Iceland is open for travel: Volcanic eruption in Iceland 2024

Top 3 Most Popular Golden Circle Day Tours

Main Golden Circle Attractions

Thingvellir National Park

  • UNESCO World Heritage site where the ancient parliament Althing met over 1,000 years ago. Walk along the rift valley between two continents.

Gullfoss Waterfall

  • One of Iceland’s most powerful cascades - "the Golden Falls". View the majestic two-tiered waterfall from up close.

Geysir Geothermal Area

  • Geothermal area with Geysir, the original geyser that gave its name to all others. Watch eruptions and explore hot springs and fumaroles.

Kerið Crater

  • Volcanic crater lake with blue-green water and red rock walls. Walk around the crater rim and descend to the lake.

Golden Circle Route Map With Main Sights

View the Golden Circle sightseeing route map to get an idea of the journey. Starting from Reykjavik, the usual base for this scenic drive, you will find other major natural attractions and the return way to the capital.

Our tours guarantee exploration of these essential stops of the Golden Circle's top sights, with the addition of the unmissable Kerið crater on the return trip.

Preparing for your own adventure? Get more information and a free downloadable Iceland’s Golden Circle map with stops.

Best Golden Circle Tours from Reykjavik

About the Golden Circle in Iceland

The Golden Circle is Iceland's most iconic and easily accessible tourist route! In Icelandic, it is called Gullni Hringurinn. This fantastic 186-mile (300 km) loop from Reykjavik takes you to three of the country's most mind-blowing natural wonders in the Southwest region.

Travelers love the Golden Circle because it allows you to see the country’s history, nature, and geology in one trip. It's like a crash course in what makes Iceland so unique.

Each of the three main stops is one of the most significant sites in Iceland.

Thingvellir National Park stop of Golden Circle

Thingvellir National Park is the first major stop on the trail. Source: Arctic Adventures.

Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park is where the tour goes first. Not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it’s also the spot where you can practically see the earth’s tectonic plates drifting apart! This rift valley is all about history, being the site of the world's first parliament, the Althing.

Next up is Geysir Hot Springs, the geothermal area that gave all geysers their name. Here, you can watch the Strokkur geyser erupt every few minutes, shooting hot water up to 98 ft (30 m) into the air – an incredible sight you won’t forget!

Finally, there's the mighty cascade Gullfoss, the "Golden Waterfall," where you’ll witness rushing glacial waters plummeting into a deep canyon, creating a misty, magical view.

But that's not all — the most famous sightseeing circuit has even more locations on the way. The most popular attraction on the way back to the capital is Kerid volcanic lake. Also, while en route, you can visit geothermal lagoons, hot springs, small farms, and other amazing sceneries.

This trip is perfect for anyone visiting Iceland! Whether you're exploring in summer or winter, there are plenty of options for how you want to travel, and our expert guides are here to show you around.

Golden Circle Combo Tours


Absolutely! Iceland’s famous circle is a must-do if you're visiting Iceland because you can see amazing places like waterfalls, geysers, and a national park all in one day. The tour guides also tell exciting stories about each place, so you can learn a lot. Plus, it's super easy to reach all the attractions from Reykjavik with just a short drive, making it a convenient day trip. The incredible sights and experiences make it worth it!

Yes, Golden Circle tours are operating and as popular as ever! Whether you prefer a guided tour, a private experience, or driving yourself, there are plenty of options available year-round. So, go ahead and book your spot for a fantastic adventure!

On our classic Golden Circle one-day tour, you'll visit the amazing Gullfoss waterfall, the powerful Geysir geothermal area, and the historic Thingvellir National Park. On the way back to the capital, you'll also explore the stunning Kerid volcanic crater. We provide transfers to and from Reykjavik, a certified English-speaking guide, and Free WiFi on board.

We also offer various combinations, extra stops, and optional activities such as snowmobiling, snorkeling, or relaxing in a geothermal lagoon.

For multi-day excursions that include the Golden Circle, our packages also cover accommodation with breakfasts, additional activities, and visits to many more locations.

The Golden Circle is famous as Iceland's most popular sightseeing trail, celebrated for its accessibility and the three iconic attractions it includes. This scenic loop is a convenient way to experience some of Iceland's most breathtaking natural wonders in a single, unforgettable day.

The name "Golden Circle" for Iceland's famous route has a few intriguing theories. One idea is it could be named after Iceland's majestic "Golden Falls," Gullfoss, whose golden-hued spray catches sunlight. Another theory suggests it represents the route's economic value to Iceland's tourism. Lastly, some see it as symbolizing the circle's historical and cultural significance, similar to a ring of gold in Icelanders' and tourists’ hearts.

Tours of the famous Golden Loop usually take the whole day, from 6 to 12 hours. The duration will depend on the itinerary, extra stops, or experiences you choose. Our classic Golden Circle tour takes 8 hours, so you will return to Reykjavik by the evening.

The best Golden Circle tour depends on your interests! The classic small group tour is ideal for those seeking a comfortable and educational journey. Consider the Northern Lights combo if you're visiting in winter and want to maximize your experience. Each option has its unique perks, ensuring you'll have an excellent adventure. If you prefer a later start, our Golden Circle afternoon tour departs at 12 p.m. and is also one of the best choices.

Yes, you can do the Golden Circle on your own. Rent a car, use a map (or use GPS), and hit the road. It’s a straightforward drive with well-marked roads, and you can explore at your own pace. However, this is best done in the summer when the weather is good. Attempting this legendary drive in winter can be risky due to icy roads and unpredictable conditions, so it's safer and more convenient to join a guided tour during the cold season.

Not really! While there is some walking involved, most of the main attractions are easily accessible with short walks from the parking areas. At Gullfoss, you’ll have a short but slightly steep walk to get the best views of the waterfall. The Geysir geothermal area involves a leisurely stroll to see the erupting geysers. Thingvellir National Park has a bit more wandering if you want to fully explore the rift valley and historical sites, but it's mostly flat and manageable for all fitness levels. Overall, the walking is minimal and suitable for everyone, making the tour enjoyable without being too strenuous.

Yes, you can definitely see the Northern Lights on this trail. Since the Golden Circle attractions are in natural, wide-open spaces, you've got a good shot at seeing the auroras, especially between September and April. If your main goal is to see the lights, joining a guided Golden Circle tour is your best option. Guides take you to darker spots where you've got the best chance of catching them. Plus, if you don't see the lights on your first try, our tours give you unlimited chances over three years to see them, so you won't miss out.

You absolutely can't skip the must-see highlights that define this epic route! Stand at the powerful Gullfoss waterfall, catch the thrilling eruptions of geysers, and explore the fascinating history of Þingvellir National Park—these spots are the heart and soul of the Golden Circle. When you join our guided tours, we make sure you experience all these iconic wonders. Plus, we might even take you off the beaten path to discover hidden gems like the Kerid volcanic crater or charming towns and hot springs along the way.

Yes, restrooms are available at all the main stops along the drive. Your guide will provide all the information. However, some smaller or more remote stops may not have facilities, so it's best to plan ahead and use the washrooms whenever they are available.

Iceland's famous sightseeing circuit is conveniently close to Reykjavik, only a short drive of about 45 minutes to an hour to the first stop. The route covers approximately 190 miles (300 kilometers) in total. The farthest point on the Golden Circle from Reykjavik is Gullfoss waterfall, located approximately 96 miles (155 kilometers) east of the capital city.

A standard Golden Circle tour typically costs around $87-$90 per person. It involves a standard minibus and no additional activities. For a more complete experience that includes an aurora hunt or a visit to a geothermal pool, prices can range from around $100 to $200 per person. Getting a package tour is a smart way to get more out of your trip while saving money on both experiences!

Yes, the Golden Circle is perfect for a day trip in Iceland. You can easily visit all the major attractions in a single day, take detours, and have plenty of time to enjoy each location. It’s a fantastic way to experience a lot of Icelandic beauty in a short time. However, this loop trail is also frequently part of longer travel itineraries, such as those combined with the South Coast. In these cases, the excursions extend beyond a day, offering excellent value for your time and money.

The famous Blue Lagoon spa is not on the sightseeing circle. The renowned spa is about an hour's drive southwest of Reykjavik. That's in the opposite direction of the Golden Circle, which goes east. With a package tour of the spa and sightseeing, you get included tickets to the lagoon and transfers to and from Reykjavik. This allows you to easily visit both attractions in one day.

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Stunning Golden Circle Iceland Photos

Browse our image gallery of spectacular Golden Circle sights to see what awaits you on the trip!

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