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Frequently Asked Questions

About Golden Circle Tours

The Golden Circle is Iceland’s most famous sightseeing route, consisting of three equally stunning locations in southwest Iceland: Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall. Each as spectacular as it is unique, these sites are renowned across the world for their natural beauty and cultural significance.

1. What is Thingvellir?

Þingvellir is a national park east of Reykjavík. It is known for having been the site of Alþingi, Iceland's parliament, between the 10th and 18th century. The park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of two tectonic plates and is home to Silfra, one of the world’s most sought out diving and snorkelling sites.

2. What is Geysir?

Geysir is a famous hot spring that gives its name to geysers all over the world. Though Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, it has a neighbour by the name of Strokkur, which spouts vast amounts of water 15-25 meters into the air every 5 to 10 minutes.

3. What is Gullfoss?

Gullfoss is a waterfall in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. Gullfoss is one of Iceland's most iconic natural attractions.

4. Is a visit to Kerid crater included in Golden Circle tours?

Although Kerið crater is not officially a part of the Golden Circle sightseeing route, some tours include Kerið as an extra stop. View the "Highlights" or your tour's description to see if it includes a visit to Kerið.

5. How long is the Golden Circle?

The Golden Circle is just under 225 km (140 mi) long.

6. How long does it take to drive the Golden Circle?

Driving the golden circle without stopping takes about 2.5 hours. The route, however, is often traversed in a full day so that travellers have ample time to take in the sights.

7. Can you traverse the Golden Circle if the weather is bad?

The weather in Iceland is extremely volatile and can change in an instant. Icelandic sights and landscapes are, therefore, explored in almost any weather. Most tours around the Golden Circle will remain operational except in the rare instances when the weather poses a safety risk.

8. Can I get a full refund if I cancel my booking?

Yes, you can book and cancel day tours up to 24 hours before departure.

9. Where are the pick-up locations for Golden Circle tours?

Pick-up locations for most tours departing from Reykjavik are situated across the city. Normally, you will find a pick-up location very close to your accommodation.

Customer reviews

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Golden Circle Minibus Tour | Full Day Excursion

4.9 average rating | 285 reviews

Golden Circle Minibus Tour | Full Day Excursion

My husband and I really enjoyed our Golden Circle Tour with Lasma. She was very warm, friendly, spoke very clear and excellent English. Listening to Icelandic music was nice. I was so happy to have such a strong Wi-Fi connection oun board our bus! Would highly recommend this tour.

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The Golden Circle & Blue Lagoon | Day Tour of the Famous Sites

4.8 average rating | 95 reviews

The Golden Circle & Blue Lagoon | Day Tour of the Famous Sites

Tour was good! Depending on what time of the year you are going, you should have warm and waterproof clothes, unless you prefer to be fashionable, freezing and look ridiculous :) Also make sure you get ticket to blue lagoon. I personally think it was not enough time. We got there at 17:00 and got picked up at 19:00; by the time you queue up, get to the locker and shower you loose quite a bit of time. Standard ticket gives you free towel, one drink and mud mask. It is very expensive and considering you can stay there as long as you want next time I would book transfer to blue lagoon separately so I can spend more time there. Would recommend bringing your own slippers and robe as well (if you have space in the bag).

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It was amazing! The tour was informative and covers a lot of places in such a short period amount of time but we didn’t feel rushed at all. Thorstenn was very helpful, funny and informative!

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Overall, it was a fantastic 3 day tour . Although the weather is changeable, our tour guide Heimir rearrange the order of the stops flexibly to make sure we could join both glacier hiking , ice cave and other spots. To be honest, I felt a little disappointed about the glacier hiking due to the time we staying on the glacier. The time was quite short but I thought is was disrpted by the bad weather. The storm came right away when we arrived the parking lot. As for ice cave, we were really lucky to see a quite big and beautiful one . And we had enough time to take pictures in the cave and there were only our group. We finished these two activities on the second day because the weather was awful on the third day. Besides, we were unlucky that it wasn’t the right time to see the dimonds on the beach ,which I eager to see, however; our gide Heimir took us to another place th see the dimonds near the glacier . Dimonds there were really spectacular and was one of my favorite spots in Iceland . To conclude, I felt thankful for the all arrangement of our guide , or we might miss those activities and amazing sceneries if I we went by ourselves . I definitely satisfy this 3 day tour!

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Golden Circle Minibus Tour | Full Day Excursion

4.9 average rating | 285 reviews

Golden Circle Minibus Tour | Full Day Excursion

Me and my wife had a AMASING day travling with our guide Gusti. It was a mix of great views, interesting facts and humour. Gusti was very enjoyable to listen to and a safe driver that mixed core facts about Iceland with fun factoids here and there. It really was 5 out 5 ! We enjoyed the drink and smoked lamb and Gusti even fit in a extra stop for the bus to stop and pet/see Icelandic horses (and a very cute dog). Would recommend this to everyone that goes to Iceland!

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Our tour was in early March 2018. We were lucky with the weather and it was beautiful every day. The tour was easy to setup up just note the communications might not be immediate depending on time zone (I am in US). It did not affect any of the travel. I recommend at your hotel to ask where the tour buses pick up passengers. Ours was not clear and our guide Sveinbjorn had to search us out. Sveinbjorn was a fantastic guide. Was a safe driver and could definitely relax and watch the scenery without worry. He takes pride in his country and enjoys talking about it with a passion. He made sure were on time and had it set where we arrived earlier at places then other tour groups which made it easy for us to get around. If the place was dangerous he made sure the group knew (multiple times). What I liked is I learned more about Iceland from him then any other resource. Now more about the trip. Each day we were on the road by 8 local time so the day starts early. All the hotels were nice and there were some brand new ones. A travel note is once you are at a hotel expect to be there and no other exploring since they are isolated. I personally was nervous about hiking the glacier but our guide (did not remember his name) kept me at ease and it was a great experience. The ice caves were fantastic and a lot of it was due to our guide Faye. She kept us entertained and played Icelandic rock music for us. All the places we stopped were interesting and we were glad we did the extended tours to the east side of the island (away from most of the tourists). I think my only frustrating thing was the end of the tour from Akureyri back to Reykjavík. We did not spend any time in Akureyri because our plane left about 11:00am local time. Might have been nice to seen more of Akureyri. And once we arrived back in Reykjavík we assumed there would be transportation since the tour asked where we were staying once we got back in Reykjavík but we had to find it ourselves. Plenty of taxis just be aware. I recommend a new visitor to the island to use a tour company and I think you will enjoy your stay

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The Golden Circle & Kerid Volcanic Crater | Sightseeing Day Tour

4.7 average rating | 135 reviews

The Golden Circle & Kerid Volcanic Crater | Sightseeing Day Tour

It's a great experience! There were only 10 people on the shuttle bus so our tour guide, Mr. V has a chance to talk with every one. I hope we could stay longer in the national park, but other time schedules are reasonable enough. I do recommend this tour!

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8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

4.9 average rating | 17 reviews

8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

We joined the 8-day tour with our guide Svein in March, hunting for amazing Aurora and beautiful landscapes. In the end, I left my camera on the minibus. Svein was so kind to send it back to me. I was really appreciate it.

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I really want to take the time to write a proper review for this awesome tour. I just got back home to the USA last night, and am off again tomorrow on a business trip to TX, so this has to be brief right now! It's not difficult to give this tour 5 stars ! Our guide, Olafur Valtyr Rognvaldsson (better and more easily known as OLI) was awesome! He kept us entertained throughout the tour, and was a font of all knowledge relating to Iceland and its heritage. He was also our driver (we did not have both a driver and a guide, Oli did double duty) and we felt very safe with him driving through the snow and rain. I was glad I was not driving in that! Our minibus seated 20, and there were 18 of us on the tour, so it was a little snug in the bus, but not too bad. (The worst part was the couple who kept eating dried fish - the smell of very fishy dried fish in a warm bus was a little nauseating to say the least!) Oli was pretty good at keeping us on schedule, and was very flexible in moving things around so that we were able to see all the major sites in reasonably good weather. We did the Ice Cave Walk on the second day rather than the third day to take advantage of the fact that it was the end of the season and it would be closing on our last day. We also went to a different glacier from the original one on our schedule because the snow was coming down thick and fast on the one we were supposed to climb and it would not have been a pleasant trek. We had an awesome guide for the glacier walk - he made sure we were all safe, and gave us lots of information about the glacier. We also had the opportunity to sample nature's 'champagne' - 700yr old crystal clear ice! Big G (our guide) climbed up a ways to hack out some clean and clear ice for us to try. We were glad of it at that point, as the climb up the glacier left us all hot and sweaty, despite the cool weather! All of the areas we visited were outstanding. The waterfalls, the beaches, the national parks were spectacular and we had plenty of time at each to enjoy the sites. The Geyser was interesting ... I expected something like Old Faithful, but it was a much tamer version! Still fun, though! One of the most fun parts of the trip was when Oli took us to a 'secret' waterfall - we waded through a stream and climbed over rocks to get through an opening and when we entered through the gap in the rocks, there was a fantastic waterfall hidden from the road. Really cool way to end our tour! Oli also took us to see the Icelandic horses, which wasn't technically a part of the tour, but was a testament to his flexibility and him wanting us to have a great experience. He also pointed out a great place to see the Aurora, but unfortunately, we had cloud both nights and so we were not able to view that natural phenomenon. Although we were there at the beginning of April, it was still pretty chilly in the mornings and evenings, and when the wind blew it was bitingly cold! I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the two hotels we stayed in. Both were very clean, and while the rooms were small, modern and minimalist, they were very comfortable. Be warned, though, that the food in the hotels is VERY expensive! We were a captive audience at the first hotel and dinner was $US44 a person - a small bbq chicken breast, three boiled potatoes and a scoop of boiled vegetables!! Tasty, but extortionately priced for what really could only be described as Diner food. The second hotel, in Hofn, was expensive too, but the food was stellar and much better value than the first hotel. Regardless, both hotels were very nice and food in Iceland is very expensive everywhere. The breakfasts in both hotels were very nice and you could certainly eat a substantial amount to keep you going throughout the day. I would, without a shadow of doubt, recommend this tour if you want to experience Iceland at its best. Our guide, Oli, was excellent and from what I am reading from other reviews, so are all the other guides used by Aurora Hunters. But, of course, we think we got the best one!!! Thanks to Oli (Olafur Valtyr Rognvaldsson - I sure hope I spelled that correctly!) we had a fantastic trip.

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Golden Circle Minibus Tour | Full Day Excursion

4.9 average rating | 285 reviews

Golden Circle Minibus Tour | Full Day Excursion

What a great day out. Not usually one for organised tours but the smaller group on the mini bus rather than a big coach made it feel quite special. Our guide Siggy was brilliant. Lots of facts and funny stories along the way. Highly recommended this tour for first time visitors.

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Golden Circle Minibus Tour | Full Day Excursion

4.9 average rating | 285 reviews

Golden Circle Minibus Tour | Full Day Excursion

Our one-day tour led by Siggi was fantastic. Siggi gave us a lot of info about Iceland and told interesting stories. There were also well-selected Icelandic songs played on the car which I enjoyed so much as I'm a big fan to Of Monsters and Men. Time given to have closer look at each spot is reasonable and it was an enriched day.

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6 Day Guided Winter Tour | Highlights of South, East & North Iceland

4.9 average rating | 18 reviews

6 Day Guided Winter Tour | Highlights of South, East & North Iceland

We completed this tour in March 2018 and our tour guide was Hildigunnur(Hildi). The whole tour was an amazing experience from start to finish. Our wonderful guide Hildi was a great ambassador for her country and ensured that we not only enjoyed the trip but also received a great insight into the history, culture and geography of Iceland. Nothing was too much trouble for her as she would help us with scheduled or unscheduled stops for photos, trying local produce and understand in local folklore. The trip was well planned with convenient stops and lovely accommodation. The atmosphere which Hildi created was one of comfort and relaxation while enjoying some unbelievable scenery. We enjoyed not having to rush which we would have done if we did day tours from Reykjavik. All in all a great tour with an excellent, caring and fun tour guide.

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The tour we booked was slightly different and they had to book us with a different company that had a slightly different itinerary. We enjoyed the trip thoroughly. Landed in KEF at 5:00 am and hopped right on this tour. The sights were beautiful and the tour guide very informative. Those of us who were tired got to sleep a little too. Great way to start our vacation!

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Ragnheiður was a fun and great guide with an amazingly positive attitude and we enjoyed the trip immensely. She kept us very comfortable and made the most of our time with good pacing of the viewpoints and visits with plenty of rest-stops in between. The sights were all well picked and provided a wonderful view into the natural treasures of Iceland. Very happy with the tour and our wonderful guide Ragnheiður.

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Iceland provides a plethora of stunning landscapes and unimaginable geographical wonder! Wanting a unique honeymoon location, i can't be happier with my decision. A travelers dream and a photographers heaven, this four day tour is absolutely recommended for first time tourists to get a taste of its magic. In the comfort of a luxury tour bus led by a knowledgable guide, we were taken to a few of the major features of the so called "land of the gods." Covering the golden circle, glacier hiking, ice caves and some stunning waterfalls, the tour is well paced providing each traveler enough time to let it all sink in without wasting any time. The unpredictable weather of Iceland may hinder with the schedule, but our guide would make sure to make the best of clear skies, and keep us safe and warm during a storm. The hotel location at Hofn is absolutely beautiful, and if you're lucky enough to catch the Northern lights, like we were, well trust me it can't get better than that.

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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 city’s proximity to three of the country’s most inspiring natural attractions; Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal valley and the mighty waterfall, Gullfoss (“The Golden Falls”).

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.

Another means of experiencing the Golden Circle could include a helicopter tour, making this one of the more VIP undertakings of your holiday. While no doubt pricier that sightseeing at ground-level, flying from attraction to attraction allows you to cut down your tour time from 8 hours to a solitary one, making this the most time-effective, unique and exhilarating method on the market.

Another option is to drive the Golden Circle route yourself. This option provides you with the most freedom over your day, allowing you to spend just as much time at each attraction as you would like. And while this option lacks the knowledge and know-how of a professional tour guide, it is more than made up for with the company you choose.

Finally, the Golden Circle allows for many bonus activities that can but heighten your experience. These activities range from horse-riding to snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier to snorkelling in Silfra Fissure.

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