3 Day Self Drive
The Golden Circle
- DAY 1 Hraunfossar and the historic area of Reykholt
- DAY 2 The Golden Circle of Iceland
- DAY 3 Geothermal Wonders of South Iceland
ABOUT THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
This convenient 3-day tour allows you to experience some of the most enchanting places in Iceland. The world-famous Golden Circle tour is a major bucket-list item for many travellers and for a good reason, too; Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the original Geysir are all special attractions in their own right.
Hraunfossar – The Lava Waterfalls – is a natural wonder just as special as the three locations that make up the Golden Circle, both in terms of geological importance as well as sheer beauty. Situated about 90 minutes drive apart, it’s easy to see why Hraunfossar waterfalls complement the Golden Circle so perfectly. We have a feeling you will agree.
You will also have a bit of choice during the last day regarding which attractions you want to see whilst driving back to Reykjavík. Have it your way and stop where you like. We have enclosed some top-notch recommendations in the following itinerary.
Seize the day and take this opportunity to create the perfect 3-day stay in Iceland. Check the availability by pressing “Choose a date.”
You can rearrange day’s, activities and routes as you like from scheduled itinerary.
Approx. km driven: From Reykjavik ca. 100km/60mi
Head for the National Route 1, the Ring Road, and set the course for Reykholt. Grab a bite if needed in Borgarnes, a nice little town you will drive through on your way, and then continue. Reykholt is one of Iceland’s most notable historical sites, famous for being the home of Iceland’s legendary medieval writer and scholar, Snorri Sturluson, author of some of the more important Sagas. Visit Snorrastofa, cultural center and institute for medieval studies, see Mr Sturluson’s own geothermal-heated pool – Iceland’s first hot tub, if you will – and stay for a beautiful music recital at Reykholt church. Snorrastofa also offers guided tours, lectures and historical exhibitions.
An approx. 25 minute drive gets you to Víðgelmir, Iceland’s largest cave at 148,000 cubic metres, making it one of the largest lava caves in the world. It features some beautiful ice formations and deep inside you will observe some impressive lava stalactites and stalagmites – mineral formations both from the floor and the ceiling of the cave, that is.
Bones and jewelry from Viking times are a part of the archeological remains found in the cave in 1993. It has been preserved ever since and entrance is only allowed with proper guidance. Guides can arrange short (1,5 hour) and long (4 hours) tours. All in all, Víðgelmir lava cave is considered by specialists to be one of the most remarkable caves on earth.
Driving back towards Reykholt you will visit the remarkable Hraunfossar. In a country that features waterfalls of all possible sizes and shapes, Hraunfossar nevertheless are a unique natural attraction – a phenomenon in its own right. A series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field, the stream that makes the actual waterfalls is a pristine underground river that only manifests itself as the waterfalls. Thus, Hraunfossar initially seem to flow forth from out of nowhere.
Close by is also Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring. It provides 180 l/sec of 100°C hot water!
The vicinity of Reykholt has some fantastic hiking options, just what you need to cap off the day and work up an appetite for dinner, before going to sleep at the lovely hotel at Reykholt.
Attractions on the way: Reykholt, Víðgelmir, Hraunfossar, Deildartunguhver
THE GOLDEN CIRCLE OF ICELAND
Approx. km driven: Reykholt – Geysir via Route 52 132 km/82 miles
Today, you will drive via National Route 52 towards Thingvellir, National Park and sacred ground to Icelanders due to both natural beauty and historical significance.
A UNESCO world heritage site since 2004, the “Parliament Fields” hold a very special place in the hearts of Icelanders as it was the site of the establishment of the world’s first democratic parliament on 930. Historical significance aside, the site is a geological wonder in its own right. It lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Diving enthusiasts might want to go snorkeling in Silfra, a deep fissure filled with water so pristine clear that even seasoned divers get a bout of vertigo once they’re in; the water is virtually invisible so you can actually see the bottom of the fissure way down below, as if you were floating in clear air.
Do you know why geysers are actually called geysers? Because the original Geysir hot spring in Iceland lent its name to pretty much all hot springs around the globe. True story. Cue your next stop – Geysir and surrounding geothermal area. Old Geysir is mostly dormant nowadays but his feisty neighbor Strokkur is still full of gumption and spouts an impressive jet of water every 5-10 minutes. Just make sure to take the wind into account as you otherwise risk to be doused with the water as it showers back down!
