The powerful Gullfoss, the explosive Geysir, and the historic Thingvellir National Park. Choose from a wide variety of Golden Circle tours and visit Iceland's most popular destinations featuring incredible waterfalls, breathtaking tectonic plates, and bursting geysers. Rich in culture, riveting history, and spectacular nature, a visit to the Golden Circle will create memories that last a lifetime. See below for all of the essential information on the Golden Circle.
Visit the essential sights and learn about the riveting history of the Icelandic Golden Circle with our best professional guides.
Come for the Golden Circle and stay for the Northern Lights. Join us on this day-and-night combo tour and discover the essence of Iceland.
Make the most of your day on this popular tour that combines our best-selling Golden Circle day tour with an amazing snowmobile tour.
Journey along the Golden Circle with its outstanding sights of Þingvellir National Park, where the first parliament was held in Iceland and the continental drift is visible. From Gullfoss, start your ultimate Glacier and Natural Ice Cave adventure in one of the Largest Glacier Trucks!
Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping adventure like no other on the Golden Circle Tour and Glacier Ice Cave Tour. Prepare to be blown away as we venture through Iceland's awe-inspiring landscapes, immersing ourselves in the raw beauty and untamed power of nature.
Combining the Golden Circle and Sky Lagoon, this breathtaking tour takes you on a wondrous journey through Iceland’s staggeringly raw beauty. It ends with the ultimate Icelandic indulgence: a luxurious soak in Sky Lagoon, a geothermal spa where the ocean meets the sky. Go on a journey that brings you the experiences of walking among geologic marvels, witnessing an erupting hot spring, discovering a magnificent waterfall, and unwinding in an outdoor geothermal spa.
An adventure-packed day is discovering the legendary sights of the Golden Circle followed by a soak in the spring-fed Secret Lagoon under the open sky.
Explore Iceland‘s most popular landmarks on the Golden Circle Tour and enjoy a relaxing visit to the natural Icelandic steam baths at Laugarvatn Fontana Spa.
Ride an Icelandic Viking Horse in an idyllic landscape before visiting Thingvellir park, Gulfoss waterfall as well as Geysir and Strokkur hot springs on our Golden Circle & Viking Horseback Riding Tour.
Experience the highlights of the Golden Circle in a Super Jeep, travel up to the isolated highlands of Iceland, and try out snowmobiling on a glacier!
Visit some of Iceland’s most significant landmarks along the Golden Circle with a knowledgeable Iceland Tour Expert leading the way and your friends & family besides your on this private tour.
Head on the classic Golden Circle tour and end this amazing trip with a soak in warm milky blue water at the Blue Lagoon Iceland.
The Golden Circle Tour is the name given to the route taken to the most popular sites in Iceland — Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss (Golden Falls), and Geysir geothermal area. Hit all these spots, and you’ve done the Golden Circle Iceland Tour. Keep reading to learn more about the history of Golden Circle Route and all the main attractions!
Thingvellir National Park became Iceland’s first national park in 1930. It is also a designated UNESCO world heritage site due to its historical, cultural, and geologic significance to the Icelandic people and the world. To walk through Þingvellir National Park is to walk the fields where one of the oldest parliaments in the world first convened in 930 AD. Þingvellir National Park lies in a rift valley created by the tectonic plates of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, slowly drifting apart. It is also home to Iceland’s largest natural lake, Thingvallavatn. It is a must see attraction in Southwest Iceland.
Apart from its historical significance, Þingvellir National Park is also a geological wonderland. The park is located in the rift valley between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. These plates are constantly shifting, creating a unique landscape that is both mesmerizing and awe-inspiring.
As you explore Þingvellir, you'll encounter dramatic cliffs, deep canyons, and vast lava fields. The Almannagjá gorge, with its towering walls, is a testament to the powerful forces of nature. Walking through the park, you can literally step between two continents, as the rift valley provides a clear visual representation of the ongoing tectonic activity.
One of the park's most famous geological features is the Silfra fissure. This underwater canyon is filled with crystal clear glacial water, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. The visibility in Silfra is unparalleled, allowing you to see up to 100 meters ahead. It's a surreal experience to swim between the continents, surrounded by the pristine waters and vibrant marine life.
Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is a waterfall and gets its name from the golden color of its water as it churns up silt and sediment. The magnificent waterfalls lie in the Hvita River and are fed by Langjökull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier. In total, Gullfoss is 32 meters high, falling two tiers that are 11 and 21 meters high, respectively. Gullfoss is also at the center of one of Iceland’s most famous acts of environmental activism. Back in the early 20th century, developers wanted to damn the mighty waterfall to generate electricity, but through the will and determination of Sigriður Tómasdóttir, Gullfoss was saved. Thanks, Sigriður!
Gullfoss Waterfall holds great significance in Icelandic culture, not only for its natural beauty but also for its historical and mythical associations. The waterfall has long been regarded as a sacred site, often referred to as the "Golden Falls" due to the golden-hued mist that is frequently seen rising from the cascading water.
According to local folklore, Gullfoss has a fascinating origin story. It is said that a farmer's daughter named Sigríður Tómasdóttir fought to protect the waterfall from being exploited for hydroelectric power in the early 20th century. Legend has it that she threatened to throw herself into the waterfall's depths if her pleas to preserve the waterfall were ignored. Her bravery and determination ultimately led to the preservation of Gullfoss, making her a national hero and an inspiration for environmental conservation efforts in Iceland.
Today, Gullfoss Waterfall stands as a symbol of Iceland's natural heritage and the country's commitment to preserving its pristine landscapes. It serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding our natural wonders for future generations to enjoy.
Geysir geothermal area is located in the Haukadalur Valley and is the scenic home of the infamous Geysir hot spring. To visit is to pay your respects to the progenitor of all geysers as Geysir is the geyser for which all others are named. Geysir doesn’t erupt often but is surrounded by bubbling cauldrons of superheated mud, steaming pools, and Strokkur, a geyser that erupts every 6-10 minutes. The smells, colors, and eruptions at this popular destination are a window into all the geothermal activity happening across (and beneath) Iceland, making all those hot tubs, swimming pools, greenhouses, and geothermal energy possible.
The Geysir Geothermal Area is not just about geysers; it is also home to a variety of hot springs and mud pots. These natural wonders add to the overall beauty and uniqueness of the area.
One of the notable hot springs in the area is the Great Hot Spring, which boasts crystal clear turquoise water. The vibrant color is a result of the minerals present in the water, creating a visually stunning contrast against the surrounding landscape.
Mud pots, on the other hand, provide a different kind of experience. These bubbling pools of mud are formed when hot water mixes with clay-rich soil, creating a thick, viscous substance. The sight of mud pots bubbling and gurgling is both intriguing and slightly eerie.
Exploring the hot springs and mud pots in the Geysir Geothermal Area allows you to witness the diverse range of geothermal activity in the region. Each hot spring and mud pot has its own distinct characteristics, making it a fascinating adventure to discover them all.
Despite the extreme conditions created by the geothermal activity, the Geysir Geothermal Area is home to a surprising variety of flora and fauna. The area's unique ecosystem has adapted to thrive in this geothermal environment, creating a harmonious balance between nature's power and delicate life forms.
The hot springs and geothermal pools provide a habitat for a variety of algae and bacteria, which contribute to the vibrant colors seen in the water. These microorganisms play a crucial role in the ecosystem, forming the basis of the food chain for other organisms.
Visitors to the Geysir Geothermal Area may also encounter various bird species, including ducks and geese, which are attracted to the warm waters and abundant food sources. The surrounding vegetation, although sparse, showcases resilient plant species that have adapted to the harsh conditions.
Exploring the unique flora and fauna of the Geysir Geothermal Area offers a glimpse into the incredible resilience and adaptability of life in extreme environments.
The Golden Circle route is in southwest Iceland, just outside of the city of Reykjavik. The nearest site Thingvellir National Park is only 43 minutes (47.4 km/29.4 miles) away from Reykjavik, and Gullfoss waterfall is the furthest out at 1 hr 44 min (125 km/77.6 miles) away. The site's proximity to Reykjavik makes touring the Golden Circle a perfect day trip.
