives a confirmation voucher via email within 24 hours of successful booking
- In case the preferred slots are unavailable, an alternate schedule of the customers preference will be arranged and a new confirmation voucher will be sent via email.
- Alternatively, the customer may choose to cancel their booking before confirmation and a full refund will be processed.
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Lava Tunnel Walk And Golden Circle Tour
For countless millennia, volcanic and geologic activity has been creating an underground labyrinth of tunnels in and around the Golden Circle.
Though its not an activity recommended for the claustrophobic or squeamish, exploring the subterranean tunnel network or Leitarhraun is a truly memorable experience.
The area is less than an hour from Reykjavik and is open to visitors year-round.
Each participant gets all the equipment theyll need, like helmets with headlamps, before following their guide into a world few will ever see.
Tunnel tours last about an hour, after which guests will board a bus and head to other attractions like the Gullfoss Waterfall and geothermal hot springs.
Though in ages long past the Vikings werent lucky enough to have motorized ATVs at their disposal, guests who opt for this mechanized Golden Circle tour will largely follow in their footsteps.
After a brief orientation from their experienced guide, eager riders will set out down the rift valley in Thingvellir National Park, where tectonic plates are gradually pulling the land apart.
Tour highlights include the Strokkur Geyser that regularly shoots powerful streams of heated water more than 100 feet into the chilly Icelandic air with a deafening roar.
Waterfalls, glaciers, iconic geologic formations, and black sandy beaches are also on the itinerary.
Guided Iceland Day Tours From Reykjavik
Bustling Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, is the starting point of our tours. Visiting some of the most amazing places, giving you an eyeful of the surrounding nature, our top of the range Iceland day tours are the perfect mix of excitement and relaxation.
The best day trips from Reykjavik will have you out in the country for a full day, hitting all of the top tourist destinations and allowing you more than enough time to do a little exploring while you learn about Icelands proud heritage. Reykjavik is considered by many to be the gateway to Iceland, providing guests with the perfect starting point from which to see the Northern Lights, the scenic trails and the unforgettable cascading waterfalls.
Interested in these tours? Why not take a look at some of the other options that we have available on our website? Choose to participate in exciting lava cave Iceland tours or catch one of our luxurious Reykjavik to Blue Lagoon transfers to and from the lagoon. Browse through our website to make your choice on how to experience Iceland today.
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