Finance educated, mountain and glacier loving, imaginary ski extraordinary and current resident of Reykjavik.
Driving the Golden Circle is a great opportunity to explore local food and other activities along the way. Here are some of my favorite foodie stops along the famous route. Make sure you don't miss out!
Chances are, since you’ve found your way to this blog, that you’ve heard of the Golden Circle. One of the most popular attractions in all of Iceland, the famous driving route takes tourists on a journey through Þingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss and many more stunning locations.
The total route is 237 km (147 miles) long and, non-stop, can be driven in just over three hours. However, you’ll definitely want to stop to experience both the breathtaking views and amazing food.
So, where’s the best place to stop for something to eat along the route? This is a very common question which I am asked all the time. For someone like me, a complete foodie who loves to eat, the Golden Circle is a great opportunity to sample local food, explore new restaurants and enjoy fun activities along the way.
Below are some of my favorite foodie stops along the Golden Circle, where you’ll find great food, grown, caught and prepared by locals.
Without any further ado, let’s explore the best cafés and restaurants along the Golden Circle.
Braud & Co
With so many good options to choose from when it comes to bakeries, it’s hard to pick just one. But it’s impossible to go wrong with Braud & Co, also known as The Cinnamon Bun Bakery. Found on Frakkastígur 16, in one of the most colorful houses in all of Reykjavík.
There isn’t a huge selection of produce, but everything is freshly made and mouth-wateringly delicious. And if you haven’t already guessed by now, you NEED to try the cinnamon buns. This bakery is the perfect option for a quick breakfast before you hit the road.
Héraðsskólinn Restaurant and Bistro
Photo from Héraðskólinn Facebook Page
Héraðsskólinn is actually a boutique hostel, but its restaurant serves quality food. Located in Laugarvatn, halfway between the Þingvellir National Park and the Geysir, the hostel’s restaurant boasts a great menu selection with everything from trout to reindeer on offer. With such a large menu, you’ll definitely find something to your liking.
The building used to be a county school but has since been redeveloped into a hostel and restaurant. The hostel’s green roof and crisp white walls mean it’s easily spotted from the road.
Situated in Laugarvatn, about 100 km from Reykjavík, Lindin is a cozy restaurant that instantly makes you feel at home as soon as you walk in the door. The expertly-cooked, delicious fare is renowned across Iceland and is popular with tourists and locals alike. Open from noon until about 10 pm, there ’s no excuse not to visit!
Chef Baldur is not only a world-class cook but an expert when it comes to chocolate. After dinner, make sure you sample some dessert, you won’t regret it.
The name might be a bit obvious, but Súpa is Icelandic for soup and, unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what this homely restaurant serves.
This health-conscious restaurant is located in the service centre at Geysir and serves six different soup options – three vegan and three vegetarian –all of which are delicious. All the soups are served with homemade bread and butter and are a perfect, inexpensive bite to eat on the Golden Circle.
Drumboddstaðir, often called Drumbó, sits on the bank of the Hvítá River and is best known as the basecamp for white water river rafting in the south. But did you know it’s also the perfect spot to enjoy a local beer and a BBQ?
When planning your itinerary, make sure to stop by, as the atmosphere is hugely fun and energetic, making it a great place for a bite to eat – with or without rafting. However, sitting on the banks of the river watching all the fun can get a little tiresome. So, why not enjoy the best of both worlds and join our rafting and beer tasting tour!
Drumboddstaðir also recently opened a new bar with a fantastic selection of beers, the perfect treat after a trip down the river.
Efstidalur Farm and Shop
If you haven’t guessed by now, we love ice cream in Iceland. There’s no excuse to refuse a bowl of creamy, frozen goodness, which is why a visit to Efstidalur farm is imperative.
A farm hotel with an outstanding restaurant and ice cream shop, it’s not to be missed. All the ice creams are made using only local ingredients and the stunning location is the perfect setting for enjoying a scoop or two.
Kids, in particular, will love being on the farm and seeing the animals up close!
Friðheimar Tomato Farm
I’m sure visiting a tomato farm wasn’t on your original list of priorities when planning a visit to Iceland, but a trip to Bláskógabyggð isn’t complete without sampling something from the farm’s tomato inspired menu.
At Friðheimar, visitors will have a wide selection to choose from, with everything from the all-time classic tomato soup to tomato ice cream on offer – It sounds strange I know but trust me, it’s delicious!
If you are lucky enough, you may catch the horse show on your way in or out. Visitors can watch the Icelandic horses show off their unique tricks. Don’t miss the gift store either – personally, I make sure to never run out of their jams. This is a perfect stop after Gullfoss Waterfall and close to theSecret Lagoon.
Farm to Fork at Restaurant Grund
Restaurant Grund is located in a small guesthouse in Flúðir and is a popular restaurant which prides itself on using only fresh ingredients from the farm. This farm to fork experience is not to be missed and is a great place to grab a hearty bite to eat after taking a dip in the Secret Lagoon.
Hot Dogs and Ice Cream
Is there a more authentic Icelandic duo than hot dogs and ice cream? When traveling around Iceland, why not sample some of the hot dogs at Selfoss’ famous hot dog stand Pylsuvagninn. Grab a perfectly cooked hot dog or two (r even three!) with all the toppings, before heading to Huppa ice cream parlor.
Don’t worry if you’re full – you’ll soon find room for dessert. At Huppa, customers choose three different types of candy to mix into their ice-cream, making an already tasty treat even better! Our favourite combinations are:
Oreos, Tromp & Þristur
Strawberries, Nóa kropp & Toblerone
Take it from us and our extensive first-hand research, that these combinations are oh-so-amazing!
Kaffi Krús is located in Selfoss and boasts an extraordinary amount of positive TripAdvisor reviews, which only cements its stellar reputation for good food.
The restaurant serves hearty fare, such as pizza, pasta and burgers, meaning you’re sure to find something to satisfy your appetite. To sum up, the food is exceptional, the portions are big, and the cakes are delicious, what more can you want?
Situated by the river Sog, and about five minutes from Kerið, Restaurant Þrastarlundur recently underwent a massive redevelopment and is now one of the most popular restaurants in the area.
The perfect option for brunch or even a relaxed late-night pizza dinner, the menu is extensive and has something for everyone.
If you’re staying in an Airbnb, it’s possible to pick up groceries or even a selection of cheeses to take home with you. Whatever your food needs, this restaurant certainly doesn’t disappoint!
Fancy a bucket of lobsters drenched in garlic butter? Of course, you do! Við Fjöruborðið is Stokkseyri’s best seafood restaurant and is a must visit for any seafood lovers. The restaurant’s magical langoustine soup is a particular favorite with customers and is reportedly made with cream, tomatoes, charm and passion.
Anyone visiting the restaurant should try one of their classic homemade cakes for dessert. These always remind me of the cakes my grandma used to make and taste wonderful. Because this place is so popular, it’s always best to call ahead and make a reservation.
Also known as Red House, this restaurant is located in, you guessed it, a red house in Eyrarbakki – a charming coastal town in south Iceland, which is home to 570 people.
This place is yet another one of Iceland’s top restaurants that serve amazing seafood. I can’t eat here without ordering the lobster tails. Made using 100% Icelandic and locally-caught lobsters, this dish is one mouth-watering and one of the most popular on the menu. Another recommendation is the lobster soup, which is also delicious.
Skyrgerðin is named after one of Iceland’s national treasures – skyr yogurt – and is housed in Hveragerði’s former Skyr factory.
A relatively new hotel in the area, the building boasts a beautiful interior and its restaurant has a great selection and, obviously, includes Iceland’s famous yogurt.
Varmá is something of a celebrity when it comes to restaurants in the south and for good reason. Located in the charming hotel of Frost og Funi (Frost and Fire), Varmá specializes in food cooked in Iceland’s famous hot springs.
Try the Icelandic lamb or the duck breast – it takes roughly 18 hours to slow cook these dishes, which is what makes them so unique and tasty. A visit to Restaurant Varmá is an experience like no other and it’s one that will leave your taste buds tingling.
As you can see, there is no need to go hungry when exploring the Golden Circle. If the selection is a bit overwhelming, why not check out our Golden Circle Food Tour? On the tour, you’ll see all the classic sights along the Golden Circle and stop at Friðheimar, Efsti-dalur and The Turf House.