The Golden Circle is probably the most basic route for tourists. I don’t know when’s the next time that I’ll be back in Iceland so we went all out and booked a Golden Circle plus Snowmobiling Tour. It is quite expensive for a day tour but I just thought of it as a gift to myself on my birthday. lollll I’ve written some of my experiences and tips for this tour so hopefully this will help you in planning your trip to Iceland!
Our Tour Provider
There are many tour companies that offer the Golden Circle Tour and trust me, I’ve read all the reviews. It was hard for us to choose because almost all of the companies had good reviews. We actually just went with Extreme Iceland for this tour because when I narrowed it down to two companies – Reykjavik Excursions and Extreme Iceland, Extreme Iceland’s tour is a small group tour as compared to Reykjavik Excursions’ which is a bus tour. Also, look at our sexy van. We were actually super excited to get into the van the moment we saw it. lol
P.S. I’ve read online that Arctic Adventures bought Extreme Iceland that’s why our van is labeled Arctic Adventures instead of Extreme Iceland. (nice to know lol)
Our entire tour cost us ISK 29,990 each (around 250 USD / 13,000 PHP). I think this was the most expensive day tour that I have ever booked in my entire existence. lol The tour covered:
- Pick Up & Drop Off at our nearest bus stop
- Golden Circle Tour – with stops at Pingvellir National Park, Geysir and Gulfoss
- Snowmobiling for one hour at Langjokull Glacier – with snowmobiling gear
- Hot Chocolate and some biscuits after snowmobiling
If you already know your travel dates, check out their website from time to time because they sometimes have special offers and discounts on some tours.
We were picked up by our driver/tour guide at around 8:30am at the Hlemmur stop. We made sure to be on time because the bus stops are quite chaotic in the morning. A lot of tourists were waiting to be picked up at the same stop as ours so it was quite confusing which bus or van we should go into. It usually takes around 30 minutes for the driver to pick everyone up around Reykjavik so we headed towards our first stop at around 9am.
1st Stop: Pingvellir National Park
Pingvellir National Park is about a 45 minute drive from Reykjavik and considering that we were there in the winter, it was still very dark when we arrived at around 9:50am. I actually just added brightness to these photos because the sunrise that day was still at 11am. We only got a glimpse of the park from a view deck but you can actually walk around and even dive here (Silfra Diving Day Tour) and experience being at two continents at the same time. It would definitely be something that I would like to do if I ever visit Iceland again hopefully in the summer. Also, some scenes from the Game of Thrones were filmed here. ❤
P. S. I look like a tellitubby. I did not care how I looked at all, as long as I was warm. lol
2nd Stop: Geysir
At around 11:00 am, after travelling around an hour from our first stop, we finally got to our second stop, the Geysir. This place is the OG because the world ‘geyser’ was derived from its name. We were given 40 minutes and the time given I think was just right if you will just go see the geysir but if you’re hungry and need to buy some food, you might want to manage your time properly. We brought some snacks with us so we did not need to buy food. We just went straight inside the gates Geysir and waited for it to explode every few minutes. It was actually fun to watch and I love the excitement that I get when it will explodes. lol
Here’s a closer pic. Be sure to not go inside the barriers because the water that the geysir spits are boiling hot. Iceland is definitely the land of fire and ice.
After being at the Geysir for around 20 minutes, I was soooo over the cold. I could not freakin handle it. Ironically, I sat on a frozen bench to get over the cold lol lolll
My face was covered in almost all of my photos here. lol It was that cold.
3rd Stop: Gulfoss
Ten minutes away from the Geysir is Gulfoss waterfalls. I would’ve enjoyed my time here if it did not involve walking probably a mile (which involved going up and down some long a$$ stairs) to go near the waterfalls. I don’t remember how much time we were given here but I remember that we weren’t given that much time because I remember running up the stars on our way back on a slippery road. I had to walk cautiously and fast at the same time. lol
The falls was beautiful but I would’ve wanted to spend more time here to appreciate its beauty. We literally just ran towards the falls, took photos and selfies and then went back to go to the restroom. We also bought some sandwiches to go because all we had were snacks.
There are actually two (or maybe more? not sure) view points here. We only went to one so I’m not sure which viewpoint is better. Would love to visit here again in the future!
P. S. I got the caramel cake from their restaurant and it was the BOMB.
If you need to go to the rest room, there’s a free rest room inside the visitor center/restaurant but the lines were long when we were there.
4th stop: Snowmobiling at Langjokull Glacier
Okay so the whole point of rushing at our last stop was to give us more than enough time to enjoy what made this whole tour so expensive, the snowmobiling experience. lol Before heading our way to the snowmobile base, our tour guide/driver first had to adjust the tires of the van to make it suitable for driving in the snow. He then asked us to sign a risk acknowledgement form while on our way.
We entered their small (but sufficient) snowmobile base and they gave us some snowmobiling gear. We were given suits, a helmet, a ski mask, goggles and gloves. I suggest you to wear something super warm that can be worn inside the suit because you’re going to need it. I actually felt like my nose was going to break from the cold when we were snowmobiling. lol
Here’s me, ready to go snowmobiling. So funny story, everybody had their neon colored adult suits on except for little old me. Only the dark colored child suits would fit me so whatever, whichever’s comfy. lol
We drove a few minutes to the actual place where the snowmobiles were parked. I was so pumped & excited! I knew that this was going to be a surreal experience right when we arrived because we were surrounded by snowy mountains and literally anything that’s below the horizon was covered in snow.
Snowmobile ready. The four of us shared two snowmobiles because renting a separate snowmobile for each one of us is expensive. It was okay though because one can drive to the glacier and the other can drive on the way back. My sister and her sister-in-law did that but I’m such a scaredy-cat so my boyfriend just drove the whole time. lol
After more than 30 minutes of snowmobiling, we finally reached our destination. The view was surreal. It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. I was not able to take a video of the ride because we forgot to bring our chest mount for our gopro but our gopro wouldn’t have survived the cold anyways. I had my phone in airplane mode to save its battery life but it just died on me after taking a few pictures in the cold.
We drove back for another 30 minutes and after everything that I saw, I was just in disbelief of how beautiful the whole place was.
We were sad that it was over but it was almost sundown so we had to go back to the snowmobiling base.
We got out of our suits and stayed at this super cozy part of the base. Hot drinks and biscuits were waiting for us. ❤
This was definitely the highlight of this whole tour. If I could look back at my life and rank the greatest moments, this would definitely be up there.
Was it Worth The Cost?
Hell Yeahhh, everything is worth it in Iceland. LOLLL
For me, YES because the views that we saw at the glacier were insanely out of this world. The whole experience was just perfect. From the rush that we got from snowmobiling to the out-of-this-world views to just about everything. And although the time that we had at some of the Golden Circle sights were not quite enough, we had more than enough time snowmobiling. So yes, spend the extra dollars on snowmobiling because going further into the glacier snowmobiling showed me what Iceland is all about, raw and beautiful. ❤