Golden Circle Iceland in 2 Days – Self Drive Tour & Map

Map with route and stops on the Golden Circle of Iceland
Map with route and stops on the Golden Circle of Iceland

The Golden Circle in Iceland normally takes you from Reykjavik to 3 highlights: the waterfall Gullfoss, Þingvellir National Park, and Geysir in the Haukadalur geyser basin. In this itinerary, we want to introduce you to the other highlights along the Golden Circle of Iceland. These highlights will allow you to extend your drive along the Golden Circle in Iceland to 2 days or 3 days.

Map with route and stops on the Golden Circle of Iceland for a 2 days itinerary
Map with route and stops on the Golden Circle of Iceland

If you’re interested in just the highlights of the Golden Circle, or if you’re short on time, check our 1-day itinerary along the Golden Circle.

Check our guide: The Golden Circle in Iceland in 1 day

2-Day Itinerary for Extended Visit to the Golden Circle

Our itinerary below will take you to all the main stops on the Golden Circle of Iceland. But next to that, we also added some other stops we admired during our travels to Iceland. Details on those stops can be found further down in this article.

This tour around the Golden Circle of Iceland took us 2 days to complete. But the days were quite full, so if you want to take more time, you can take 3 days. In the tables below we’ll give you the details on what we did on each day. If you have any questions, please drop us a comment so we can get back to you. If you used our itinerary, we’d love to hear from you!

Day 1: Þingvellir and Reykjadalur Valley

We did the Golden Circle of Iceland at the beginning of our road trip along the ring road of Iceland. After we arrived in Iceland, we stayed at Reykjanesbær, close to the airport. We start our itinerary from there, but you can also start from Reykjavik.

TimeActivity
07:00- 08:00We had breakfast in our room. The place we stayed didn’t offer breakfast, so we bought our own in the supermarket the evening before, so we wouldn’t lose too much time in the morning.
08:00- 09:30Drive to Þingvellir.
09:30- 12:00Visit Þingvellir National Park where we hiked through the fissure, visited a waterfall on an 8 km long hike (6 miles).
12:00- 13:30Drive to Reykjadalur Valley. On the way to Reykjadalur, we stopped in the supermarket Bónus in Hveragerði to buy lunch.
13:30- 17:00We hiked to Reykjadalur Valley and saw mud pots, a waterfall… We bathed in the thermal river at the end of the hiking trail.
17:00- 19:00Drive to our hotel in Hveragerði and check in. Take a rest, a drink, and a shower.
19:00- 20:00Find food. We went to Ölverk Pizza & Brewery but took pizzas as take-out because the place was full and we didn’t make reservations.
Itinerary of our first day at the Golden Circle in Iceland

Day 2: Nesjavellir, Kerið, Bruarfoss, Gullfoss, and Geysir

On our second day along the Golden Circle in Iceland, we did quite a lot of stops. It was a wonderful day, but to be fair: this day was quite heavy. At the end of the day, we were really tired and our feet were sore. If you want to be more at ease, you can leave out the hike at Nesjavellir or take 2 days to complete this itinerary.

TimeActivity
07:00- 08:00Breakfast in our room again. Our hotel was self-check-in and offered no breakfast. This is quite common in Iceland.
08:00- 09:00Drive to Nesjavellir.
09:00- 10:30Hike around the geothermal area Nesjavellir.
10:30- 11:30Drive to Kerið Crater. On the way, we stopped at the Þingvallavatn to have an early lunch.
11:30- 12:15Visit Kerið Crater. Walk around the crater and go to the lake at the bottom of the crater.
12:15- 13:00Drive to Bruarfoss parking lot.
13:00- 15:00Hike to the waterfalls Bruarfoss and Midfoss. The hiking trail is about 7 km (4.3 miles).
15:00- 15:50Drive to our hotel, check-in and drink a coffee. We already wanted to check-in so we could drop off our luggage.
15:50- 16:00Drive to Gullfoss.
16:00- 16:30Visit the waterfall Gullfoss. Go to the lower and upper viewpoint.
16:30- 16:40Drive to Haukadalur Valley
16:40- 18:00Explore Haukadalur Valley to see the geysers Geysir & Strokkur and see the hot springs of the area.
18:00- 20:30Shower, relax and have dinner at Litli Geysir Hotel.
20:30- 21:30Have another visit to Haukadalur Valley to take better photos and a video of the eruption of the Strokkur geyser.
Itinerary of our second day visiting the Golden Circle in Iceland

Main Stops on the Golden Circle in Iceland

There are 3 main stops that everyone is doing, along the Golden Circle in Iceland. Those 3 are the Gullfoss waterfall, the geysers Strokkur and Geysir, and Þingvellir National Park. Those stops are discussed in detail in our article about the Golden Circle. So check that article for details.

