Golden Circle Tours

Golden Circle Tours

Discover a treasure trove of tours that take you to the three world-renowned sites that compose Iceland's Golden Circle sightseeing route. Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area and Gullfoss waterfall are destinations that all travellers must visit during their stay in Iceland.

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Golden Circle Tours

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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.

Frequently asked questions

What is Thingvellir National Park?

Thingvellir is a national park east of Reykjavik. It is known for having been the site of the founding of Iceland's parliament Althingi in the year 930, making it the oldest legislature still in existence. 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 diving and snorkeling sites. Thingvellir was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

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 neighbor by the name of Strokkur, which spouts vast amounts of water 50 to 80 feet (15-25 meters) into the air every 5 to 10 minutes.

What is Gullfoss?

Gullfoss is a waterfall in the canyon of Hvita river in southwest Iceland. Gullfoss is one of Iceland's most iconic natural attractions. The name translates to ‘Golden Falls’ and is divided into two cascading sections which are 36 feet (11 meters) and 70 feet (21 meters) high, respectively.

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

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

How long is the Golden Circle in Iceland?

A tour of the Golden Circle is just under a 140 miles (225 kilometers) route which makes it very drivable for a day tour. However, this increases if you intend to visit other lesser-known spots in the Golden Circle area.

How long does it take to do the Golden Circle in Iceland?

Driving the Golden Circle without stopping takes about 2.5 hours. The route, however, is often traversed in a full day so travelers have enough time to take in all the sights.

Can you traverse the Golden Circle in Iceland if the weather is bad?

The weather in Iceland is extremely volatile and can change in an instant. Icelandic sites 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. Your tour provider will inform you if the weather is too bad to travel. However, if you are driving yourself please keep alert of the weather conditions daily.

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

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

Where are the pick-up locations for Golden Circle tours in Iceland?

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 that will take you to the Golden Circle in Iceland. If you are unsure where your pick-up location is or need to rearrange, please contact your tour provider directly.

Is Iceland's Golden Circle worth it?

If you're staying in Reykjavik, the Golden Circle is the most accessible and diverse tour you can do in one day in Iceland. It includes a national park, a waterfall, an erupting geyser, and sometimes a crater. Seeing all sights in one day makes it a highly memorable tour and is definitely worth it.

What is Kerid?

Kerid, which translates to "the vessel", is a 3000-year-old volcanic crater that has a shallow pool of water at the bottom of it. The color of the water is a unique aquamarine due to the minerals from the soil. It is not one of the three official attractions of the Golden Circle, but many tour companies include a short stop there during their Golden Circle tours as it's accessible and provides a great photo opportunity.

What is the best Golden Circle tour in Iceland?

The best Golden Circle tour in Iceland is this 8-hour minibus tour of the Golden Circle, with a fantastic rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars from 508 reviewers. The minibus ensures the tour is not too crowded and includes a sample of traditional Icelandic food.

Is the Blue Lagoon part of the Golden Circle?

No, the Blue Lagoon is located on the Reykjanes peninsula and is not en route on the Golden Circle. However, there is another geothermal pool with hot spring water near the Golden Circle route, the Secret Lagoon. Some tour companies include the Secret Lagoon as part of their Golden Circle tours. If you're self-driving the Golden Circle and want to end the day soaking in natural hot spring water, make sure to book a reservation at the Secret Lagoon ahead of time.

What is included in the Golden Circle tour in Iceland?

A classic Golden Circle tour usually starts with a visit to Thingvellir National Park, a historical and geological site, then you will head to Geysir hot springs and finally to Gullfoss waterfall. These are the three locations in Iceland that define the Golden Circle. However, many tour companies have their own twist to the Golden Circle tour, like stopping at the Kerid volcanic crater or ending the trip at the Secret Lagoon spa. Look at your tour itinerary to see what stops your Golden Circle has.

Is there a lot of walking in the Golden Circle tour?

Compared to many other tours around Iceland, the Golden Circle is very accessible and doesn't require a lot of walking. The hardest place to traverse is the Gullfoss waterfall, as you will need to walk some steps to get to the waterfall there will also be a lot of mist in the air, so you might get pretty wet if you get close to it.

Can I do the Golden Circle in Iceland on my own?

Yes, definitely. The Golden Circle is conveniently located near Reykjavik, so if you have a car in Iceland, it is an easy drive to make and be back in the capital by the evening.

Is Secret Lagoon part of the Golden Circle?

A classic Golden Circle tour has three stops, Thingvellir National Park, Geysir hot springs, and Gullfoss waterfall. However, many tour companies have their own twist on the Golden Circle, and some of them include a visit to the Secret Lagoon, such as this tour with a rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 from 15 travelers and costs 108 USD.