Things to Do

Golden Circle: Tour Options

Geysir Strokkur” by Klaus is licensed under CC BY 2.0

[Update: Be sure to check out our Golden Circle Tour with Kids post!]

In another post we discussed several “add-ons” you can see  during your day touring the Golden Circle. Now the question is how best to see all of this. Options include:

  1. Drive your car. If you have a rental car, I think you’re done with this post. Plan your trip, make sure you have a GPS, or a GPS program on your phone, or have a quality map and the knowledge to use it. See our post about using a GPS in Iceland.
  2. Rent a car for the day. Here is an option from Reykjavik Excursions.  Many other car rental options have a 2 day minimum, but this is a 24 hour rental. And it comes with a “pre-planned GPS route”.
  3. A private guided tour. We won’t cover those here, but a family of 4 can expect to pay approximately the price for 6 adults on one of the bus tours. That’s about twice the price of one of the minibus tours, or about 3 times the cost of a big bus tour.
  4. A small bus tour. You will be on a minibus with other groups, but the maximum number of people on a bus will be about 20. There several options, but here are two, which both cost the same:

Back to Iceland. Stops at the major 3 sites, plus the waterfall Faxi. (Note that these minibus tours may add another stop depending on the group and timing.)

Geo Iceland. Stops at the major 3 sites, plus the waterfall Faxi and Hveragerdi, the earthquake town.

Both of these cost 9900isk (about $76) for adults, half of that for kids 2-12, and free for kids under 2.

  1. A full-sized bus tour. Here are 2 main options:

Reykjavik Excursions (the Flybus airport shuttle people):   Stops at the 3 major sites, plus Friðheimar greenhouse and the Geysir multimedia center (which normally costs 1000isk). 10500isk (about $81) for adults, half price for kids 12-15, and free for kids under 12.

Grayline (the Airport Express people):  Stops at the 3 major sites, plus Skálholt Church, Hveragerði, and the Nesjavellir geothermal area (weather permitting). $73 for adults, half price for kids 12-17 and free for kids under 12.

It’s tough to see the price difference between these and the minibus tours. But the secret is in the prices for children. On a minibus, kids under 2 are free. On a full-sized bus, kids under 12 are free! For a family where the kids are all under 12, you are just paying for 2 adults. Your entire family can pay $146 total for a full day golden circle tour with Grayline.

One thing that may sway you to the big busses is the variety of options you can add on. For  example, you can add a visit to Fontana spa to either bus tour:

Grayline Golden Circle Tour plus Fontana

RE Golden Circle Tour plus Fontana

So which is best? There are very, very few negative reviews for the minibus tours, and something like 95% of people give these tours the highest rating. The big bus tours have lower ratings, though most people are still happy. I recommend the minibus tours. You pay a little extra, but you know you’ll be taken care of.

Golden Circle: Tour Options was last modified: April 23rd, 2017 by Eric