Outside Reykjavík: Golden Circle in winter

I told you I wouldn’t be able to keep away.

Today I went with my dad, his partner and our distant but yet not so distant relative, Amber from the USA, driving around the Golden Circle. It was like an express version of the tour my dad does through Icelandic Taxi Tours and it was great despite the weather being a bit cold. The Golden Circle is one of those most-do things for anyone coming to Iceland so since Amber hadn’t already booked a tour to go, my dad and his partner insisted on taking her.

I have never really written about the Golden Circle because there is so much information available out there that is better than what I can provide but I will tell you this: Rent a car to do the Golden Circle or do a private tour with a company like my dad’s because then you can control yourself how long you stay in each place and such. Plus, if you feel like seeing something that wasn’t on the schedule you can simply change the schedule. Like today my dad took us to a waterfall I never knew existed, Faxi, which I would have missed if we had been on a big typical tour bus. My dad takes everyone there, by the way, and to some other spots that you won’t see on a regular tour. How strange is it though that I’ve been to Gullfoss and Geysir about a million times without ever seeing that waterfall before? It’s right of the road on the way back from Reykjavík. Iceland never stops surprising me.

Þingvellir national park


Strokkur blowing off at Geysir geothermal area in Haukadalur


Around the geysir area


Faxi Waterfall

PS. Don’t you just love the gift shop at Geysir?

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11 thoughts on “Outside Reykjavík: Golden Circle in winter”

  1. Garrett says:

    Hi! I plan on doing a self driving tour of the golden circle at the end of this month January? Could you tell me all the places you went and how to get to them?

    1. mm Auður says:

      The Golden circle usually consists of the following stops: Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir geyser area. You can either rent a car to get there or take one of the bazillion tours that are offered to that area.

  2. Leah says:

    Hi Auður!

    Would you recommend a 4×4 vehicle for early November or would a two-wheel drive be okay?

    1. mm Auður says:


      It depends on where you are going. A 2wd should be fine for the Golden Circle etc but maybe if you are going north or east where there is usually more snow than around Reykjavík you might want to look into a 4wd.

  3. Adrienne Irby says:

    When you did this tour on your own, including the extra stops, how long did it take? I’m coming in mid December and will only have four hours of daylight. Thanks so much!

    1. mm Auður says:

      I don’t remember exactly how long this took us but it’s quite manageable to see the main sights on the Golden Circle in 4 or so hours. Or that’s my best estimate.

    2. Marc Jones says:

      4 hours will be pushing it. I’d go Gullfoss, Geyser then Þingvellir. I did it this week and drove – Gullfoss is too impressive to see for minutes, maybe avoid the gift shop to save some time.

      Plan on getting there as early as you can – although the drive there would be split by being in the dark.

      Geysir – you’ll get a blow every 7-8 minutes, see a couple, grab your photos and off.

      Þingvellir we only had 30 minutes at but this included the most amazing sunset I have ever witnessed. I will return to Iceland and Þingvellir – Gullfoss box is ticked, Geysir I wouldn’t revisit but it’s too easy to do on a round trip so make sure you go there – it’s very close to Gullfoss.

      Enjoy – it is incredible but I cannot stress enough how wonderful Þingvellir is. It is a very special place that you need to see in the light (or what’s left of it).

  4. Sabine says:

    Hi Audur,
    Can we do the golden circle by a mini car early march?

    1. mm Auður says:

      It all depends on the weather and how comfortable you are with driving on icy roads.

  5. Mary says:

    Hi Audur,

    I’ll be in Reykjavik in a few weeks just for a few days as a short getaway (first time and I’m already plotting how to get there again!). I was wondering how I might be able to get some info on doing a taxi tour with your father? I’m looking into tours and the idea of something small with a friendly and knowledgeable person is so inviting.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. mm Auður says:

      You can find all the information here: wwww.icelandictaxitours.com

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