The golden circle route is a popular route between Iceland’s three most visited attractions. Starting in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, you’ll drive to the north, visiting Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall ( You can find it on google maps).
Imagine coasting through beautiful countryside to see gushing geysers, thundering waterfalls, and spectacular cliff faces. All at your own pace! If that sounds fascinating, then an adventure of a driving tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle is perfect for you!
Don’t worry, it won’t take you too many days to cover all this area, it will just take three hours to cover these 230 kilometers, but you can easily spend one whole day on this tour to enjoy the attractions, take photos and relax as well!
And don’t forgot to include the northern lights in your iceland holidays.
The best time to plan this trip is during the shoulder season that is from May to September, there will be fewer crowds, more beautiful views, and perfect weather. However, it is recommended to always have water and wind-resistant layers on hand as Iceland’s weather is quite unreliable!
Since we’ll be guiding you on how to drive the golden circle route on your own, with no tour guide, you’ll need to rent a vehicle too! The best site to book your car is through online booking. This is the most comfortable and least expensive way to book your vehicle. All you need now is a full tank, a website to check road conditions, and loads of enthusiasm and energy to enjoy your trip!
Let’s wait no more and start with our traveling route!
Thingvellir National Park
After leaving Reykjavik, start driving the Golden Circle route going North East on Route 36 towards our first stop, Thingvellir National Park!
This is known as the birthplace of Ireland as a state and home to the oldest ongoing parliament in the world. It is the only place in the world where you can stand on two different continental plates, the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates drift away from each other here, creating deep fissures into the ground.
One of these is Silfra, which is full of icy glacier water and people choose to go snorkeling or scuba diving here! Entry there’s free. We suggest you spend around two hours here as it will be a perfect start to your one day tour.
Pet Icelandic Horses
As you drive through the beautiful valleys and large farms, you’ll see fresh snowfall covering the mountains and hardy Icelandic Horses and sheep lining both sides of the road! You can find a nice parking area here as stopping on the road is dangerous, and walk up to the fences of the farms to pet these animals!
Mind you, the horses do look like ponies but don’t make the mistake of calling them ponies in front of the locals. They are very proud of their Sturdy horses! Don’t forget to take a selfie or two while you’re at it!
Geysers at Haukadalur
Your next stop will be a geothermal area about 60 km away from Thingvellir National Park called Haukadalur, which has two famous geysers, Geysir and Strokkur. The Strokkur constantly explodes with scalding water-that smells like rotten eggs-shooting up to 100 feet into the air after every 10 minutes, but the original Geysir no longer erupts after an earthquake that shuts it down! It is best to stay away from when the water explodes as it is quite hot and can burn!
You should try the food while driving the Golden Circle route. You will find a restaurant and gift shops there where you can have some soup, relax and buy some souvenirs. You can stay here for 1.5-2 hours before heading towards the next spot.
The best Of The Golden Circle Route: Gullfoss Waterfall
This waterfall is located in the canyon of the Hvità river. Gullfoss means “golden waterfall” in Icelandic, and when the sun hits it, the name proves its meaning! The broad and fast river turns a corner and falls 100 feet into an opening in the earth, producing thick mist and rainbows!
It is located off the main road, and you have to go down a long staircase from the parking lot where a concrete pathway will allow you to walk along the edge and view the roaring cascading waterfall! You can visit the Gullfoss Kaffi (cafe) here. The menu has delicious options to satisfy everyone’s choices from hot soups, sandwiches, salads to cakes! You will also find many souvenirs here to take home from your one day tour. You can spend around 3-4 hours here.
Kerid Crater Lake
This is located in the Grimsnes area of South Iceland. This empty magma chamber was once a typical cone-shaped volcano before it’s top collapsed.
Hiking down to the bottom will take only 5 minutes. It is filled with a deep blue shade of water that sets off the red and green color of the crater. You can not swim in the water! This is the only place where you need to pay an entrance fee of $3 while exploring the golden circle route. We suggest you spend around 1 to 1.5 hours here.
Nesjavellir Geothermal Plant
When going back to Reykjavik, then there is a beautiful back road you can take to one of Iceland’s geothermal power plants. A lonely road driving through the beautiful landscapes of Iceland will be the cherry on top of this lovely road trip!
|Clothes||warm clothes, hiking boots, wind-resistant jackets|
|Food||nuts, snacks, juices, protein bars.|
|Extras||first aid kit, sunglasses, toiletries.|
To conclude, the golden circle route will be the perfect way to unwind and go on a one-day trip without a travel guide! Paired with our guide, the road trip will be full of memories and beautiful views. We will be looking forward to your positive feedback! Happy traveling!