The Golden Circle And 5 Million Star Hotel
Collect your rental car and head out to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. Here you can walk between the Euroasian and North American tectonic plates, view the first Parliament, and gaze at the tranquil lake Silfra and picturesque lava fields.
Next on the Golden Circle route is Gullfoss waterfall. Be sure to pack some dry clothes because the force from this waterfall makes the surrounding air very wet. After the waterfall, drive a few minutes to the next stop, Geysir geothermal area where you can see the spouting Strokkur geyser erupt every 7 to 9 minutes.
Add on a dip in the Secret Lagoon before enjoying dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. A good relaxing end before the unique sleeping experience in a bubble.
Why Is It Called The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle gets its name from Gullfoss, one of the major waterfalls on the route. Gullfoss means Golden Falls in Icelandic. The circle part of the name is simply down to the route that you follow being roughly circular.
The name is also a clever bit of marketing as it sounds pretty cool. In the north of Iceland you can also find the Diamond Circle, another circular driving route which visits a number of popular attractions.
Where To Stay In The West Fjords Of Iceland
Isafjordur is the main town in the West fjords where you will find most accommodations – check accommodations in the regionHowever the region is vast and driving around takes a lot of time, so you may not want to drive back to Isafjordur every day. You can find other accommodations spread around the region.
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Where To Stay In Keflavik
If you arrive late in the everning or leave on an early flight, there is a large choice of accommodations very close to the airportConsidering I had an early flight I stayed at the Nupan Deux Keflavik for a short commute to the airport – see photos and availability
For options, check out the Best Rated accommodations in Keflavik across all budgets
Campervan Rental Or Car
This is the big question, and it all depends on your budget, the duration of your trip, and how confident a driver you are!
Many people choose to hire a campervan for their Iceland road trip for a variety of reasons.
This includes saving money on accommodation, more flexibility, and the opportunity to camp in beautiful locations.
Now if youâre not bothered about space and donât mind slumming it, you can legally sleep in your car.
However, you can only do this on a campsite, as youâre not allowed to wild camp in Iceland.
You can actually drive the full Golden Circle in just one day, so if youâre planning to do that – hiring a car is all you need.
However, Iâd recommend spending at least a couple of days in this beautiful country.
Now, of course, there are pros and cons to both!
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Golden Circle Iceland: All The Landmarks You Need To See
When you visit Iceland, its possible to simply run out of time: so much beauty, splendour, and activity and so little time. The worst thing about your trip to Iceland? It ends too soon.
Fortunately, Europes most sparsely populated nation contains a few of its most iconic sites clustered together closely enough to visit in one sweeping day tour.
The route that spans these sites is known as the Golden Circle. And its a must-see excursion for any visitor to Iceland.
Travel the Golden Circle route to behold incredible open spaces and stunning geology. The three major stops for Golden Circle tours are Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Haukadalur Geothermal Area.
Within and around each of these primary sites, theres a multitude of individual landmarks and activities to explore. Whether youre a nature lover, geology enthusiast, or simply in pursuit of the perfect travel photo, the Golden Circle is sure to please.
Planning the trip of a lifetime to Iceland? Be sure to include the Golden Circle in your itinerary. Here are the basic facts on the Golden Circle routes top points of interest.
The Icelandic Saga Centre
The Icelandic Saga Centre is another interesting Golden Circle attraction. If you can, participate in the embroidery of a tapestry, the Njáls Saga, that should be finished in 3 years.
Visitors are shown how to recreate the Bayeux stitch that was used in the Viking age. Once finished it will be approximately 90 metres long.
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Where To Stay In East Iceland Egilsstair
East Iceland is often overlooked by tourists, being so far from the capital of Reykjavik. But it has a lot to offer. The picturesque fishing villages which line the rugged landscape are dotted with waterfalls and glaciers, making the area perfect for hiking.
The main city people base themselves in East Iceland is called Egilsstaðir, one of Icelands youngest towns. It was built on the banks of the Lagarfljot River in a wide valley. It has good access to the Eastern Fjords too.
East Iceland is also rich in legends about the elves and other mythical creatures which were believed to populate the area. Its a good place for wildlife spotting, including herds of wild reindeer, arctic foxes, and puffins.
Here are my suggestions for the top hotels, hostels, and campgrounds near Egilsstaðir and the East Fjords depending on your budget.
Where Should You Stay
As noted before, you can do the whole Golden Circle in one day. Most journeys start and end in Reykjavik, where you can find hotels and guest houses to suit all budgets. With so many options to choose from, the only trick will be finding the right place to launch each day of your stay in Iceland.
At Nordic Visitor, well sort all the lodgings for you. So, you dont have to worry about researching and planning your route. Weve carefully vetted and tested all of our chosen hotels and guest houses, which means youll always have a comfortable stay at competitive rates.
