Are you wondering where to stay on the Golden Circle, Iceland? You are in the right place.
In this article, we will walk you through places to stay on the Golden Circle and tell you everything you need to know. We will also point out the best hotels on the Golden Circle.
The Golden Circle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland, and for good reason – it offers stunning scenery, geothermal wonders, and a chance to experience Icelandic culture. It is a must-visit destination in Iceland.
However, it can be challenging to decide where is best to stay particularly if you have never visited Iceland before. The aim of this article is to help you decide the best place to stay around the Golden Circle for you considering what you want to get out of your visit.
Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel or a budget-friendly guesthouse, you’re sure to find something that fits your needs. Just remember to plan ahead, dress appropriately, and respect Iceland’s natural environment.
So without further ado let us help you make a decision on where to stay on the Golden Circle, Iceland. Pull up a chair and get a drink and let’s explore this amazing country together.
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Understanding The Golden Circle In Iceland
The Golden Circle is a 190-mile tourist route that takes in three of Iceland’s most popular attractions. It’s a circular route that starts and ends in Reykjavik and takes you through three main destinations: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall.
While there are many other things to see in the area most come to visit one or all three of these natural attractions.
Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its dramatic landscape, which was formed by the movement of tectonic plates. Geysir Geothermal Area is home to the famous Strokkur geyser, which erupts every few minutes, shooting water up to 30 meters into the air. Gullfoss Waterfall is one of Iceland’s most iconic and dramatic waterfalls.
You can if you want to do the circle in a day, without stopping the route takes about 3-4 hours. However, we feel this isn’t really the best way to see all this area has to offer. There are also lots of Golden Circle tours you can take.
If you are trying to decide where to stay on The Golden Circle, Iceland it’s best to pick an area closest to the attractions you want to visit and explore each area thoroughly. That way you get to see not just the main tourist sites but some of the smaller more unique, and less crowded ones.
To help you choose your Golden Circle accommodations we have split it into five areas. Selfoss, Hveragerdi, Gullfoss/Geyser, Southern Golden Circle, and North Golden Circle. Each of these areas has unique advantages depending on what you want to get out of your stay.
In doing this we hope that you will be able to determine the best part of the Golden Circle to stay which works best for you and your fellow travelers.
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Selfoss Is Where To Stay On The Golden Circle For First Timers
If you are looking for places to stay on the Golden Circle then Selfoss is a great option for first-time visitors.
Selfoss is a small town located on the banks of the Ölfusá River located about an hour southeast of Reykjavik. It’s a great base for first-timers as it is right on the ring road and offers easy access to Golden Circle accommodations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
It is a great base for exploring the Southern areas, which includes attractions such as Thingvellir National Park, the Secret Lagoon, and the Kerid Crater. It is also within easy reach of Reykjavik.
If you have children there is a great swimming pool in Selfoss in fact it’s the biggest in Southern Iceland and has hot tubs and a sauna. Selfoss is also a cultural hub, with art galleries, museums, and music venues to explore.
If you are wondering where to stay on The Golden Circle Selfoss makes a great base.
Best Hotels In Selfoss
Hotel South Coast
Hotel South Coast is one of the best hotels on the Golden Circle. It has a restaurant, fitness center, bar, and free WiFi throughout the property.
Located in Selfoss guests enjoy city views, a concierge service, and access to a spa center and sauna. A buffet breakfast is available daily.
The hotel decor is simple and earthy creating something that is stark yet also warm. Guest rooms and equipped with all the amenities you would expect.
If you are wondering where to stay near The Golden Circle and want something a little more rustic Gesthus Selfoss might be perfect for you.
Here you stay in cabins or holiday homes that are equipped with all you will need. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and guests have access to a laundry room and hot tubs.
From May to August a breakfast buffet is served.
These cabins are within 5 minute walk of Selfoss Swimming Pool and hiking and horseriding are available nearby.
There is also a two-bedroom cottage here that can accommodate six so it might be a great option if you are wondering where to stay on the Golden Circle with kids.
Bella Apartments & Rooms
Looking for lodging near the Golden Circle Bella Apartments & Rooms might just be what you are looking for.
Located in Selfoss it offers both guest rooms and self-catering apartments. Some units feature a balcony or terrace and all include all the amenities you would expect.
Free WiFi and free private parking are available on-site and there are restaurants and a supermarket close by.
If you are wondering where to stay on the Golden Circle with kids this might be a good option as some apartments can sleep up to six.
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Hveragerdi Is Where To Stay For Hidden Gems
Hveragerdi is a small town known for its geothermal activity. It is located on the Southern route about 40 miles southeast of Reykjavik.
It is home to hot springs, geysers, and a variety of hiking trails. Hveragerdi is also near the Reykjudalur thermal river and makes a great base to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula.
Hveragerdi is also home to a unique greenhouse culture, where farmers use geothermal energy to grow vegetables and flowers. Visitors can take a tour of the greenhouses and learn about Iceland’s approach to sustainable agriculture.
This is where to stay on the Golden Circle if it’s not your first visit and you want to see some of the hidden gems you may have missed last time. We think this area is the best part of the Golden Circle to stay.
Best Hotels In Hveragerdi
INNI – Boutique apartments
If you are looking for the best place to stay around the Golden Circle then we can highly recommend INNI – Boutique apartments. We had stayed he a few times and it really is epic.
Set in Hveragerdi this aparthotel is beautifully decorated, I mean it wouldn’t look out of place on a magazine cover. There is free WiFi and free private parking as well as access to a sauna and hot tub.
Each unit is fitted with everything you will need including a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, a seating area, a flat-screen TV, a washing machine, and a private bathroom with a walk-in shower and bathrobes.
Family rooms are available and some of the units feature a terrace and/or a balcony with garden or inner courtyard views.
If you are looking for where to stay near The Golden Circle and you have children in tow Hotel Ork might be a good option. This hotel has an outdoor pool with a slide as well as a hot tub and sauna.
Hveragerdi Geothermal Park is just 650 yards away and the hotel offers free parking and WiFi.
The guest rooms have all the amenities you would expect and family rooms are available. There is an on-site restaurant, a games room, and free access to the neighboring 9-hole golf course.
Hiking trips to the Hengill volcanic area, as well as horseback riding excursions, can be organized by Hotel Örk staff.
Hótel Eldhestar in the town of Ölfus has everything you need for a perfect Icelandic stay. Surrounded by nature each room has a private entrance with direct access to the surrounding fields.
There is a communal fireplace lounge, a bar restaurant, and a sun terrace. The hotel also has an outdoor wooden hot tub.
If you are wanting to go horseriding in Iceland this is a great area to do it and the hotel can book tours.
Gullfoss/Geyser Has The Best Golden Circle Hotels For Sightseeing
Gullfoss and Geysir are two of the most popular attractions on the Golden Circle. Gullfoss is a stunning waterfall, while Geysir is a geothermal area that is home to the famous Strokkur geyser.
This area is at the top of the Golden Circle and makes a good getaway into the Highlands. It also makes a great base for sightseeing on the Golden Circle.
The area is also incredibly beautiful and while there are some great accommodation options dining options can be a little limited.
Our tips in this area are to make sure you visit Faxi waterfall which is equally as stunning as Gullfoss but less crowded. Also take a hike at the Haukadalur Valley, where you can see several geysers and hot springs.
This is where to stay on the Golden Circle if you want to see a lot of the sights.
Best Hotels Near Gullfoss And Geyser
In our opinion, this is one of the best hotels on the Golden Circle. Hotel Geysir is simple, stylish very classy, and just 100 yards from Geysir.
There is a beautiful garden to explore as well as a restaurant and bar. Free private parking and WiFi are also available.
Rooms are fully equipped with all modern amenities and features and have a mountain view.
Hotel Gullfoss offers wonderful contemporary lodging near the Golden Circle. Located by the Hvita River, it is just 1.9 miles from Gullfoss Waterfall.
On-site there is a traditional Icelandic restaurant, a daily buffet breakfast, and free WiFi. All rooms contain all the amenities you would expect.
Úthlíd Cottages are located 15 minutes drive from Geysir and 11.2 miles from Gullfoss Waterfall. This property offers modern cottages as well as a restaurant and hot baths.
The cottages come with fully equipped kitchens, a dining area, and BBQ patios
There is also a 9-hole golf course on site and free WiFi and parking on site.
Southern Golden Circle Is Where To Stay On A Budget
If you like the idea of staying near Selfoss but find the accommodation prices too high then you might find the southern end of the circle a little more affordable.
