The Golden Circle is by far the most popular tourist route in Iceland. With its proximity to Reykjavik, it is an easy way to see some of the popular highlights in Iceland. If you are doing a quick stopover in Iceland or are short on time, the Golden Circle definitely offers some beautiful attractions.
The main attractions on the Circle route are Þingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss. BUT as long as you are driving all the way out there, there are plenty of hidden gems along the route that are definitely worth a stop!
Here is a list of places you should include if you are driving the Golden Circle. For convenience, I have listed these places in geographical “circle” order and included a map at the bottom.
Sometimes there are places I come across that are just an absolute WIN. Þórufoss is one of those places. This will be a slight detour off the regular Golden Circle route, but it is definitely worth the time to stop. Not to mention you will likely be the ONLY person there!
Location: After about 15km on Route 36, turn left onto Route 48. Drive for about 5km and look for a small sign on the right for Þórufoss.
I know the Blue Lagoon gets all of the credit with the tourists, but Laugarvatn Fontana is a great alternative. What makes this spa experience unique is that it’s located next to a freezing cold lake, so really fun to go back and forth between hot and cold. Plus the scenic view from the pool is what makes this place worth a stop!
Location: Road 37 on the way to Geysir in the town of Laugarvatn
Hours: Open daily June-August 10:00 – 23:00 // 11:00 – 21:00 the rest of the year
Price: Adults 3800 ISK / $33 USD, free for children under 12
If you love the sound of ice cream straight from the farm, then this is the stop for you! This place is too adorable, a family run farm turned into an ice cream parlor and restaurant. The ice cream is just as delicious as it looks – I can highly recommend the salted caramel! I’ve also heard their burgers are amazing.There’s also a Bed & Breakfast on the property if you need a place to stay!
Location: 801 Bláskógabyggð // On Route 37, after the split from 365, drive about 12km (you will pass Route 366 on the right). You will see a sign for the farm on the left side of the road.
Hours: May 16th – September 14th 11:00 – 22:00 Daily // September 15th – May 15th Sunday-Thursday: 11:30 – 20.00, Friday-Saturday: 11:30 – 21:00
Price: depends on how many scoops you get 🙂
This waterfall is out of control beautiful. The contrast of the bright blue water on the black lava is stunning! The only downside to this waterfall is trying to find it!
NOTE: The “old” access for Bruarfoss has CLOSED. The directions take you through private property, where you will currently see No Trespassing signs. Please respect the locals and do not cross these boundaries.
A proper parking lot and walkway to the waterfall is currently under construction and will be open to the public in late 2017/early 2018.
I don’t know about you, but I can never see too many waterfalls! Faxi is a little waterfall hidden gem that most people drive right by. We were literally the only ones there! And even though it was pouring down rain, it was still pretty to see!
Location: Road 35 between Geysir and the town of Reykholt (there is a small sign on the left when you are driving South pointing towards the falls)
Friðheimar is a huge greenhouse that grows tomatoes and cucumbers. Their growing methods are completely sustainable and eco-friendly. This is the ultimate farm-to-table experience, I love the concept of this place!
Do not miss their most popular dish – all you can eat tomato soup served with an assortment of homemade bread. This is not your average tomato soup, this is hands down the most delicious tomato soup I’ve ever tasted! Don’t forget to add fresh basil from the plant on the table. They also have a delicious sounding dessert menu, featuring – you guessed it – tomatoes! For drinks, the Bloody Mary is a classic, but I prefer the Happy Mary – made with gin and green tomatoes!
Location: Road 35 in Reykholt
Hours: 12-16 daily
Price: $1900 / $14.50 ISK for all you can eat amazingly delicious homemade soup and bread
*Note: Reservations are REQUIRED! Call (354) 486 8894 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a table.
If you’re looking for a natural geothermal pool in the raw Icelandic nature, then Gamla Laugin is for you! Also known as the Secret Lagoon, this pool is kept as natural as possible. The water temperature stays at a toasty 38 Celsius all year long. Changing facilities are available on site.
Location: Road 30 near the town of Flúðir
Hours: 12.00 – 20.00
Price: Adults 2800 ISK / $25 USD, free for children under 16 // towel rental 500 ISK / $4 USD
I think Kerið is one of the most unique things I have seen in Iceland. It’s an old volcanic crater with crystal blue water! The best time to visit would be summer or fall to see the beautiful colors around the crater. (We recently stopped in the winter and it looks completely different.)
Location: Road 35 between the towns of Reykholt and Selfoss. Look for a sign on the left.
Price: 400 ISK / $3 USD
To use this map interactively, click the bracket in the top right corner of the map.
Question: Have you been to the Golden Circle? What was your favorite part?
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