As a local travel agency, we have special relationships with our accommodation providers and tour organisers. So we will craft a personalised itinerary that provides a seamless getaway, with each day’s activities and accommodation organised for you. We do all the heavy lifting so you can just enjoy dreaming of your Iceland trip.
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Cheap Hostels Around Hfn
Höfn Hostel Living close to the harbor, with exceptional views of Vatnajökull Glacier, is one of the highlights of a stay at this hostel. Shared facilities include a television lounge and a bathroom. Hiking should top your list of adventures, and you could also play golf about 3km from the hostel. Parking is available, without prior reservation, and its free.
Lilja Guesthouse This friendly guesthouse offers spacious rooms with a warm floor and private bathrooms. The quiet rooms are equipped with a coffee machine and free WiFi. The nearby mountains provide a great view for the guests, who can enjoy their coffee in the shared lounge.
Selfoss And Hverageri Where To Stay In Iceland In The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is a tour route of popular natural attractions just outside of Reykjavik. Spots usually include Thingvellir National Park, The Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and sometimes the Kerid Crater.
Its a great idea for a day trip. But for travelers touring the Golden Circle and want to stay in the area to spend more time at each location, Selfoss and Hveragerði are good locations for an overnight stop. Or theyre perfect if you want an extended stay to explore the southern area of Iceland.
These small towns, just 40-50 km from Reykjavik, offer plenty of overnight options. Most are usually less expensive than Reykjavik and have a good assortment of dining options as well.
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The East Coast Is Where To Stay In Iceland For Quiet Exploration
Icelands East Coast is perhaps the most underrated region of Iceland. Though not as heavily trafficked by tourists as the popular South Coast, it has its own stunning collection of natural wonders.
Though its farther from Reykjavik and therefore not always as easy for tourists to reach, the East Coast is definitely worth the stop. The beauty of its distance from the capital city is that you escape the crazy tourist hustle and bustle that comes with the major tourist attractions in other parts of the country.
If youre looking for quieter but uniquely stunning views, this part of Iceland might just be the place for you.
The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and its glittering Diamond Beach across the street, are located on the easternmost side of Icelands South Coast and can easily be included in either a South Coast or East Coast road trip.
Also towards the east of Icelands South Coast is the Skaftafell wilderness area and the fascinating Svartifoss waterfall with its organ pipe-like basalt columns.
As you continue east, youll hit the majestic mountains of Vestrahorn, the Borgarfjördur region great for avid hikers, and Mjoifjordur, the fjord that might just bring you to tears with its stunning views.
Youre sure to be inspired when visiting this welcoming little town. So if youre looking for where to stay in Iceland while searching for tranquility among the fjords of the east, weve laid out a few hotel options below to make your planning process easier.
Get Off The Beaten Path
Beyond the three main attractions, you can also visit other points of interest along the Golden Circle, such as:
- Kerid volcanic crater
It’s always a joy to explore new corners of Thingvellir National Park. No matter how many times you visit, it’s possible to see something new.
Autumn is a favorite season to explore the park when the low shrubs covering the area turn multi-colored. The ground’s red, yellow, and green colors contrast nicely with a fresh snow layer.
Tours will give you ample time at each location to see the main sights, but with your own car, you can choose to go for a short hike within the national park or perhaps bring a picnic and settle down in some mossy clearing with a view over the lake.
Most people go to the same paths in only one section of the park, next to the information center. But the park is much larger and encompasses the entire lake of Thingvellir, which would take about an hour to drive around, or a one- to two-day hike .
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Things To Do In The Golden Circle Iceland
Before heading to the Golden Circle, most travellers will land in Reykjavik, where theres a lot to see and do. The Golden Circle is a great circuit of some of Icelands top attractions, spread over 300 kilometres. Along the way you might be lucky to spot a double rainbow as we did.
There are also many Icelandic horses, one of the oldest breeds of horses in the world.
Can You Drive It In One Day How Many Miles Is It
The whole Golden Circle route can easily be done in one day, as the classic journey covers around 230 kilometres . You can actually drive the route in just over 3 hours. But, of course, you need to factor in time to enjoy the attractions, take photos and stay fuelled as well.
Many guided coach tours will take the best part of a 9-to-5 day to visit most stops on the route. But if youre going self-guided, then you can choose exactly how long you want to stay at each attraction. And you can even start early or finish later for quieter sightseeing.
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Iceblue Lodge B& b Selfoss
Located on the edge of the 5000 year old Grímsneshraun lava field, Iceblue Lodge B& B is a family run bed and breakfast on the property where the family lives. It has seven rooms: three which share a bathroom and four rooms with their own private bathroom and deck. Theres also a hot tub and a sauna for guests to use, as well as natural hot springs located nearby.
Iceblue Lodge B& B is close to the sites of the Golden Circle like Gullfoss and Geysir, making it a great choice for exploring some of Icelands most popular attractions. There is absolutely no light pollution, so your deck or right from the jacuzzi are excellent spots to watch for the Northern Lights.
The B& B does not have a restaurant, but its located just a 20 minute drive from Selfoss, which is the biggest city in South Iceland and has a number of restaurant options. Reykholt is also just a 20 minute drive and we recommend Restaurant Mika. Family-run, the restaurant offers a selection of Icelandic dishes and sources from local farms. Try the deep fried coconut panko crusted Icelandic langoustines, lobster soup or the lamb.
Iceblue Lodge does offer super jeep tours, including a Golden Circle and a Northern Lights tour. They also offer packages that include airport pick-up, two nights with breakfast and two super jeep tours. Note the Iceblue Lodge does close for the winter season from October.
Best Places To Stay On Icelands South Coast
The South Coast is one of the most spectacularly beautiful parts of Iceland. Theres countless waterfalls pouring over towering cliffs as you travel along Route 1, or Icelands Ring Road. The basalt lava stacks and black sand beaches make for the perfect backdrop for photos. The DC3 plane crash on a remote black sand beach is an almost eerie sight that seems like something straight out of a movie. And no trip to Iceland is complete without visiting Jökulsárlón, the glacier lagoon full of blue icebergs.
While ambitious travelers to Iceland often make day trips from Reykjavik all the way to Jökulsárlón and back in a day , it does take about 5 hours to drive each way without factoring in the countless stops youll want to make. You can more easily day trip the South Coast from Reykjavik during the summer when Iceland experiences long days and the Midnight Sun. If youre traveling in winter, its not even possible to make the drive one way as days are short with as little as 5 hours of daylight in December and January.
Iceland South Coast Attractions You Shouldnt Miss
Theres just so many sights on Icelands South Coast that its really best to stay somewhere along Route 1. Breaking up your trip with at least a 1-night stay affords you the luxury to take your time exploring this beautiful stretch of Icelandic coast.
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Stop : Secret Lagoon Iceland
The Secret Lagoon is Iceland’s oldest natural swimming pool! Known locally as âGamla Lauginâ, this impressive place has been around since 1891.
Itâs located in the geothermal area of HverahÃ³lmi, right next to FlÃºÃ°ir village, and is a must-visit whilst driving the Golden Circle.
The nearby hot springs provide 100% of the water supply here, so the water flows continuously.
Not only is the water clean and rich in sulfur, but it also stays at 38-40Â°C all year round.
So, it doesnât matter what time of year you decide to road trip the Golden Circle as you can always warm yourself up here!
The entrance fee to the Secret Lagoon is 3000 ISK for adults, and children aged 14 and under are free! However, if youâre wanting to hire swimsuits or towels, that will be extra.
If youâre looking for a cheaper alternative to the Blue Lagoon, then this is your place although Iâd recommend visiting both if you can!
Can I Find Studio Apartments For Rent In United States Of America
Generally well located and at a price that won’t break the bank, studio apartments offer style and privacy with the comforts of home. Book one of these studio apartments for rent in United States of America and use it as a base to explore:
- “Sugar Shack – Luxury Farmhouse Style Cottage In The Heart Of Downtown Franklin” in Historic Downtown Franklin puts you near some of the area’s popular cultural attractions, including The Woods Ampitheater at Fontanel and Grand Ole Opry. Internet services and WiFi are two of the handy amenities here.
- Alternatively, book a stay at “Hillsboro/belmont Bungalow – Heart Of Music City” which comes with an oven, off-street parking options and more. Located in Belmont – Hillsboro, sights like Johnny Cash Museum and Grand Ole Opry will appeal to the culture buff in you.
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Can I Find Log Cabins To Rent In United States Of America
There’s something incredibly cozy about relaxing in a log cabin with a cup of coffee and a novel. Leave the hustle and bustle behind and spend a few nights at one of these log cabins in United States of America:
- Located in Pigeon Forge, “Luxury Log Cabin, Mt Views, 3 King Suites+queen Loft” will put you close to some of the exciting outdoor activities this region has to offer. Hiking and biking and sledding are among them.
- Another fabulous option is “Secluded Romantic Log Cabin/beautiful Views”. With fun activities including horse riding and hiking and biking nearby, this Ringold hideaway will be ideal if you love the outdoors.
Budget Hotels Near The Blue Lagoon
Geo Hótel Grindavík This hotel checks you into a clean, spacious room with a relaxing ambiance. Each room has a TV and a private bathroom equipped with a hairdryer. Theres a communal lounge, free WiFi and parking at no charge. With the Blue Lagoons geothermal spa just 6km from the hotel, theres something to do outdoors.
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