The Golden Circle & Blue Lagoon | Day Tour of the Famous Sites
Discover the pure power of Mother Earth as you explore areas of untouched nature, tectonic shift and geothermal activity in this tour of Iceland’s most popular attractions. This tour is essential for the country's visitors as it includes Iceland’s best-known natural phenomena; Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall, Þingvellir national park and the world famous Blue Lagoon.
The geothermal area of Haukadalur valley is the home of the Geysir hot spring. Although Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, the area features other spectacular hot springs, such as Strokkur. Bring a camera because Strokkur hot spring spouts columns of water 15-20 metres up in the air every 10 minutes or so, giving you numerous opportunities to take great photos.
Geysir area is one part of the Golden Circle, a trio of scenic areas in southern Iceland which include Gullfoss waterfall and Þingvellir national park. On your tour of the south, you will also visit a volcanic crater called Kerið.
The second part of the Golden Circle is the incredible waterfall, Gullfoss. The waterfall is located in the canyon of the river Hvítá which runs from the glacier Langjökull. Gullfoss waterfall is breathtakingly beautiful as it cascades in two steps down into a 32-metre crevice. If the conditions allow, you'll be able to stand close enough to feel the water spraying gently on your face.
Þingvellir national park is not only an incredibly beautiful area, it is also historically significant and geographically unique. The national park is where the Vikings founded Iceland’s parliament, Alþingi, in the year 930, the oldest still working parliament in the world. Þingvellir is also a place where the continental drift between two tectonic plates is happening. You can clearly see evidence of this in the cracks and gorges in the region.
Last on your tour before you head your way west again is Kerið, a volcanic crater with a lake in the middle. At approximately 6500 years old, Kerið is more than 55 metres deep, 170 metres wide and 270 metres across. Kerið is comprised of red volcanic rocks, green moss grows on its sides, and the lake in the middle is filled with minerals which give the water vivid aquamarine colour, this offers a great contrast of colours and a highly impressive scenery.
You will end the day at the Blue Lagoon, arriving there before 17:00 for a relaxing time in the amazing hot geothermal waters. You will spend 2 hours in total at the Blue Lagoon before heading back to Reykjavík. Tickets to the Lagoon must be purchased beforehand at your own expense at the Blue Lagoon website.
Bring a camera, pack your swimsuit and don’t miss out on seeing the pearls of Iceland on this day tour of the most famous sites. Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: All year
- Duration: 11 hours
- Activities: Sightseeing
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 5 years.
- Languages: English
- Highlights: Blue Lagoon,
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and is the single most popular attraction in Iceland.
The water is rich in silica and sulphur that helps make your skin shine like a baby. The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility that helps find cures for skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
The temperature in the bathing and swimming area is very comfortable, and averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). There´s a restaurant there and it´s a truly romantic and beautiful place one should not miss while in Iceland.Golden Circle,
The Golden Circle is a 300 km route to the 3 most popular natural attractions in Iceland. The Golden Circle consists of Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir.
See this for Golden circle tours.
Geysir is a geyser that gives its name to hot springs all over the world. But although Geysir itself is not active anymore the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur (spouting a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, regularly about 15-20 meters into the air), Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
The 'Golden Waterfall', is the second part of the Golden Circle, and one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Iceland, plummeting 32 meters into the river gorge of the popular rafting river Hvita. It is Iocated about 10 km from Geysir.
Thingvellir national park
The largest attraction of the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park. The Icelandic parliament was founded there in 930 and remained until the year 1798.
Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important places to visit in Iceland, not just for its historical and cultural values, but for also its magnificent landscape.
Thingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain and volcano range and is the site of a rift valley, where the tectonic plates meet, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Of particular note at Thingvellir are the magnificent Almannagja gorge, and the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. The popular Gjabakkahellir lava cave is also in the area.
The fissure Silfra is located by Thingvallavatn, Iceland's largest lake, and is famous for its clear waters and popular for diving and snorkeling, as you can literally swim between continents.Geysir,
Geysir is a famous hot spring in Haukadalur valley in South Iceland. Part of the ‘Golden Circle', Geysir gives its name to hot springs all over the world.
Though Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur, which spouts a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, around 15-20 meters into the air, Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
North of Geysir are fumaroles, i.e. unlike the hot springs that emit hot water, only steam and gas emanate from these. You may be able to observe bright yellow stains at the fumaroles, this is native sulphur, which crystallizes from the steam. At the southern part of the geothermal area, called Thykkuhverir, you‘ll find various mud pots. Such mud pots are actually fumaroles that boil up through surface water/groundwater and may become steaming fumaroles during dry spells, rather than the usual boiling mud pots.
About 2 km from Geysir is an old preserved natural pool called Kúalaug. One can bathe in it and it has room for 3-5 people at a time, but care should be taken, as the area around the pool is very delicate. The temperature is 39-43°C, depending on how you are positioned in the pool. The water is slightly muddy, as the pool is built on soil, and the bottom is slippery due to algae, so caution is advised.
In Haukadalur there has also been tree planting in recent times and today the forest Haukadalsskógur is one of the largest in South Iceland. Aspen, various types of pine, and other plants have been tried out there and experiments and research continue. We also recommend visiting the tree museum, built in the memory of forester Gunnar Freysteinsson. There are good paths and roads in the forest and the wood is specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Haukadalur has been a church site since ancient time. The current wooden church was last rebuilt in 1938 but the variety and appearance of the church dates back to 1842, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Iceland.
Haukadalur is indeed a historical place. It was settled during the age of settlement and scholar Ari “The Wise“ Thorgilsson grew up there. The first pastoral school in Iceland was also built there.
For accommodation, Hotel Gullfoss is about 7 km from the Geysir area, and closer still is the Hotel Geysir.Gullfoss,
Gullfoss (translated to ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls, found on the Hvítá river canyon in south Iceland. The water in Hvítá river travels from the glacier Langjökull, finally cascading 32m down Gullfoss’ two stages in a dramatic display of nature’s raw power.
Because of the waterfall’s two stages, Gullfoss should actually be thought of as two separate waterfalls. The first, shorter stage of the waterfall is 11m, whilst the second stage is 21m. The canyon walls on both sides of the waterfall reach heights of up to 70m, descending into the 2.5km long Gullfossgjúfur canyon (geologists indicate that this canyon was formed by glacial outbursts at the beginning of the last age.)
In the summer, approximately 140 cubic metres of water surges down the waterfall every second, whilst in winter that number drops to around 109 cubic metres. With such energy, visitor’s should not be surprised to find themselves drenched by the waterfall’s mighty spray-off.
In the early days of the last century, Gullfoss was at the centre of much controversy regarding foreign investors and their desire to profit off Iceland’s nature. In the year 1907, an English businessman known only as Howells sought to utilise the waterfall’s energy and harboured ambitions to use its energy to fuel a hydroelectric plant.
At the time, Gullfoss was owned by a farmer named Tómas Tómasson. Tómas declined Howell’s offer to purchase the land, stating famously “I will not sell my friend!” He would, however, go on to lease Howells the land, inadvertently beginning the first chapter of Icelandic environmentalism.
It was Tómas’ daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who would lead the charge. Having grown up on her father’s sheep farm, she sought to get the lease contract nullified, hurriedly saving her own money to hire a lawyer. The ensuing legal battle was an uphill struggle; the case continued for years, forcing Sigríður to travel many times by foot to Reykjavík if only to keep the trial moving. Circumstances became so difficult that Sigríður threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if any construction began.
Thankfully, in 1929, the waterfall fell back into the hands of the Icelandic people. Today, Sigríður is recognised for her perseverance in protecting Gullfoss and is often hailed as Iceland’s first environmentalist. Her contribution is forever marked in stone; a plaque detailing her plight sits at the top of Gullfoss.
Restaurant / Cafe
Besides Gullfoss, visitors can enjoy the views from Gullfoss Cafe, a locally run delicatessen that serves a wide variety of refreshments and meals. The menu has options to tantalise everyone’s taste buds; hot soups, sandwiches, salads and cakes. There is also a shop on site where visitors’ can browse and purchase traditional Icelandic souvenirs.Þingvellir,
Þingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Þingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries. Þingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. Today it is a natural park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and considered a vital part of the ‘Golden triangle’ (with Geysir and Gullfoss). Of particular note is the magnificent gorge Almannagjá, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Öxarárfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, Þingvallakirkja Church and Gjábakkahellir, one of Iceland's most interesting lava tubes.Hveragerði,
Hveragerði is a town and municipality in the southwest of Iceland, around 45 km from the capital Reykjavik. Around 2300 people live in Hveragerði. The river Varmá runs through it. The town is well known for its greenhouses and strong geothermal activity, in particular the nearby Reykjadalur valley.
In the scenic Reykjadalur ('Steam Valley') you have the hot water stream falling down the slopes of the valley. The mountain range is ideal for relaxing and the valley offers a rich variety of hot pools and geothermal springs. It is also possible to have a dip in the river.
There are nice botanical areas and parks in the town, many recreational activities are available, excellent hiking trails as well as nice hotels and a camping ground. A number of museums can be found, such as the Árnesingar art museum. The town hosts an annual culture and family festival in August.Kerið
Kerið is a volcanic crater lake in Grímsnes in south Iceland. It is a popular stop when traveling the Golden Circle.
It is believed that Kerið was originally a cone volcano that erupted and and emptied its magma reserve. Once the magma was depleted, the weight of the cone collapsed into an empty magma chamber, later to be filled with water.
The Kerið caldera is composed of red volcanic rock and is around 55 m deep, 170 m wide and 270 m across. There is little vegetation in the steep-walled crater, save for one wall with a gentler slope which is covered with deep moss. This wall is fairly easy to descend.
The lake itself is fairly shallow and is striking in its beauty. Opaque and aquamarine, surrounded by the red crater walls, Kerið offers a great contrast of colours and a highly impressive scenery.
The acoustics of the crater are considered to be fairly good, and a number of concerts have been held inside Kerið. There is a small admission fee to visit Kerið, 400 ISK per person (as of 2017).
Pickup time : 08:30
Professional tour guide in English
Entrance to the Kerið Crater
Entrance to the Blue lagoon
What to bring:
good hiking shoes
Good to know:
You will need to reserve the Blue Lagoon in advance on the Blue Lagoon website.
If tickets to the Blue Lagoon are not available on their website, please let your tour provider know as soon as possible, no later than 48 hours before your tour departure, as they can in many cases supply standard tickets to the Blue Lagoon.