15 Best Golden Circle Tours (Iceland)

The Golden Circle is located in the central west of Iceland, about an hour’s drive east of the capital Reykjavik.

This is an extraordinary area with stunning natural landscapes such as geysers, waterfalls, mountains and hot springs. It is also the country’s premier nature and leisure destination for both locals and international tourists.

Although the winters are cold and icy, it is open year-round and offers activities such as snowmobiling, snorkeling, hiking, climbing and ATV rides.

Almost all tours start and end in Reykjavik and last about eight to ten hours.

Here are 15 of the best and most convenient tours of Iceland’s Golden Circle.

1. Three-day tour of Golden Circle, Glacier Lake and Ice Cave

Reynis Farah Beach

After a glorious three days in Iceland’s Golden Circle, this value-for-money tour is a great option for those who don’t want to skimp on their holiday experience.

The tour starts and ends in Reykjavik and follows the Golden Circle route including the black sand beaches of Reynisfara, the ice caves, the glaciers of Vatnajökull and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Thingvellir country Parks and other attractions.

On the third day, guests can choose to go on a glacier hike with a certified mountain guide.

Includes return transportation, two nights in a twin or double room with private bathroom and breakfast each morning.

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2. Photos of Silfra Golden Circle Snorkeling Belt

Thingvellir National Park

Because of its name and northern location, most tourists associate Iceland with year-round snow, howling winds and sub-zero temperatures.

While this is true to a certain extent, outdoor activities such as swimming and snorkeling can be enjoyed thanks to its abundant geothermal springs that continuously pump warm water to the surface.

This ten-hour tour from Reykjavik begins in Thingvellir National Park, where giant tectonic plates are slowly breaking apart into a majestic and otherworldly landscape.

Guests can look forward to seeing Gullfoss Falls, mighty geysers, fissures in the landscape, impressive glaciers, and snorkeling in a stunning thermal pool of crystal clear geothermal water before returning home.

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3. Reykjavik’s Golden Circle and Glacier Snowmobiling

Thingvellir National Park

Snowmobiles are impressive machines designed to traverse rough and icy landscapes with relative ease. For those looking for an exhilarating experience, they are the perfect way to explore the Golden Circle.

After departing from central Reykjavik, guests and their guide will set off for the famous Golden Circle.

Participants will benefit from a brief introduction during which they will learn to operate their machines and get a general idea of ​​what they will be seeing.

Thingvellir National Park is the center of the tour – known for its historical significance and stunning natural attractions such as hot springs, geysers, waterfalls and deep glacial canyons.

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4. Full-Day Whale Watching Tour

Whale Watching in Reykjavik

Despite its harsh climate and remote location, Iceland’s Golden Circle has a rich selection of tours and activities to satisfy visitors of all interests.

This two-part combo tour is the perfect way to experience a unique combination of activities, with the highlight being the morning cruise, which allows guests to see many marine mammal species such as humpback whales, dolphins and porpoises in their natural environment.

If you’re visiting from October to March, you can also see seabirds and even orcas.

The afternoon portion of the tour includes historic sites, waterfalls, and coach geysers.

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5. Kerid Crater Full-Day Tour from Reykjavik

Kerid Crater, Iceland

It’s hard to imagine a place with more diverse and impressive natural features than Iceland’s Golden Circle.

From mighty geysers and majestic waterfalls to geothermal pools and massive craters, it’s definitely worth a visit, even for those with only a day to spare.

This full-day tour from Reykjavik includes stops at all the attractions listed above, plus an impressive historical attraction: the seat of the first Viking parliament at the Rock of Law in Thingvellir National Park.

Tours include guided tours and time to explore the elements by bus and on foot.

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6. Lava Tunnel Walk and Golden Circle Tour

Reykjavik Lava Tunnel

For thousands of years, volcanic and geological activity has created an underground labyrinth of tunnels in and around the Golden Circle.

While this isn’t a recommended activity for the claustrophobic or neurotic, exploring the network of underground tunnels – or Leitarhraun – is a truly unforgettable experience.

The area is less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavik and is open to tourists all year round.

Each participant gets all the equipment they need, such as a helmet with headlights, and follows their guide into a world that few people see.

The tunnel tour lasts about an hour, after which guests will board the bus to other attractions such as the Golden Falls and the geothermal hot springs.

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7. Black Beach ATV Tour

Golden Circle and Black Sand Beach ATV Tour

While long ago, the Vikings weren’t lucky enough to have motorized ATVs at their disposal, guests who opt for this mechanized Golden Circle tour will largely follow in their footsteps.

After a brief instruction from an experienced guide, eager riders will set off along the rift valley in Thingvellir National Park, where tectonic plates are gradually pulling the land apart.

Tour highlights include the Strokkur Geyser, which periodically blasts powerful streams of hot water into the frigid Icelandic air over 100 feet with a deafening roar.

Waterfalls, glaciers, iconic geological formations and black sand beaches are also on the itinerary.

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8. Farm visit and Secret Lagoon tour

Kerið Crater

Although it doesn’t have a particularly hospitable climate, the area around the Golden Circle is home to several dairy farms.

They are often overlooked by tourists looking to see impressive natural attractions, but for those interested in unique cultural experiences, they are a great place to while away a few hours.

This combo tour includes many of the region’s most famous attractions, such as Thingvellir National Park and Kerid’s Aquamarine Crater Lagoon. There is also an excursion to a local dairy farm, which is usually one of the high points of a day for many tourists.

Guests will visit the farm, meet the family that runs the farm, and sample local products such as cheese, soup and delicious Icelandic ice cream.

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9. Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon Early Access Tour

Gullfoss Falls

There is probably no better way to start your day than soaking in a geothermal pool and marveling at some of the most stunning scenery in the world.

After being picked up at a location in central Reykjavik, guests will be taken by bus to the Secret Lagoon, where they will have 90 minutes to relax in the therapeutic waters of the spa before beginning the sightseeing portion of the day.

Participants will have plenty of time to marvel at regional gems such as Golden Falls and the stunning geysers in Thingvellir National Park.

Ten hours, it’s a long day, but everything is included except food, drinks and tips.

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10. Reykjavik’s Golden Circle and Fontana Wellness Tour

Fontana Health

Founded nearly 100 years ago, Fontana Health Complex has grown rapidly since then. It remains the heart of the region for those looking to pamper themselves in geothermally heated hot tubs, steam rooms and spas.

This full-day tour begins and ends in Reykjavik and includes a guided bus and spa portion, which most guests find to be the perfect complement.

The attractions of the coach tour include geysers, waterfalls, glaciers, canyons and other extraordinary natural attractions in Thingvellir National Park and the surrounding area.

Round-trip transportation is included, and drinks and snacks are available throughout the day.

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11. Golden Circle and Kerid Crater Small Group Tour

Strokkur Geysir, Golden Circle, Iceland

Small group tours are definitely the way to go for savvy travelers looking for an intimate experience and getting the most out of their limited travel expenses.

Limited to less than 20 participants, this combined Golden Circle and Kerid Crater tour begins and ends in Reykjavik and includes many of Thingvellir National Park’s most impressive sights.

Tour highlights include craters, deep fissures and gushing geysers, and the unique ability to stand on one foot in Europe and the other in the Americas.

This is a great option for those who have fully experienced Reykjavik’s urban environment and crave open spaces and breathtaking natural attractions.

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12. Luxury Jeep Golden Circle and South Bank

Myrdals Glacier, Iceland

Tourists and Icelanders tend to think of the Golden Circle as the most stunning natural area in the country. For those living in Reykjavik, there is no shortage of tours to experience it in all its glory.

This full-day Golden Circle and South Bank luxury jeep tour is limited in size, which means a more relaxed and personal experience than what is usually found in larger vehicles.

After departing from Reykjavik, guests will drive through idyllic farms, admiring the impressive landscape formed mainly by tectonic and volcanic activity.

Key tourist features include the stunning blue glacier of Myrdalsjokull and Skógafoss, one of the largest waterfalls in the country.

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13. Golden Circle Full Day Tour with Blue Lagoon Option

Oxararfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park

While most of Thingvellir National Park’s main attractions can be seen on a full-day tour, many tourists choose to visit multiple times because of the impressiveness of the sights.

Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to its rugged, rustic splendor, it’s also home to the oldest parliament in the world.

This means that there are tons of different attractions to cater for travelers with different interests.

This unique combination tour offers natural and historical attractions, as well as the option to visit the famous Blue Lagoon.

Tours include bus transportation, and GPS-activated audio guides in multiple languages.

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14. Miniba Falls and Crater Lake Crater

Gullfoss Falls

Communicating with Mother Nature has never been easier for those who choose to take the Golden Circle Falls and Crater Lake tour from Reykjavik.

Tours include transportation to and from your accommodation in the city and are limited in size, ensuring a more intimate and memorable experience.

Thingvellir National Park is at ground zero as guests learn about the region’s vast tectonic activity that is slowly separating the continents of Europe and America inch by inch.

Other centerpieces include a stop at one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe, an impressive crater lake, and numerous geysers spewing superheated water dozens of meters into the sky.

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15. Private Ice Climbing on Solheimajokull Glacier

Ice climbing on the Solheimajokull glacier

While it ranks 15th on this list of the best Golden Circle tours, the private ice climbing excursion to Solheimajökull is almost certainly the most exhilarating.

Having said that, this is definitely an activity best reserved for the young, fit and fearless.

These five-hour tours begin with details on how to use ice-making equipment for a safe and memorable day.

Things usually start off slowly until everyone gets used to the conditions. From there, climbers will experience massive sinkholes, boulders, and snow-covered ridges, as well as sweeping views of some of the most incredible landscapes in the region.

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