Avoiding the Crowd with Other Sights

In this post, we’ll focus on the other stops along the Golden Circle. These are less popular with tourists, but still worthy of your time. If you want to take a break from the crowded Reykjavik or one of the main 3 stops, you can take a visit to one of those less-visited stops.

Reykjadalur Valley Hot Springs

Reykjadalur Valley means valley of steam. And that’s no lie. You start from the parking lot walking uphill. On the way up you’ll cross steam vents, geothermal pools, and mud pots. But that’s not all! After about an hour of hiking you’ll reach a thermal river where you can bathe, so don’t forget your swimming clothes 👙.

Steven and Elke bathing in the Reykjadalur geothermal river
Me and my wife bathing in the Reykjadalur geothermal river

Discover the Reykjadalur Valley and the thermal river in our article on Reykjadalur Valley. We’ll explain where to park, how to hike to the river, point you to a hidden waterfall at the end of the valley and give you tips.

Itinerary, parking, hiking and where to bathe: Reykjadalur Valley Itinerary

Kerið Crater

The crater Kerið is a volcanic crater located next to the Golden Circle of Iceland. At the bottom of the crater, there is a volcanic lake. You can hike around both the crater and the lake, making this an ideal quick stop on your trip.

Kerið Crater lake from the trail
Kerið Crater lake from the trail

There is a small entrance fee if you want to visit Kerið Crater, but parking is free. There are no restrooms though, so keep this in mind. If you’re interested to learn more, check our article on Kerið crater.

Entrance, hiking and visiting details: Guide to visiting Kerið Crater lake

Bruarfoss Waterfall and Midfoss

Bruarfoss and Midfoss are two waterfalls that are located close to the Golden Circle. The parking lot to start the trail is on the road directly next to the Golden Circle, but the location of the waterfalls is more remote. To reach the waterfalls, you’ll have to hike for about 1 hour (1-way).

Elke at Bruarfoss waterfall in Iceland
Elke at Bruarfoss waterfall in Iceland

The hiking trail is worth it though. On this trail, you’ll see two beautiful waterfalls that aren’t visited a lot. If you plan a visit or want to learn more, check our article on Bruarfoss and Midfoss waterfalls.

Full details in our article: Waterfalls Bruarfoss and Midfoss

Nesjavellir Geothermal Area

Nesjavellir is a geothermal area in the south of Iceland. The area is known because of the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant, the second biggest geothermal power plant in Iceland. But the area is also a great destination for hiking.

Nesjavellir geothermal area in Iceland
Nesjavellir geothermal area in Iceland

On the hiking trail we did in Nesjavellir, we experienced a variety of different landscapes. You’ll see all colors of rocks and earth, mosses and plants and steam coming out of the ground. Check out the itinerary of our hike in our article on Nesjavellir.

Golden Circle Iceland Map & Route

On our map below you can find the route and all the stops along the Golden Circle mentioned in the article above. You can use this map as a base for your travel plans to the Golden Circle of Iceland.

Save Golden Circle Iceland in 2 Days for Later

Like our post on visiting the Golden Circle of Iceland in 2 days? Save it to Pinterest for later. Or share it on social media.

Golden Circle in Iceland poster with map of our 2 days itinerary
Golden Circle in Iceland Poster

By Steven

Hi there 👋! My name is Steven. I write for our travel blog and focus on the technicalities behind the blog (hosting, SEO…). My focus is to provide useful information I found lacking when preparing our own travels. That’s why I love making maps to enhance the articles. I hope you find what you seek on our website. And if there is something I can help with, make sure to reach out 🙂!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *