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“Christmas Day adventure” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Golden Circle Route

Golden Circle Route
Book In Advance
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$215.50*
and up
Golden Circle and Laugarvatn Fontana Private Tour from Reykjavik
Ranked #2 of 130 things to do in South Region
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Ideal for short-stay visitors, this scenic driving route through southwestern Iceland features excellent scenery and major sites.
Yorkshire, England
Level Contributor
111 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
“Christmas Day adventure”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2014

I booked this tour with Reykjavik Excursions through Icelandair as part of their Golden Circle break.
It was one of the few (only?) tours on Christmas Day.

Reykjavik Excursions pick you up half an hour before the tour start time, so we were ready in the lobby at 8.30am. Then you are taken to the central depot to board a tour bus. Christmas Day was very busy with many tour buses going out on the same tour at the same time. We finally got away about half an hour late. There were several small children on the tour. We were in convoy with around 7 other coaches.

Because there had been bad weather the night before we were told that we couldn't do the third part of the tour - Thingvellir. Very disappointing but understandable.

It is dark until 11.30am at this time of year. We drove through the countryside for a couple of hours but couldn't see much. First stop was the greenhouse. After a longish trip most people were in need of a comfort break. There were 2 toilets (unisex) and around 200 people. Luckily I was one of the first in the queue, but by the end of the stop (over half an hour) there were still people waiting. It was great to see men as well as women having to wait their turn!

On the way to the geysir area i(n convoy) one of the coaches skidded off the road. We were all stopped for almost an hour while the coach was retrieved, passengers put onto our coach, and snow chains put on the remaining coaches. This meant we had to travel fairly slowly afterwards.

We stopped at Geysir for 1 and a half hours so we could see the geysirs, have lunch and shop.

Then we drove off to Gullfoss. We had half an hour there but some of our party were late coming back and so we set off half an hour late. Then someone had left something at the geyser visitor centre so we stopped there to pick it up. This added more time.Eventually we could take off the snow chains and drive faster.

As we had a dinner booking in Reykjavik at 7pm we were keen not to be too late back....the tour was supposed to finish at 5pm and we had not even been able to do the third part.

Then we were told there was another scheduled stop at a motorway service area for a comfort break. It was getting later and later and we saw that there was a coach that had already made his stop and was ready to leave. The tour guides kindly let us swap coaches.

Then, on the last few miles into Reykjavik we hit a blizzard. Cars were stopped on the motorway and a coach had gone off the motorway. We were (understandably) driving slower and slower.

We had asked if we could be one of the first hotel drop offs, and they kindly obliged. We got to our hotel at 7pm - just when we should have been having dinner in town - see my review of Skolabru to find out what happened....

To summarise:

Golden Circle is best done in summer. In winter there is too much darkness to appreciate the scenery, bad weather problems can cancel or otherwise affect the tour.

Christmas Day is very busy for this tour, so avoid if you can!

Reykjavik excursions are very professional and helpful, but as you are reliant on others this can prolong the tour. I would go independent next time (not in winter!)

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Chocgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“IG Tour Mini Bus the Best Way to Go”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2013

Saw the recommendation for IG Tours on Trip Advisor, so thought we would try. Loved the small mini bus with only 6 couples. Dooley was our driver and he is excellent! Do not miss this trip. He is so knowledgeable and a great driver. We had a huge snow storm most of our trip, while it was very beautiful and we were excited to see all the snow, we were never nervous, as Dooley is an excellent driver! He never rushed us while we were out taking photos, he drove us very close each attraction and shared so many insights into the local villages and people. His knowledge is extensive and his passion was infectious for this incredible country.Trip included all the highlights for Golden Circle. Reserve tickets online ahead of time and receive a discount. Dooley didn't even ask for payment until midway through the trip while we were at one of the attractions. Highly recommended this tour group.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank clkbak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
39 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“An early start, but lots to see”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 21, 2013 via mobile

We did this tour with Iceland Excursions.

We had a great guide, 'Junior', and an amazing driver, Marik, who were excellent throughout. The selection of stops was great (even, surprisingly, the geothermal power station) and Junior was incredibly knowledgable throughout and really added to our understanding if the sights and to Iceland's history. A very interesting man and it's a shame we couldn't have shared a drink with him afterwards!

The conditions were incredibly bad toward the end of the trip and how Marik managed to drive the coach so expertly is a mystery to me (and probably most Brits).

Both the tour and Iceland Excursions are recommend, just ask to be in Junior's group!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jon S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Minibus is waaayyy better”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 19, 2013

After taking this tour with Geoiceland (minibus) we were glad about that choice. We had minimum time on the bus and maximum time to explore sights without having a time pressure.
Definitely worth to see especially the golden waterfalls, everyone of us had to take a moment of silence when seeing this natural beauty.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Liene B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
95 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Absolutely stunning. A full day minI bus tour with island guided tours did not do justice to the incredible scenery ”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 17, 2013 via mobile

Do not miss this trip.I used a minibus with Dooley and island guided tours, a locally owned company. His knowledge was extensive and the passion was infectious for this incredible country.We were fortunate in having clear skies and we stopped for an impromptu Photoshop where many of us took the best pictures of our lives..The colours and clarity were unparalleled.
Highly recommended

Helpful?
Thank wajela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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