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.
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.
|07:00- 08:00||We 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- 09:30||Drive to Þingvellir.|
|09:30- 12:00||Visit Þingvellir National Park where we hiked through the fissure, visited a waterfall on an 8 km long hike (6 miles).|
|12:00- 13:30||Drive to Reykjadalur Valley. On the way to Reykjadalur, we stopped in the supermarket Bónus in Hveragerði to buy lunch.|
|13:30- 17:00||We 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- 19:00||Drive to our hotel in Hveragerði and check in. Take a rest, a drink, and a shower.|
|19:00- 20:00||Find food. We went to Ölverk Pizza & Brewery but took pizzas as take-out because the place was full and we didn’t make reservations.|
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.
|07:00- 08:00||Breakfast in our room again. Our hotel was self-check-in and offered no breakfast. This is quite common in Iceland.|
|08:00- 09:00||Drive to Nesjavellir.|
|09:00- 10:30||Hike around the geothermal area Nesjavellir.|
|10:30- 11:30||Drive to Kerið Crater. On the way, we stopped at the Þingvallavatn to have an early lunch.|
|11:30- 12:15||Visit Kerið Crater. Walk around the crater and go to the lake at the bottom of the crater.|
|12:15- 13:00||Drive to Bruarfoss parking lot.|
|13:00- 15:00||Hike to the waterfalls Bruarfoss and Midfoss. The hiking trail is about 7 km (4.3 miles).|
|15:00- 15:50||Drive to our hotel, check-in and drink a coffee. We already wanted to check-in so we could drop off our luggage.|
|15:50- 16:00||Drive to Gullfoss.|
|16:00- 16:30||Visit the waterfall Gullfoss. Go to the lower and upper viewpoint.|
|16:30- 16:40||Drive to Haukadalur Valley|
|16:40- 18:00||Explore Haukadalur Valley to see the geysers Geysir & Strokkur and see the hot springs of the area.|
|18:00- 20:30||Shower, relax and have dinner at Litli Geysir Hotel.|
|20:30- 21:30||Have another visit to Haukadalur Valley to take better photos and a video of the eruption of the Strokkur geyser.|
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 👙.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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I found this very helpful with the maps and how much time to allow for each attraction.
Thanks a lot for your nice comment :). I’m happy to hear you found it useful!
Hi Steven. I am planning a tour of the golden Circle and have found your article very helpful. However, I wish to do this for 4 days, a road trip. So if i incorporate the main3 :
Gullfoss waterfall, the geysers Strokkur and Geysir, and Þingvellir National Park
and then i include the extended sites you have mentioned, will that allow me to stretch this to 4 days:Reykjadalur Valley Hot Springs, Kerio Crater and Bruarfoss Waterfall and Midfoss.
Any advice you can provide will be very helpful.
Hi Arafat, sorry for my late reply. Somehow I missed your comment. Indeed, if you extend the trip, it’s perfect for a 4 day road trip. We did it in 2 days, but it was really heavy and we had to rush a bit and one of the days we were out until 8 PM. So 4 days gives you more time to enjoy each of the sights.
We’d love to do this two-day tour by car. Do you recommend a hotel half way through the trip?
Hi Wayne, yes a hotel would be great. We stayed in Geysir when we did the Golden Circle.