If you know anything about Iceland, you'll know that the Golden Circle is a very popular route for self-drive holidays. The Golden Circle in Iceland is a simple but incredible route, easy for those not used to driving abroad while still close to the capital of Reykjavik. If you're preparing for your Iceland trip, take a look at our advice for what car you'll need for this Iceland drive. But first of all, let’s take a look at some other more frequently asked questions about the Golden Circle route.
What is Iceland’s Golden Circle?
The Golden Circle is an excellent way to see some of Iceland’s top attractions, including The Great Geysir, Thingvellir National Park and Gulfoss waterfall. This makes the Golden Circle the perfect day-long road trip to take if your time in Iceland is limited.
The other great thing about the Golden Circle is that you can easily embark on the trip yourself, taking everything at your own pace and spending as much time at the attractions as you like. All you need to do is hire a car and familiarise yourself with the route and the sights that you want to see. Learn more from the following video.
Where to start the Golden Circle?
When staying in Reykjavik, the Golden Circle route is very simple to access, with the joining point just 25 miles east of the nation’s capital. This point is Thingvellir National Park, one of the closest attractions for those staying in Reykjavik.
How long will the Golden Circle take?
The route will guide you through just over 230 kilometres of otherworldly Icelandic landscapes. It can be completed in roughly 7-10 hours, depending on which stops you make, how long you decide to spend at each attraction, and how many times you take photos along the way.
When should I drive the Golden Circle?
Another great thing about the Golden Circle is that it’s incredible and accessible in any season. While the warmer months between spring and autumn provide milder temperatures and less snow underfoot, winter can offer a unique experience - snow will cover most attractions, completely changing the landscapes before you and creating almost brand new landscapes. As in all of Iceland, summer will present the opportunity to see the midnight sun, particularly when travelling around the summer solstice, while winter might give you the chance to spot the northern lights dancing across the sky.
Golden Circle Iceland Roads
Something you will want to take into consideration if you’re planning a self drive trip to Iceland is what kind of car you need to drive the Golden Circle. In certain parts of the country, and especially during wintery conditions, it can sometimes be dangerous to take to the roads. This is particularly true if you don’t have the appropriate car fitted with the right tyres, or if you’re planning to visit locations off the beaten track. Sometimes these roads are not paved, meaning they can be tricky and dangerous to drive on unless you hire a 4x4 vehicle.
The roads that make up the Golden Circle, however, are paved and very well maintained. It is a very popular route with tourists, meaning many people drive on these roads daily. This route is also located in a part of the country that doesn’t normally have such treacherous weather as other parts.
Most of the time, it’s the roads in the north or off of the main roads that will cause you the most trouble. But, because the Golden Circle is located in the south-west of Iceland on paved and well-maintained roads, the conditions can be a little easier to navigate.
Best vehicle for Golden Circle route
Because of the typically favourable road and weather conditions along the Golden Circle, you aren’t limited to a 4x4 vehicle. Any reliable and well-maintained hire car will be suitable for driving the Golden Circle, provided it is fitted with the appropriate tyres for the season you are visiting.
However, sometimes during the winter, the road conditions can be unfavourable along the Golden Circle route. We would always advise that you check the weather before your visit to make sure you are hiring the appropriate car for the road and weather conditions. Even the reliable roads of the Golden Circle can be easily transformed by a snowstorm. The season and weather conditions can and should affect the type of vehicle you choose to hire because these can drastically affect the roads during your visit.
If you are unsure about which type of car you should hire for your trip around the Golden Circle, contact us today and we will be happy to advise you on which of our cars will be the best option for you.