Golden Circle Itinerary
Discover Golden Circle in a Day
From thundering waterfalls to natural geysers, there are so many places to visit and explore. Explore all the highlights of the Golden Circle on a day tour.
We have put together the best 7-day itinerary of the Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes, and Reykjavik. This is your opportunity to explore the best of the west and south.
We’ve created this 7-day complete Iceland itinerary to showcase the main attractions. Starting with Golden Circle and South Coast and ending with Snaefellsnes Peninsula, this 7-day tour includes the best Iceland offers. For those without 7 days to spend, this part of Iceland is possible to do in a shorter time. Check out the 5 day option of the tour.
Day one is dedicated to Golden Circle and its attractions - Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, and Geysir Geothermal Area. Thingvellir holds an important place in every Icelander’s heart. The Icelandic nation was born there, as the first official parliament was held in 930. It’s also listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its historical, cultural, and geological significance.
Next on our list is the famous Geysir. The Great Geysir, which gave the word in English to name this sort of hot spring, is currently not active. But its little brother, Strokkur, shoots up the boiling water to the sky every 5-10 minutes!
Gullfoss is probably the most famous waterfall in Iceland. It’s a massive force of Hvíta river’s water falling down the 32 meters in two stages.
Next on our list is a scenic drive along the South Coast. We will stop at the incredible Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, where you can truly experience a force of nature. This waterfall is unique because you can actually walk behind it and see it from a different perspective.
Then we head to the picturesque Skógafoss waterfall, where the water crashes down from the former sea cliffs. You might even see single or even double rainbows over the waterfall if you watch closely!
The final stop of the day is Reynisfjara black sand beach, renowned for the basalt columns and the legendary Reynisdrangar peaks, which according to the legend, used to be trolls who were turned into stone by the morning light.
End your Golden Circle adventure with a relaxing stay at Adventure Hotel Geirland. Conveniently located near the Ring Road, it's the perfect pitstop en route to Vatnajökull and Skaftafell. Simple, comfortable, and ideally situated base for the day one.
Day two is dedicated to glacier hiking, ice caving (during winter), and visiting the incredible glacier lagoon. In the morning, we’ll head in the direction of Skaftafell and Vatnajökull National Park. The vast 13,600 square meter wilderness area holds many natural treasures, Vatnajökull glacier, Skaftafell, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon being some of them. Iceland has in total three national parks - Þingvellir, Vatnajökull, and Snæfellsjökull, and, on this tour, you’ll visit all of them.
First, we’ll stop at Skaftafell for an incredible glacier hike led by an experienced guide. Geared up with crampons and all the necessary safety equipment, we’ll be led onto the tongue of the Vatnajökull glacier. These glacier outlets are unique ice formations with crevasses and moulins that can go down to the glacier's base.
From November to March, we replace the glacier hike with the thrilling tour to Crystal Ice Cave. Every winter, the meltwater freezer into beautiful ice structures called ice caves. Crystal Ice Cave is known for its crystal-blue ice.
After our glacier hike or a tour to Crystal Ice Cave, we head to the magical Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Here you will see the chunks of ice floating away from the retreating Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Occasionally, you can see seals playing on the floating icebergs.
Some of those icebergs are being washed onto nearby Diamond Beach. These crystal clear icebergs rest on the beach, creating a beautiful contrast with coal-black sand.
If 2 days is as much as your itinerary can stretch to, then discover our 2-day South Iceland tour and get to know it with an expert guide.
After your adventures in Skaftafell and the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, relax at Hotel Hof. Situated close to Vatnajökull National Park, this hotel offers a serene environment to unwind, surrounded by Iceland's stunning glacial scenery.
Once we leave the Vatnajökull National Park area, the beautiful scenery continues. We’ll follow the turning and twisting roads with mountains on one side and the coast on another. We’ll continue down this road until we reach Egilsstaðir, a charming town on the banks of the Lagarfljót River.
We’ll also stop at a small and very remote fishing village, Djúpivogur. Here, the North Atlantic waves are washing over the black sand beach. Many Icelandic bird species can be found around the area. Locals of the 1100-resident village joke that there are more birds than people here.
We’ll do an easy 3-hour hike to Hengifoss, one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland. This waterfall falls into an amazing gorge. You’ll notice the layers of red strata on the cliff walls because the cliff has been forged by volcanic ash and basaltic lava after the volcanic eruption. During this hike, we have yet another waterfall to admire. Litlanesfoss waterfall, framed by giant hexagonal columns, is an awe-inspiring sight.
This day is dedicated to North Iceland’s highlights. We’ll drive through the wilderness and remote landscapes until we reach the wonderful Dettifoss waterfall. Dettifoss, with a flow rate of 193 m3/s (6,816 cu ft/s), is the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
Next, we’ll head to the incredible Námaskarð geothermal area, full of colorful mud ponds. We will also stop at the famous Mývatn Nature Baths, where you’ll have an opportunity to bathe in the natural hot spring pools.
Feeling refreshed from the baths, we make our way to Hverfjall, a volcanic crater that appeared after a volcanic eruption 2500 years ago. Staying on the volcanic theme, we’ll also visit the Dimmuborgir lava formations. These formations are also known as the “dark cities.” Dimmuborgir appeared when the roof of the giant lava tube collapsed.
The day starts by driving through the capital of North Iceland, Akureyri. If the visibility is good, we will get an incredible view of the longest fjord in Iceland, Eyjafjörður.
During the whale-watching boat tour from Dalvík, you will go across Eyjafjörður Fjord while chasing after dolphins, whales, and other marine creatures. It is not uncommon to see humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Occasionally seals and blue whales can be seen as well.
We will be taking a scenic road through Iceland's best ski resorts and the magnificent fjord around the Tröllaskagi peninsula. We'll pass through charming fishing villages until we stop at Siglufjörður, the herring fishing capital of the Atlantic. Today, the great shoals of herring are long gone, but the rich history is well-preserved.
Today we'll focus on the Borgarfjörður area in West Iceland, voted one of the best travel destinations by Lonely Planet in 2016. Our first stop will be at the volcano crater, Grábrók. We'll take a short hike to the top. In good visibility, we'll have a great view over the lava fields and the surrounding landscapes.
The next stop we'll take will be very different. We'll visit Deildartunguhver hot spring, the most powerful hot spring in Europe. It supplies most of the hot water in the area. We'll also take you to see the ice-cold Hraunfossar waterfall. The water of this waterfall pours out of lava, forming a vast and impressive waterfall. We'll continue to the nearby waterfall, Barnafoss. The name of this picturesque waterfall translates into "Children's Falls," and you'll find out the legend linked to it.
The day's final stop will be at the important place in Iceland's history, Reykholt. We'll visit Snorralaug, the hot spring pool bearing the name of Snorri Sturluson, the 12th/13th-century scholar, historian, lawyer, and saga writer.
Conclude your day with a stay at Hotel Hellissandur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This hotel is perfectly positioned for exploring the Snæfellsjökull National Park and the charming village of Arnarstapi the next day.
The last day is dedicated to the breathtaking Snaefellsnes Peninsula. We’ll drive through the spectacular countryside with a stunning view over the coast. Stopping by the charming village of Arnarstapi, we’ll have a chance to visit the natural Miðgjá rock arch and the 19th-century Búðakirkja church.
Then, we’ll head to the Snæfellsnes National Park, where we’ll have a chance to walk around the lava landscapes and admire the view of Snæfellsjökull Glacier. This glacier became famous when the novelist Jules Verne chose it as an entry point to the Earth’s Center in his renowned novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Continuing to the mesmerizing black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur, you’ll have an opportunity to explore the beach and try your strength at “stone lifting.” It used to be a test to determine if a man was fit to work on a fishing boat. Nowadays, people are no longer tested this way, but it remains a fun entertainment for tourists.
On our way back to Reykjavík, we’ll stop by Kirkjufell, also known as “the most photographed mountain in Iceland.” Its image appears in many places all over Iceland as it remains one of the signature sights of the country.