A Detailed Guide To Golden Circle Iceland

By Aashima

Golden Circle Iceland is a circular route with an incredible view of gushing-out geysers, enormous waterfalls, and stony cliffs.

Proximity to Reykjavik and the airport makes this scenic route convenient and efficient for seeing Iceland’s most popular attractions.

You can combine this excursion with other activities to have a fantastic tour.

This 190-mile (300 km) scenic trail in southern Iceland starts and ends in Reykjavik.

The Golden Circle Iceland route includes three attractions: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall.

Golden Circle Iceland Map

Golden Circle Iceland Itinerary 

Golden Circle Iceland Itinerary
Image: Triptins.com

You can cover the attractions in this belt in one or two and a half days, depending on the time you take to explore each attraction.

We have prepared some exciting Golden Circle Iceland tours just for you to experience the best of Iceland.

You can also browse our carefully created Golden Circle Iceland self-drive tour to explore the wholesome natural marvels at your own pace.

The adventurous trio of these three attractions creates the best Iceland Golden Circle tour. 

Get your tickets and embark on this thrilling journey!

1. Thingvellir National Park: 

Thingvellir National Park
Image: South.is

This stunning landscape is where extraordinary geological formations encounter millennia of history.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the place you visit after leaving Reykjavik. 

This place is also significant in Icelandic history, as it was home to the first settlers in the 9th century CE. 

This is also where the world’s first parliament was formed in 930, and Thingvellir was where the first parliament convened.

This place sits on two tectonic plates: North American and Eurasian plates.

Because of its unique location, the place has fascinating natural sites to behold.

This place has deep valleys, gorges, stony cliffs, and, most importantly, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which can only be seen from Thingvellir National Park.

One fact is that the plates have been slowly drifting away from each other for millions of years at a pace of one inch per year.

The site offers incredible views of lava stretches and volcanic surroundings.

You can also visit the nearby attractions when you visit Thingvellir National Park.

  • Explore Iceland’s largest natural lake Thingvallavatn
  • Experience relaxation at Laugarvatn
  • Take a trip to behold the beauty of Langjokull glacier 
  • You can snorkel between the tectonic plates in Silfra and have a glimpse of underwater beauty 
  • You can also visit the Kerid Crater Lake and explore the stunning beauty of the volcanic landscape.

These are some of the best Golden Circle things to see in Iceland. So, choose our best Golden Circle Iceland tours to explore these sites.

2. The Geysir Geothermal Area:

Moving from the stunning Thingvellir National Park, you will arrive at the Geysir Geothermal Area within the Haukadalur Valley.

It is located at a distance of 37 miles (60 km) from Thingvellir. 

The route has several volcanic landscapes, adding to the charm of the Golden Circle.

As you approach the geyser, the intensity of the steaming vents and chimneys gradually increase. 

This scenic place has several thermal pools, mud pots, and steam vents.

The most notable geysers in this area are the Great Geysir and Strokkur Geysir.  

Although Geysir is inactive, Strokkur will give you an incredible view of its spurts every 5–10 minutes.

It shoots a column of hot water that could attain a height of 40 m (130 ft), creating a picture-perfect moment. 

Just ensure you have an adequate distance between you and the geyser.

The surrounding area is filled with hot springs that make the landscape stunning, adding a picturesque element.

3. Gullfoss Waterfall: 

Gullfoss Waterfall
Image: South.is

The Golden Circle Iceland Waterfall gets its name from Gullfoss, the Golden Falls.

It is a magnificent waterfall that falls from 32 meters (105 feet) into two levels and is a 2-hour drive to Blue Lagoon, Iceland

You can feel the raw power of the waterfall through its intense burble. 

During the summer, the Gullfoss Waterfall, surrounded by lush greenery, is decorated with a rainbow, making this site even more majestic. 

You can walk along the river’s edges to have a scenic view and experience the refreshing spray of the waterfall on your face. 

During winter, the snow-coated edges extend into the horizon, and the waterfall dragging the pieces of ice is enough to captivate you.

The mesmerizing view you will see also falls under the National Conservation Area. There is a fascinating history behind this status.

Iceland’s first environmentalist, Sigridur Tomasdottir, campaigned to protect this precious natural beauty from property development. 

Thanks to her strenuous efforts, we can enjoy the natural elements of the Golden Circle Iceland waterfall without missing anything. 

Apart from these attractions, you can explore Kerid Volcanic Crater and Blue Lagoon along the Golden Circle path.

The “Eye of the World” is a stunning volcanic lake with blue water surrounded by moss-covered red rock. 

The best time to visit Golden Circle Iceland

The Golden Circle is captivating in both summer and winter.

Most of the attractions are open year-round. But every season has something different to offer.

In the summer, you will have endless hours of sunlight. If you want to visit these attractions with fewer crowds, you can visit before 9 am or after 6 pm.

The roads are cleared, and scenic landscapes make the most of your tour. 

Driving the Golden Circle of Iceland allows you to spend time on stops. 

During the winter, the roads are covered with ice, making driving harder. 

But with careful driving, you can see the true beauty of the snow-capped cliffs and grounds of Golden Circle Iceland in winter.

You can read our article on the best time to visit Blue Lagoon if you plan to visit both attractions together. Pick up a guided tour now!

How to reach the Golden Circle Iceland

The starting point is Reykjavik City, and this is the end point too. This 187-mile (300 km) loop offers some of the best attractions in Iceland.

You can self-drive to the Golden Circle Iceland stops or book a Golden Circle Iceland tour.

Both options will give you unforgettable memories. 

The Golden Circle guided tour will take care of everything. You have to relax and capture the ethereal beauty of the place.

If you wish to explore the place, you can book a rental and follow the Golden Circle Iceland route to cover all the places. The route is pretty simple.

It will take around a day to visit all three attractions, depending on the time you take to capture the beautiful places.

There are several other tourist attractions along the Golden Circle in Iceland.

To help you make the perfect plan, we are mentioning some of the best attractions:

  • Faxi Waterfall: This lovely waterfall is worth visiting, only 8 miles (13 km) from Gullfoss.
  • The Secret Lagoon: One bath in the warm water of this lagoon is enough to restore your tranquility. Located in the village of Fludir, the lagoon offers scenic views while you relax.
  • Solheimar Ecovillage: Solheimar is a fantastic combination of art, ecological values, and international community ethics, making it the perfect place to live and visit.
  • Thingvellir Church: Located near the Thingvellir National Park dates back to 1859.


What is the Golden Circle in Iceland?

The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in Iceland that takes in three of the country’s most famous natural attractions: 

Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. 

The route is approximately 190 miles (300 kilometers) long and can be done by car, bus, or tour.

Is the Golden Circle free?

Yes, you can enter the Golden Circle for free. 

However, you have to pay the rent of the car (if you are planning to go self-driving), and some attractions may charge you an entrance fee.

How long will it take to cover the Golden Circle?

This is a 300 km trip that should be covered in a one-day trip, or you can cover it in two days as well. 

It depends on the type of tour (Self-driving/ guided) you have selected.

Where to stay on the tour of the Golden Circle?

Most visitors plan a day trip and then return to Reykjavik. 

Several hotels in Selfoss and Geysir, near the Golden Circle, have good facilities.

Below are some of the best hotels in Golden Circle Iceland:

– Hotel Geysir
– Blue Hotel Fagrilundur
– 360 Hotel and Thermal Bath
– Hotel Gullfoss

Can we visit the Blue Lagoon while on our Golden Circle Iceland route?

The Blue Lagoon is not part of the Golden Circle. 

But you can cover both places in one trip by purchasing a guided tour. 

Book your private Golden Circle Iceland tour now!

What is included in the Golden Circle Iceland itinerary?

This amazing journey starts in Reykjavik and proceeds to the first stop at Thingvellir National Park. 

From there, the second stop would be Geysir. After stopping there for sightseeing, you will arrive at Gullfoss Waterfall. 

Next, you will visit Kerid Volcanic Crater.

Featured Image: Getyourguide.com

Aashima (1)
About the author

Aashima is an avid traveler who seeks out thrills and lives a simple, peaceful life. Bright clear skies are her calling.

Leave a Comment