What is the Golden Circle tour?
The Golden Circle tour visits a few of Iceland's most popular landmarks; Gullfoss, Geysir and the National Park Thingvellir.
How long is the Golden Circle tour in Iceland?
The whole tour takes around 7 hours (departing from Reykjavik) which companies call a full day. This includes waiting at the bus stop 30 minutes before departure and traveling to the three sights.
There are half day Golden Circle tours, but I simply don't think it would be worth it. 7 hours is the minimum you need I think, including travel from Reykjavik I think.
Is the Golden Circle worth it? Can you see it on your own?
The Golden Circle is definitely worth visiting! Whether you'd prefer a guided tour or self guided tour is another question.
The Golden Circle is free to visit, so you'd only need to pay for car rental on a DIY tour.
We decided to go for the Golden Circle tour route as we didn't want to drive. We could simply relax and admire the passing scenery (which is also very pretty). If I was a more confident driver, I'd recommend a DIY tour so you can spend as along as you like at each site!
Can you do the Golden Circle in a day?
The Golden Circle tour is definitely doable in a day. I'd say you need a minimum of an hour at each site, but could easily stretch it out to 2-3 as the trails are quite long.
For example, Thingvellir National Park is huge. On the guided tour, we didn't get to walk around as we were admiring the sight from the top near the car park! We only had 30-40 minutes so we had a quick wander along the path.
Thingvellir National Park
So if Thingvellir National Park sounds like something you’d like to explore, I’d recommend not buying a tour and visiting by yourself to give you plenty of time.
Visiting Geysir, it’s a matter of luck which will decide how long you are there for. There are several Geysir to stand by and watch. It’s a little like watching paint dry, waiting for something to happen.
You could be editing 3-4 minutes of video before an erruption takes place. Erruptions also vary in size too!
Beyond the Geysirs, there’s also a trail up the hill giving you a vantage point.
The mist from Gullfoss reaches you from quote a distance, that’s how powerful it was. The sound was also powerful too!
There was also time for a quick stop to pet Icelandic horses!