Where to stay in the Golden Circle

Where to stay in the Golden Circle while exploring Iceland’s most-visited attraction? To truly appreciate the uniqueness of the Golden Circle, we suggest staying overnight instead of just taking a day trip from Reykjavik. This renowned location boasts famous waterfalls, geysers, and other natural wonders that require at least two full days to explore. As one of Iceland’s top tourist spots, there are numerous options for accommodations ranging from villages to hotels and cabins. In this blog, we will assist you in selecting the perfect location for your stay in the Golden Circle and recommend the best hotels.

What is the Golden Circle?

The Golden Circle is a tour along a number of famous sights in Iceland.

The Golden Circle entails a trip to three noteworthy destinations, namely Thingvellir, Geysir, and Gulfoss. In addition to these popular attractions, there are numerous other fascinating sights to discover within this Golden Triangle. Multiple routes are available to travel around the area, as the Golden Circle itself is not a fixed path. The area lacks cities that can serve as a hub; instead, most travelers visit it from Reykjavik. We recommend planning for more than a day for the visit, as there is much to explore.

Important to note: do not confuse the Golden Circle with the Ring Road. The former is a circular route near Reykjavik, while the latter is the main road that circles the entire island of Iceland.

Geysir Golden Circle

Where is the Golden Circle?

The Golden Circle is located in the southwest of Iceland, with Reykjavik in close proximity. It is common to take a day trip to the Golden Circle from the Icelandic capital.

The Golden Circle is located close to other beautiful places in Iceland, as most of Iceland’s attractions are concentrated in the southwest. Many travelers visit the Golden Circle and then proceed to the other destinations of Southern Iceland, including the Black Sand Beaches, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the abandoned airplane wreck, and Skogafoss waterfall.

Thingvellir Golden Circle Iceland

Why the Golden Circle is worth visiting

The Golden Circle is one of Iceland’s most famous attractions and is definitely worth visiting if you want to experience the country’s unique natural wonders. This circuit, located near the capital Reykjavik, takes you to some of Iceland’s most beautiful natural phenomena, including the tectonic plates in Thingvellir National Park, the geysers Geysir and Strokkur, and the Gulfoss waterfall. Iceland is often called the land of ice and fire, and you’ll find all the reasons for this in this area. From geysers and hot springs to glaciers and ice-cold snorkeling, you’ll encounter all these extremes along the Golden Circle.

Thingvellir, or Þingvellir National Park, is characterized by the movement of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, slowly drifting apart and forming multiple canyons. One of the most remarkable activities to do in Iceland is diving and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Thingvellir, between the continental plates.

The second destination is the geothermal area of Haukadalur, boasting the highest concentration of geysers in the world. Haukadalur offers a stunning display of hot springs, warm streams, scorching rocks, breathtaking scenery, and the two most famous geysers in Iceland: the Geysir and Strokkur geysers. In fact, the term “geyser” is derived from this location.

The final destination on the Golden Circle route is the massive Gulfoss waterfall. This natural wonder marks the endpoint of the journey. The cascading waterfall features two tiers several meters in height, with endless streams of water thundering down with great force. The falls are situated in a narrow 20-meter-wide ravine, creating a truly impressive sight.

Did you know that there are even more attractions on the Golden Circle? You can visit the deep blue crater lake Kerið, observe the 80-meter wide Faxi waterfall, enjoy free natural hot springs in Hveragerði, relax in the Laugara natural hot springs and a spa, and admire the white Skálholt Cathedral.

Golden Circle Gulffos

Unique places to stay in the Golden Circle 

We recommend dedicating at least two days to exploring the Golden Circle and staying one night in this popular tourist area of Iceland. By staying overnight, you can avoid the crowds from the tour buses coming from Reykjavik and have the opportunity to visit the major attractions earlier or later in the day. Additionally, you can discover lesser-known stops and experience more of this distinctive area of Iceland.

The Golden Circle does not have any major cities – as Iceland itself does not have many large cities outside of Reykjavik. Nonetheless, numerous unique accommodations, lodges and hotels can be found in the area. Continue reading to discover the most extraordinary places to stay in the Golden Circle and make your trip truly unforgettable!

Camping in the Golden Circle

Iceland is an ideal spot for a camping trip. We traversed the rough terrain in a camper van and spend the night in stunning camping spots. Camping in Iceland is a great way to discover the island, particularly for those touring the Golden Circle. You can stay at Skjòl camping or the Geysir Campsite, both near the geysers. Or head to the Laugarvatn Campsite in close proximity to Laugarvatn Hotsprings. Also, there are two campsites situated near Thingvellir National Park.

Find all campsites in the Golden Circle on the map below. The black stars indicate the Golden Circle’s attractions for easy identification of campsites in proximity to each main attraction.

Cabins and hotels in the Golden Circle

#1 Austurey Cottages (Laugarvatn) for charming cottages in a vast landscape near the Laugarvatn hot springs, with views overlooking the lake and a patio. Each cottage features one bedroom, a bathroom, fresh linens and towels, a flatscreen TV, a dining area, a fully-equipped kitchenette, and a terrace with mountain views. Explore the nearby hiking trails for an unforgettable experience! This exceptional lodging option in the Golden Circle receives an extremely high rating from guests.

Austurey Cottages Golden Circle

#2 Náttúra Yurtel (Haukadalur) for unique lodging in Mongolian yurts at a small-scale accommodation located just 4 kilometers from the geysers in a stunning landscape. Guests have raved about the spectacular view of the erupting geysers, the luxurious tents, the charming ambiance, and the delicious breakfast in their glowing reviews. 

Náttúra Yurtel Golden Circle

#3 Blue View Cabin (Reykholt) for luxurious cabins with moss roofs in a remote location on the Golden Circle. These cozy cottages offer stunning views and come equipped with a delightful hot tub. On clear nights, you may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights from the comfort of your cabin! If this particular cabin is fully booked, rest assured that there are multiple Blue View Cabins available, each with its own booking page.

Blue View Cabin Golden Circle

#4 INNI – Boutique apartments (Hveragerði) for beautifully furnished apartments in a boutique hotel. Saving money on expensive restaurants is easy with a property that includes a private kitchen. Hotel guests have given the property exceptional review ratings, highlighting the hot tub, tasteful decor, comfortable beds, and convenient location.

#6 Kerbyggd (Selfoss) for stunning cottages with exceptional reviews. These luxurious homes boast contemporary design that effortlessly blends with the expansive lunar terrain. Guests enjoy lavish amenities, including a fully stocked kitchen and a secluded hot tub. During clear evenings, Northern Lights illuminate the sky above.

Kerbyggd Golden Circle

#7 Ásahraun Guesthouse (Selfoss) for distinctive lodging options inside wooden barrels at a serene location close to Kerid crater. Each mini house boasts a private bathroom and guests can’t stop gushing about the delightful hot tub and snug accommodations in their glowing feedback of this guesthouse. 

Ásahraun Guesthouse Golden Circle

#8 Blue Hotel Fagrilundur for a wooden design hotel with a prime location. The hotel rooms are spacious and stylishly decorated, featuring a modern design. With its stunning panoramic views of the surroundings, the hotel offers guests a generous terrace and a luxurious jacuzzi. This exceptional accommodation receives rave reviews and exceptionally high ratings!

#9 Akurgerði Guesthouse (Ölfus) for cozy cottages with extremely high review ratings. Guests praise the beautiful location, the hot tub, the charming decor, the view of Icelandic horses, and the well-equipped private kitchen. On clear nights, you can even enjoy the Northern Lights from your own hot tub! You can find all the cottages of the guesthouse through this Booking link.

#10 Litli Geysir Hotel (Haukadalur) for a popular hotel located just 200 meters from the world-renowned Geysir hot spring in the Haukadalur Valley of Iceland. The Gullfoss waterfall is also only a 10-minute drive away.

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