Getting to the Golden Circle is easy, thanks to the various tours offered by Gray Line Iceland. They have a range of Golden Circle tours that will take you to the main attractions, allowing you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the stunning Icelandic landscapes. With knowledgeable tour guides who are experts on the Golden Circle, you'll receive insightful commentary and interesting facts about the region throughout the tour. Whether you're a solo traveler, a family, or a group of friends, Gray Line Iceland has a Golden Circle tour that suits your preferences and ensures a memorable experience. Gray Line Iceland has several Golden Circle tours to choose from that will take you to the main attractions, so you can sit back and enjoy the scenery instead. We’ll get you there and back again, and all of our tour guides are Golden Circle experts—full of stories and fun facts on the region.
Iceland´s Golden Circle is a photographer’s paradise. Everywhere you turn, there’s another stunning vista. But if you want to really be in the moment and only take out your phone or camera for the best shots, we’ve compiled a list of the most Instagram worthy photo ops on the Golden Circle tour.
● Almannagjá gorge leading down to the fields of parliament
● Thingvallakirkja, the church at Thingvellir
● The Icelandic flag flying in the middle of the areas of parliament
● Öxarárfoss waterfall
Gullfoss is a broad tiered waterfall, falling two “steps” before plummeting into the gorge below. But thanks to viewing platforms and a path that goes from the top of the falls to the bottom so you can hit all the angles.
● View from the top
● View from the bottom
● Rainbows on top of rainbows (if it’s a sunny day)
● Steaming Geysir (Geysir last erupted in 2016, but you might get lucky)
● Strokkur erupting (every 10 minutes or so)
● The mineral deposits in this geothermally active area can come in some pretty exciting colors and make for cool abstract photos.
Anytime! But many visitors like to make several trips around the Golden Circle tour Iceland at different times of year to bear witness to the changes in the Icelandic landscape throughout the seasons. Thingvellir National Park, in winter, is often snow-covered. In the spring, its trees are budding, and its wildflowers are in bloom. Come summer, everything turns green, and in fall, the trees put on their fiery autumn colors. Just don't forget that Icelandic weather can change three times in 10 minutes, and so, always have a good and warm clothes with you.
All the seasons bring out something uniquely beautiful in the Golden Circle sites. When to visit is really up to your personal preference. Please note that daylight is limited at the height of the midwinter, and there is 24-hour sunlight in midsummer.
Wearing layers is rule number one for dressing on Iceland´s Golden Circle. You can experience all the seasons in one day, that is just as the weather in Iceland is. A good rule of thumb is always to wear three layers:
Those more susceptible to cold may want to add wool leggings and a thermal undershirt. Warm socks, waterproof hiking boots, gloves, and hat are also a must.
Snacks. You will be doing a fair amount of walking and a little bit of climbing. You don’t want a rumbling tummy to get in the way of getting the most out of your trip.
Water bottle. Fill up your reusable water bottle from the tap before you begin your trip and keep it handy to refill when you can. In Iceland, the bottled water and the water from the tap are the same. Stay hydrated.
An adventurous spirit and the ability to adapt. Icelandic weather is unpredictable and doesn’t always cooperate. Remember, you are in Iceland getting to see spectacular natural wonders. Enjoy it!
● Maps. If traveling with a Gray Line Iceland tour, you won’t need a golden circle map, but if you venture out on your own, it’s a good idea to have a good road map. Mobile phones die (especially in the cold), and you don’t want to be without backup.
Looking for a Golden Circle tour that includes extra attractions? Want to add a little more excitement or relaxation to your Golden Circle Adventure? Gray Line Iceland has a variety of Golden Circle tours to choose from, making it easy to find the one that’s perfect for you. All of our Golden Circle tours include a tour guide to tell you about the rich history of all the natural beauties that you will see along the way and off the beaten track.
Golden Circle Classic is perfect for families.
Nature lovers & honeymooners will enjoy soaking in a geothermal pool out in the Icelandic landscape on the Golden Circle & Sky Lagoon Tour
Bundle up couples, and get a dose of the ethereal Northern Lights with your Golden Circle experience on the Golden Circle Classic & Northern Lights Tour
Golden Circle Private Tour is great for groups wishing to visit the Golden Circle.
Combine the Golden Circle Tour with a visit to the World Famous Blue Lagoon in the Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon Tour. The Perfect way to add a Blue Lagoon stop to your Iceland Holiday! Admission is included in the tour price.
Relax at the Secret Lagoon with our Golden circle and Secret lagoon tour. The Secret Lagoon is the oldest pool in Iceland. Break up your Golden circle tour with a stop at the Secret Lagoon and soak in the warm water!
Traveling Iceland´s Golden Circle is an exciting way to get to know Iceland. We offer pick up locations across Reykjavik, Iceland´s Capital City. Book your Golden Circle Tour today with Gray Line Iceland, one of Iceland´s oldest tour operators. If you have already experienced the Golden Circle, we highly recommend exploring more of Iceland´s South Coast with one of our South Coast Tours.
To provide you with even more information about the Golden Circle and the tours offered by Gray Line Iceland, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions:
The duration of the Golden Circle tour varies depending on the specific tour you choose. It can range from approximately 6 hours for the Classic Golden Circle Tour to 10 hours for tours with extra activities. This includes transportation from Reykjavik and stops at the main attractions—Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Geysir geothermal area.
Yes, all Golden Circle tours offered by Gray Line Iceland are guided. Their knowledgeable tour guides are experts on the Golden Circle and provide insightful commentary throughout the tour, sharing interesting facts and stories about the attractions and Iceland's history.
Yes, there are designated stops along the Golden Circle tour for food and restroom breaks. The tour guides will inform you about the available facilities and ensure that you have ample time to refresh and refuel.
Absolutely! Gray Line Iceland offers various combination tours that allow you to enhance your Golden Circle experience. Some options include combining the Golden Circle tour with whale watching, horseback riding, or a visit to Reykjavik city. These active tours golden circle and combination tours provide an opportunity to explore multiple aspects of Iceland's beauty and culture in one outing.
Yes, Gray Line Iceland offers private Golden Circle tours that can be customized according to your preferences and group size. It's a great option for families, groups of friends, or those seeking a more personalized experience.
The Golden Circle tours conducted by Gray Line Iceland are primarily conducted in English. However, depending on the specific tour and availability, some tours may also be available in other languages. It's recommended to check with Gray Line Iceland for language options when booking.
Yes, you can easily book your Golden Circle tour online through the Gray Line Iceland website. They provide a seamless booking process, allowing you to secure your spot in advance and guarantee a hassle-free experience.
Yes, Gray Line Iceland offers hotel pickup and drop-off services for their Golden Circle tours. When booking your tour, you can select your hotel from the provided list, and the pickup details will be provided to you.
Yes, the Golden Circle tour is suitable for children. Gray Line Iceland offers family-friendly tours that cater to the needs and interests of all age groups. The tour guides are experienced in engaging with children and ensuring an enjoyable experience for the entire family.
While the Golden Circle tour does not specifically include the Northern Lights, Gray Line Iceland offers combination tours that include both the Golden Circle and a Northern Lights experience. These tours provide a chance to witness the mesmerizing dancing lights in the Icelandic sky, adding an extra touch of magic to your Golden Circle adventure.
The Golden Circle tour in Iceland is an incredible adventure that takes you through a land of unparalleled beauty and natural wonders. From the historical significance of Þingvellir National Park to the majestic power of Gullfoss Waterfall and the geothermal spectacle of the Geysir area, each stop on the Golden Circle route offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience. With Gray Line Iceland as your tour operator, you can sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in the captivating landscapes, fascinating history, and unforgettable moments that await you along the Golden Circle. So, pack your sense of adventure and get ready to embark on a journey you'll cherish forever. Join us on the Golden Circle tour and create memories that will last a lifetime. We know that there are many tour companies in Iceland and we appreciate the chance to be your tour operator!