Driving the Golden Circle Route in a Campervan

Driving the Golden Circle Route in a Campervan

Driving the Golden Circle route is one of the most popular things to do here in Iceland. With a series of wonderful natural sights all within easy driving distance of Reykjavik, it’s a perfect option for a day trip from the city or to start off a campervan trip in Iceland.

We often get asked if it’s worth doing the Golden Circle, and the answer is a resounding YES! It’s busy, but having your own campervan allows you to spend as long as you like at each stop, and to take a few interesting detours that tour buses skip.

The entire circle can be completed in one day, making it the perfect way to begin or end your campervan trip in Iceland.

Looking for an Iceland road trip itinerary? The Golden Circle Route is included in both our 3-Day South Coast Itinerary and our 7-Day Ring Road Itinerary.

How Long Does It Take to do the Golden Circle in Iceland?

The entire Golden Circle Route can be done in one day. In general, a return trip from Reykjavik will take about 6 hours. If you’re adding in a few detours, it can take anywhere from 8 – 10 hours to get back into the city.

However, if you’re in a campervan, you’re likely going to be camping outside of Reykjavik after doing the Golden Circle. This dramatically cuts down on the time it will take you to do the entire route, since you won’t have to drive back to Reykjavik at the end of your day.

What is Included in the Golden Circle Iceland?

The main sites that make up the Golden Circle route in Iceland are:

  • Thingvellir National Park
  • Geysir
  • Gullfoss

Some popular detours on the Golden Circle are:

  • Laugarvatn Fontana and Spa
  • Efsti Dalur Farm
  • Friðheimar Tomato Farm
  • The Secret Lagoon
  • Kerið

Of course, there are plenty more detours that you can make during your Golden Circle self-drive tour; we’ve detailed a few below in our Golden Circle self-drive itinerary.

The Golden Circle Route Iceland

Stop 1: Thingvellir National Park

The first stop, Thingvellir National Park, is only 40 minutes from Reykjavik. This beautiful area is the historic heart of the country; it was here where the Icelandic Vikings established the world’s first democratic parliament, the Alþingi.

Getting there: Take road 1 direction Borgarnes and after driving through Mosfellsbær take road 36 towards Thingvellir National Park.

A not so known sight on the way towards the National Park is Gljúfrasteinn. This is the museum of Halldór Laxness (1902-1998) who stands head and shoulders above other Icelandic writers of the 20th century.

If you arrived late and are just looking to beat the Reykjavik traffic in the morning, you can stop at Mosskogar Camping for the night. This is a nice campsite just outside Reykjavik on the way to Thingvellir on the Golden Circle.

Thingvellir National Park also has a great campsite where you can stay with your campervan.

Stop 2: Geysir

After Thingvellir, the next stop on the Golden Circle route is Geysir, one of Iceland’s famous geothermal areas. The main attraction is the geysir itself, called Strokkur. Every 4–5 minutes, it will erupt in a plume of water, shooting up between 15–20 metres.

Getting there: To get to Geysir from Thingvellir, simply continue along road 365 towards Laugarvatn and from there you take road 37 towards Geysir.

If you’re not pressed for time, in Laugarvatn you can soak in the geothermal waters at Laugarvatn Fontana Spa.

Another stop on the way to Geysir is the charming dairy farm Efsti Dalur. This will be fun for children and curious adults. They have a barn and farm animals, plus you can taste their delicious homemade products – including some fabulous Icelandic ice cream.

 Stop 3: Gullfoss

The final main stop on the Golden Circle route is Gullfoss waterfall. This thundering cascade is a sight to behold, crashing over several cliffs into a deep valley, stretching away to the south. In the distance on a clear day you can spy the highland glaciers, while the mist from the water in the late afternoon sun sends a golden hue over the surrounding countryside.

Getting there: To get to Gullfoss from Geysir, simply continue following Road 37 for about 10 more kilometres. You’ll eventually come to a large parking area, restaurant, and souvenir store.

The Final Stages of the Golden Circle

Gullfoss marks the end of the Golden Circle route in Iceland. Afterwards, you’ll want to head south towards the ring road (Route 1) to either head back into Reykjavik or continue along the south coast.

There are two options.

Option 1: The first option is to take Road 30 towards Flúðir. By choosing this road you can stop in for a swim at The Secret Lagoon in Flúðir, and visit Friðheimar, a geothermal tomato farm with a restaurant.

There’s also a lovely campsite in the town of Flúðir where you can stay overnight in your campervan.

Option 2: The second option is to take Road 35 in the direction of Selfoss and Reykjavik. The main reason to choose this option over the first is if you’re interested in visiting Kerið, a colourful volcanic crater lake located in the Grímsnes area near Selfoss.

If you are planning to stay overnight in your campervan at the Golden Circle area, there are plenty of campsites.

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