A 10-minute drive takes you to the breathtaking Gullfoss – The Golden Waterfall – easily Iceland’s most famous waterfall. At 32 meters, it’s nowhere nearly the tallest, or the most powerful, but it’s river, Hvítá, plunges in two distinct stages to give it a truly unique appearance. Should the sun shine during your visit, you may certainly expect to see rainbows glow in the rising mist from the cascade.
Finish the day off by awaiting the dusk and the ensuing display of Northern lights.
After a day of incomparable adventure, check in at hotel, a 45 minute drive from Gullfoss.
Attractions on the way: Thingvellir, Silfra, Geysir, Gullfoss
GEOTHERMAL WONDERS OF SOUTH ICELAND
Approx. km driven: To Reykjavik 80 km/50 miles
As you make your way back to Reykjavík, you have an abundance of options to enjoy, the choice depending on how early you have to be in the city. Here are some recommendations for you to pick from, whilst driving towards the capital. As the area is rich in geothermal power, the attractions tend to revolve in some way about just that – clean and renewable energy that stems from the abundance of hot water in the ground.
In the Biskupstungur area, various vegetables are grown in greenhouses completely heated with clean, sustainable geothermal energy. Dip into the Secret Lagoon in Flúðir and afterwards enjoy the walking path built for guests so they can have a closer look at the boiling, spouting hot springs surrounding the lagoon. For a super-healthy bite and to grab a little something for the road, stop at Friðheimar Greenhouse and café, all powered with 100% clean and renewable geothermal energy.
Selfoss is a cozy town featuring a lovely swimming pool complete with water slides and jacuzzis. In the outskirts of town, craft beer aficionados may want to take a break at the Ölvisholt brewery, one of Iceland’s first ever craft breweries, for a guided tour and beer tasting. That excludes the driver, sadly enough.
You can also drop by in Hveragerði, a small town more or less built on geothermal power, featuring several hot springs and even a geothermal park. Stock up on locally grown flowers and vegetables. To wash off that road dust and renew the spirit, we recommend a stop in Laugaskarð swimming pool, near Hveragerði. If you feel like swimming a couple of laps the pool is 50 meters long and 12 meters wide, making it perfect for some serious swimming. Worth noting is that the pool is a so-called flow-through pool, heated with geothermal steam which insures natural acid levels and purity of the water are are at optimal levels. The pool has a hot and shallow sitting pool as well as a hot-tub with electronic massage. Don’t forget the natural sauna for some sensational soothing. The Laugaskarð swimming pool has a beautiful environment that also provides naturally good shelter. Lifeguards are on duty at all times as in all municipal pools in Iceland. Finally, head back to base in Reykjavík to check out of the hotel.
Attractions on the way: Friðheimar, Secret Lagoon, Selfoss, Hveragerði
- Standard Entrance Ticket to the Blue Lagoon
- Detailed Travel Plan with a map of the area and information package
- Access to Go Personal Travel Assistant, GPTA – Go Icelandic Travel Service
Accommodation and Breakfast Buffet
Car rental – Car of Choice (4X4 in winter)
- Fuel Discount Card
- Studded Winter Tires
- Unlimited Mileage
- SCDW insurance – Additional Insurance available upon request
- Optional to add a hotspot WIFI to your vehicle GPS Navigation System
- Available: April – September
- Total Duration of the Tour: 3 days
- Easy and Relaxed
PLACES YOU WILL SEE
- Secret Lagoon
- Hot springs
- Big waterfalls
- Blue Lagoon
CAR PICKUP INFORMATION
- Keflavík Airport 24/7 service – Very important to choose a correct pick-up time and flight number
- Car rental shuttle bus outside the arrival terminal will shuttle you to the car rental company, it’s only 2-3 min away
- Pick up options at Keflavik Airport, address in Keflavík and greater Reykjavik area
- Pick up and drop off fee may apply for delivery in Reykjavik
- Starting time is Flexible
CAR RENTAL RETURN
- Keflavik Airport – 24/7 service
- Reykjavik by request – Drop off fee may apply
WHAT TO BRING AND DON’T FORGET
- Warm Clothes and walking boots for all weathers – Wool and Cotton is essential and dress in layers – even in summertime
- Mobile Phone, Camera, and Batteries
- Valid Driver’s license with photo ID and Passport
- Swimsuit and towels
GOOD FOR YOU TO KNOW
- Monitor weather forecasts well before the trip starts – even in summertime
- Check road conditions on www.road.is in advance
- Give someone (hotel staff) your travel plans (look for info about SAR app in you Travel Package)
- Download many great mobile Apps to use throughout your journey – Information Included in Travel Package
EMERGENCY NUMBERS FOR ACCIDENTS
- The official number for emergencies: 112
IMPORTANT: ICELANDIC WEATHER – ROADS – SPEED LIMITS
Weather in Iceland is notoriously unpredictable, hence the local saying: if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes! This holds true for all seasons so regardless of the time of your visit, prepare well before start driving and make sure you are able to find your way back home safely. Never hesitate to ask the locals for advice when needed. They know how to deal with difficult situations and are a friendly bunch to boot.
It is of imperative importance to keep in mind that Icelandic roads are quite narrow. You are not driving on anything like US freeways or European autobahns. Due to constantly changing weather conditions, roads can be slippery in summers and icy in the winter or just might be loose gravel alongside the asphalt and single-lane bridges can be particularly treacherous. You might find the tarmac cut off, continuing with a gravel road which commands special precaution. Drivers need to be alert at all times, adhere to speed limits and take care whenever traveling on Icelandic roads. There is also good reason to warn drivers about the animals. Icelandic sheep can roam the open countryside and on the roads during the summer season. They can be quite unpredictable and drivers are advised to keep a watchful eye on them along with other animals as well.
Remember to take your own, sweet time; if you don’t, you’re bound to pass something and miss out. Now that you’re finally in Iceland, you wouldn’t want that, would you?
GO ICELANDIC – ACCOMMODATION
See our sample of our accommodation options below. Single person bookings will be in a single room and bookings of 2 or more people will be booked in twin/double room(s) (or triple rooms). Please let us know if you have special requests and we do our utmost to make your stay enjoyable. Please note, any changes to the original plan may incur additional costs to the booking.
All rooms are with a private bathroom at three-star hotels or similar to quality guesthouses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
This category features rooms at a design hotel in the city center with a private bathroom at the absolute best locations downtown or seaside locations such as the Fosshótel Reykjavík. Breakfast is included.
For those who are in for the very best and prefer to stay at high-end luxury accommodation, please email us to firstname.lastname@example.org directly after booking. We will suggest a specially customized upgrade for your stay. Please note that special requests are subject to additional cost.
GO ICELANDIC EXCLUSIVE – VEHICLES
Go Icelandic offer just the right selection of vehicles to suit your wishes. Just book the one that fits your needs and travel plans. Our rental partners offer only highest quality vehicles and service to our guests and customers with care.
Our self-drive packages include only newest models of cars in each category or maximum two years old. Most of the fleet is equipped with a GPS for your safety and comfort. Please see the categories of available vehicles and select the car you need for a magical vacation in Iceland. Based on weather conditions we do recommend a comfortable 4X4 as a minimal standard for winter traveling due to a high probability of snow, and subsequently the possibility of icy and challenging road conditions.
Budget Option – 5 Persons Max
The great 2WD vehicle for your comfort. Great for regular road conditions and traveling enjoyment. We offer a selection of cars like KIA, VW, and Toyota or similar in all our tours. Note that 2WD vehicles are not suitable for F-roads.
Comfort 4X4 Option – 5 Persons Max
A medium sized SUV with 4 Wheel Drive (4×4), fit for most travel, and capable of snow and off-asphalt travel, such as Toyota, KIA or similar. This vehicle has basic highland capabilities.
Luxury 4×4 Option – 5 Persons Max
A large sized SUV with 4 Wheel Drive (4×4) such as Toyota Land Cruiser 150 or similar, capable of nearly all traveling routes. This vehicle has full highland capabilities to drive on accessible mountain roads.