Set just east of Reykjavik, the Golden Circle is one of Iceland's most popular road trips, day trips, and areas for active excursions. Three of the country's famed attractions are in the Golden Circle, including the geologically rich Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area (with the Great Geysir and Strokkur Geysir), and the powerful Gullfoss Waterfall.
Although you can accomplish the Golden Circle in just one day with a rental car or by joining a tour, you can also spend extended time in the region. For example, explore glaciers and snorkel between tectonic plates in Þingvellir National Park, hike through Haukadalur Valley in the geothermal area, and raft along the Hvita river near Gulfoss.
Explore the Geothermal Waters
Iceland and geothermal water go hand in hand, so you may want to add a relaxing soak to your Golden Circle itinerary. Or, opt for a slightly more unique adventure and explore the landscape on horseback!
Fontana Geothermal Baths
Enjoy time relaxing and recreating in the Fontana Geothermal Baths next to the scenic Laugarvatn Lake. You'll have your pick of steam rooms, relaxing pools (ranging in size, depth, and temperature), and saunas. All are heated with natural and healing waters from underground and the lake. You can also brave the icy waters between healing rounds or walk along the black sand beach. Read More
Horseback Riding in the Golden Circle
Explore one of Iceland's geothermal areas on horseback! You'll ride atop the country's unique horse breed as you follow smooth trails up hills, along mountain ridges, over rivers, and through picturesque towns. Enjoy views of the sweeping landscape featuring the rushing Varmá River, steaming valleys, and expansive plains. Stop to warm up with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate while learning a bit more about the horses and the area's natural surroundings. Read More
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Enjoy Coastal Adventures
Iceland is an island, so there are plenty of coastal excursions to enjoy. One unique experience is to view the isolated area where the country's adorable puffin colonies reside.
Puffin Watching at Ingolfshofdi Cape
Enjoy a true adventure as you explore Ingólfshöfði Cape, an isolated area known as a nesting ground for thousands of birds each year, including the country's beloved puffins. Getting to the cape is an experience of its own, as you'll ride on a tractor-drawn cart over waterways, marshes, and sand before starting a scenic 1.5-hour hike. Enjoy views of the rugged landscape, which reaches 250 feet, as seabirds fly and nest all around you. Read More
Discover Rivers & Glaciers
In Iceland, you can snorkel between two of the world's most important tectonic plates: the North American and Eurasian plates. Other signature adventures include rafting in the Gulfoss canyon and exploring glaciers.
Enjoy an adventure of a lifetime as you float between two tectonic plates: the North American and Eurasian plates that cut through Iceland. As you float in some of the clearest waters in the world, you'll pass through the Silfra Fissure's four attractions: Big Crack, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and Silfra Lagoon. You'll also enjoy views of Lake Thingvallavatn. Read More
Rafting Gullfoss Canyon
Enjoy an adrenaline-pumping experience as you raft through gorges and rapids on the Gullfoss River Canyon. You may know the Hvítá River's most famous attraction, the Gullfoss Waterfall. Get a different perspective of the area's scenery by floating nearly 4 miles down the river. You'll stay warm with a wetsuit, and the experience is suitable for all skill levels, even beginners. Read More
Langjokull Glacier Snowmobiling
Explore one of Iceland's glaciers on a snowmobile, zipping through the icy countryside surrounded by mountain peaks. You'll meet your professional guides at a designated spot, who will then take you to the Langjokull Glacier. After getting fitted with your equipment and receiving important safety instructions, you'll head out into the snowy and picturesque wilderness. Read More
How to Craft the Perfect Golden Circle Itinerary
The Golden Circle is a go-to region for many visitors to Iceland. Because it's set so close to Reykjavik, it allows you to experience much of the country's charm in a short amount of time. Although rental cars will enable you to spend more flexible time in the region, there are other ways to tour through Iceland and the Golden Circle. For example, you can enjoy a day tour and combine the area with others in the country, such as the South Coast, West Coast, or Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
If you simply want to check Reykjavik and the Golden Circle off your bucket list, you only need a few days to enjoy the region. But how much time should you spend in Iceland if you want to add other experiences? To spend more time in the Golden Circle and nearby areas, try to give yourself one week in Iceland.
Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include experiences in the Golden Circle: