Iceland Golden Circle tours
- Iceland’s most popular touring route
- Open all year round, winter and summer
- Range of travel styles to choose from
- 24/7 helpline whilst you’re in Iceland
About Iceland Golden Circle tours
- Get great value for money
- Book with just 5% deposit
- Choose your own departure date
- Enjoy included breakfast every day
FAQs about Golden Circle trips
The Golden Circle is Iceland’s oldest and most famous touring route. Known in Icelandic as Gullni hringurinn, it’s centered around 3 of the country’s top natural attractions:
- Þingvellir National Park
- Geysir geothermal area
- Gullfoss waterfall
Þingvellir (Thingvellir National Park) is the site of Iceland’s ancient Viking parliament and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also happens to be incredibly beautiful and sits in a rift valley filled with criss-crossing rivers and deep ravines. What’s more, it marks a visible point where the North American and European tectonic plates meet.
The Geysir area in the Haukadalur valley is named after its famous geyser (in fact, that’s where we get the word!). Although great Geysir itself is no longer active, you can see its energetic younger brother, Strokkur, in action. It erupts every 5–12 minutes. There are also dozens of smaller hot springs in the area.
The final stop on the Golden Circle is the breathtaking Gullfoss waterfall. Its name means ‘Golden Falls’ – in fact, that’s where the route gets its name! The waterfall itself is incredibly powerful and has multiple drops tens of meters high.
Read this ultimate guide to the Golden Circle to get even more info.
It’s definitely worth including the Golden Circle on any trip to Iceland, summer or winter. And it’s easily accessible thanks to its location near Reykjavík in southwest Iceland.
For example, Þingvellir is where the oldest parliament in the world, the Alþingi, first met. As you walk around the site, you can practically see history unfolding before your eyes. The Silfra gorge at Þingvellir is also mind-blowing, and you can snorkel or scuba dive in its crystal-clear waters.
Another awesome sight you can see at Gullfoss is the Langjökull glacier. It’s the 2nd largest in Iceland and visible from the waterfall area. You can also throw yourself into adventure here by joining a glacier snowmobile tour!
You can complete the Golden Circle route in as little as a few hours, but it’s probably best to spend a full day exploring it. That way, you get more time to check out each of the attractions in depth.
Þingvellir National Park has the most to offer. It's worth setting aside a bit more time here so you have the chance see it all. The park is packed with hidden waterfalls and flooded gorges that slowly unveil themselves as you wander around.
There’s also a visitor center where you can learn about the geology and cultural history of the area. Here you can get info about the different hiking trails at Þingvellir and the location of all the main attractions.
At Geysir, you’ll want to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour watching Strokkur erupt and exploring the unusual geothermal features. There’s also a café so it makes a good lunch stop before you head up to Gullfoss.
When it comes to navigating the Golden Circle, you have plenty of options. You could take a self-drive trip, or join a multi-day trip or guided group trip by bus. If you’re looking for something more intimate, there are also privately guided tours.
On a self-drive tour, you can drive the route in any way you please. You could start the day at Gullfoss and end at Þingvellir, or vice versa. You can also spend as much time as you like at each attraction.
If you prefer to skip the driving, you could take a multi-day tour. You would be staying in Reykjavík and joining different outings each day, including to the Golden Circle. On a guided group tour, you’d also travel by bus but be with the same group for the whole trip.
On a privately guided tour, your own driver-guide will take you around the country. They’ll use their local knowledge to find lesser-visited spots and give you the story behind each of the attractions you visit.
Iceland’s Ring Road (also known as Route 1) is the main road around the coast of the country. The Golden Circle is a shorter touring route in southwest Iceland focused on Gullfoss, Geysir, and Þingvellir.
Want the lowdown on Route 1? See this ultimate guide to Iceland’s Ring Road.
The Golden Circle can be accessed from the Ring Road, although it’s not actually part of it. You can get to Þingvellir from the 36 road, whereas Geysir and Gullfoss are both on the 35 road.
As the Golden Circle is a popular route, the roads remain open all year round and are regularly cleared and treated in the wintertime.
Although the Golden Circle is a must-see if you’re going to Iceland, the country is packed full of mind-blowing nature and eye-opening culture. Here’s just a few ideas for what you could do your Iceland trip:
- Roam the black sand beaches of Iceland’s south coast
- Walk behind a waterfall at Seljalandsfoss
- Soak in the Blue Lagoon and other luxury spas like the Sky Lagoon
- Snowmobile on top of a glacier on a guided day tour
- Go whale watching in the waters of North Iceland
- Explore Iceland in miniature on the Snæfellsnes peninsula
- While away an afternoon in Reykjavík’s museums
- Sample Icelandic street food at one of Reykjavík's food halls
- Spot Arctic foxes in the wilderness of the Westfjords
- Venture underground into lava caves and ice caves
- Spend winter nights hunting the Northern Lights
Need more inspo for your trip? Check out this guide to the 13 best places to visit in Iceland.
One of the best things about the Golden Circle is that you can visit at any time of year. Depending on whether you go in summer or winter, you’ll get a completely different vibe.
In the summertime, Þingvellir will be lush and green, filled with wildflowers and angelica bushes. On a sunny day, Gullfoss will glimmer in the sun and you might even spot a rainbow. And the Strokkur geyser is jaw-dropping no matter the weather.
On the other hand, Icelandic wintertime offers frosted waterfalls at Þingvellir and Gullfoss. There’s also the chance of snow, and the Northern Lights dancing overhead. Strokkur looks even more majestic erupting out of a layer of thick ice.
If you still need help making up your mind, check out this guide on the best times to go to Iceland.
Start by browsing the Golden Circle tours above. At Iceland Tours, you can choose from loads of trip types, including self-drive tours, guided group tours, and multi-day tours from Reykjavík.
Think about how you’d prefer to travel. If you want the freedom of your own car, a self-drive trip makes sense. If you’d rather let someone else do the driving, multi-day, guided group, or even privately guided tours are better options you.
Once you’ve found the package you like, enter your travel dates and get a price. Then you can complete the rest of the booking online, customizations and all! At checkout you can:
- Select your accommodation level and configure rooms
- Choose your rental car (self-drive and camping only)
- Extend your trip with extra days before and after your tour
- Add activities and excursions to make the most of your time
If you want more info, read more about how to book with us.
Iceland’s weather is famously changeable. That said, the summers are generally dry and mild and the winters are chilly and windy.
Don’t worry though, you often can get bright, crisp, and clear days in winter. And in the summer you have the midnight sun which brings more time to explore.
Temperature-wise, Iceland reaches an average high of around 12°C (53°F) in June and 2°C (36°F) in winter. It’s also worth keeping in mind that temperatures are often a few degrees lower on the Golden Circle route as it’s away from the city.
It pays to be prepared in all seasons, so here’s a decent year-round packing list for an Iceland Golden Circle tour:
- Warm, waterproof coat
- Extra cozy layers, like fleeces and sweaters
- Sturdy walking boots
- Gloves, scarf, and wooly hat
- Moisturizer and lip balm
In the winter, you might want to throw in some crampons to help you walk on icy surfaces. If you’re planning a summer trip, it’s worth bringing some lighter layers that you can easily remove on warmer days.