You will find this area cheaper and there are some great affordable guesthouses run by locals. Staying here will give you a much more cultural experience.
You are still in a great location to explore Thingvellir National Park, the Secret Lagoon, and the Kerid Crater but you will find fewer dining options and touristy things.
If you stay in this area make sure you visit the nearby Friðheimar greenhouse, where you can see how tomatoes are grown using geothermal energy.
This is the place to stay on the Golden Circle if you want to be near the attractions yet have a lower budget. This is one of the best areas to stay on the Golden Circle if you are on a budget.
Best Southern Golden Circle Hotels
Blue Hotel Fagrilundur – On The Golden Circle
Situated in Reykholt, 11.8 miles from Geysir and 18 miles from Gullfoss Waterfall Blue Hotel Fagrilundur is a great choice in this area.
This 3-star hotel offers guests rooms that are very pleasant and equipped with everything you would expect. Fridges are provided in each room and there is free WiFi.
The hotel also offers a buffet or continental breakfast.
Just 20 minutes drive from the Great Geysir and Gullfoss Waterfall Hotel Fludir offer simple and stylish accommodation.
All rooms have a patio with garden access. The hotel has a restaurant and a very pleasant setting for a relaxing drink.
The views of Midfell Mountain from here are also pretty epic.
If you are looking for where to stay near the Golden Circle on a budget then Húsid Guesthouse might be perfect for you.
With panoramic views of the rugged Biskupstungur terrain, the property features free WiFi, a fully-equipped guest kitchen, and a furnished terrace.
The bathroom facilities here are shared although some rooms do have a sink. It’s great value accommodation in a good location.
North Golden Circle is where to stay to be closer to Reykjavik
If you want to enjoy the Golden Circle but be close to Reykjavik then this is the area to stay. Staying in this area is often a closer drive to the Reykjavik metro area than other parts of the Golden Circle.
The North Golden Circle includes attractions such as Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, as well as the historic site of Reykholt. This area is a bit less touristy than the Southern Golden Circle and offers a chance to explore some of Iceland’s lesser-known natural wonders.
In this area, you are also a bit closer to the Thingvellier National Park and lesser-known, sites such as Hvitárvatn glacier lake, Háifoss waterfall, which is one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls, and the Vatnshellir lava cave.
Best Places To Stay On Golden Circle North
Just a 10-minute drive from Thingvellir National Park and 13 miles from Selfoss is Borealis Hotel. The hotel has an onsite restaurant, free WiFi, and lakeside golfing.
Rooms are simple yet stylish with a seating area and all the amenities you would expect. The hotel has scenic views of the surrounding mountains and it’s a great place to spot the Northern Lights.
Héradsskólinn Historic Guesthouse
Héradsskólinn Historic Guesthouse overlooks Lake Laugarvatn, Hekla Volcano and the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier. The location is stunning.
Set in a 1920s former school building the hotel offers both private rooms and dorms making it a great choice if you are looking where to stay near the Golden Circle on a budget.
All rooms feature bright crisp clean decor and have lake or mountain views. There is a bistro, cafe, and bar on-site as a tv lounge, a library, and a pool table.
ION Adventure Hotel
ION Adventure Hotel is one of the best Golden Circle hotels. It is situated on Mount Hengill, 11.2 miles from UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park.
It is an absolutely stunning hotel in an incredible location with breathtaking panoramic views.
The rooms are extremely stylish and include all the amenities you would expect. Some overlook Lake Thingvallavatn.
There is an on-site spa and sauna and a restaurant that offers Nordic specialties. The view from the bar is spectacular.
This is perhaps one of the most romantic places to stay on the Golden Circle.
As you can see when it comes to where to stay on the Golden Circle the answer isn’t easy. It really depends on the kind of experience you want to have and the sights you want to see.
What is for sure is that the Golden Circle in Iceland offers a range of unique experiences, from geothermal wonders to stunning waterfalls and black sand beaches. Whether you choose to stay in Selfoss, Hveragerði, Gullfoss/Geyser, the Southern Golden Circle, or the North Golden Circle, you’re sure to have a memorable and unforgettable experience.
Just be sure to plan ahead and book your Golden Circle accommodations and activities in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
Have a great vacation and come back and tell us all about it.