The Golden Circle is an easy and memorable trip that every family should take when visiting Iceland with kids. Many people are unsure if you can experience Iceland’s Golden Circle with kids. The answer is a resounding yes!
We travelled the Golden Circle when visiting Iceland with our toddler. We found it to be very kid friendly, easy to navigate, and fun for all members of the family. If you travel to Reykjavik, make sure you get out of the city and explore Iceland’s Golden Circle with your kids.
How to Travel Iceland’s Golden Circle with Kids
The Golden Circle is a 230 km looped route that is easily drivable from Reykjavik. On your journey, you get to see the division between the tectonic plates, hot geysers spewing from the earth, and an incredible waterfall.
The whole route is only 140 miles (230 km). The driving can be accomplished in 3 hours, but you will want more time to explore the incredible sites along the way.
Iceland’s Golden Circle is a great day trip from Reyjkavik. It also can be your first day of a longer Ring Road trip.
The sites all have visitor centers, cafeterias, and really nice facilities. The driving is straightforward, and you will feel safe and relaxed, while still seeing some truly incredible sites.
We rented a car when we drove Iceland’s Golden Circle with our son. It was the first day of our two week ring road trip with him. (Click here to read more about traveling to Iceland with a toddler!)
If you don’t feel like renting a car, there are several bus tours that welcome kids on Iceland’s Golden Circle. Our favorites are:
- Full Day Tour to the Golden Circle and a Traditional Icelandic Farm (2 years and older)
- Golden Circle Classic Day Trip from Reyjkavik (all ages)
- Golden Circle Day Trip with Kerid Volcano (2 years and older)
The Golden Circle is easily done with a child or toddler. (Read our Complete Guide on Visiting Iceland with a Toddler). We had our 21 month old with us for the ride. We rented a car and a carseat from Cars Iceland.
One of the great things about Iceland in the summer is the days are long. Many attractions are open until 7 or 8 PM, so there is no need to rush out of the city early.
Golden Circle with Kids: Stop 1 – Thingvellir National Park
The first stop on the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park. This is the historical location of the formation of the original Icelandic Parliament. It also the location of the division between the tectonic plates.
It is about a 40 minute drive from Reykjavik.
There are some viewpoints that can be accessed by stroller, but if you want to see between the tectonic plates, we recommend you carry your little ones.
We used the carrier for our little one down the ridge. Once in the valley there were beautiful paths where he could run and several short hiking trails that we could enjoy as a family. We spent about 2 hours exploring the area.
One of the best things about visiting Iceland with kids is most that natural landmarks have impressive facilities. Bathrooms are always available, and often there are gift shops and cafes. Thingvellir was no exception and we grabbed a sandwich and a hot cup of coffee to warm us up on our journey ahead.
Golden Circle with Kids: Stop 2 – Geysir
The next destination on the Golden Circle is the Geysir hot spring area. It is approximately a 50 minutes drive from Thingvellir.
Geysir is a geothermal area that surrounds the geyser Strokkur which erupts every 7-8 minutes. The field is remarkable, with multiple small boiling mud pits, and the sight of steam and bubbling water rising from the ground was surreal, both for us and for our son.
We elected to take the baby in our carrier, and I am glad we did. There was only a small rope separates you from the active areas. We felt most secure with him safely contained in our backpack – not running around burning his feet.
The area is quite touristy. There is a beautiful adjacent visitor center with a nice restaurant with delicious pastries. This would make an excellent mid trip rest point if you are looking for lunch. They also have a large souvenir shop and a bathroom.
Golden Circle with Kids: Stop 3 – Gullfoss
Our last stop, and what I thought was most spectacular was Gullfoss. It is only about 10 minutes away from Geysir.
Gullfoss is a gorgeous cascading waterfall. After 14 days in Iceland, you feel like somewhat of a waterfall connoisseur. I continue to think this the most breathtaking waterfall we saw in Iceland.
We again opted to keep our little guy in the backpack as the walk down to the falls. It was somewhat slippery and there is little aside from self control to keep you from falling off of the edge.
There are two parking lots. The lower one is wheelchair and stroller accessible. The higher one is near the restrooms and cafe.
Golden Circle with Kids: The Return
We did the Golden Circle as the first segment of our Ring Road trip. After Gulfoss we proceeded onwards towards the Ring Road, staying at Hotel Selid in Hella. (Click here for Iceland itinerary ideas!)
For those who are on a shorter itinerary in Iceland and want to take the loop back, it is about an hour and a half return drive to Reykjavik.
Before going to Iceland, one of my friends gave me excellent advice. “Get out of the city as quickly as possible.” Reykjavik is lovely, but Iceland offers so much natural beauty that you won’t want to miss a moment.
The Golden Circle is definitely doable with small children. We would definitely recommend exploring the Golden Circle with kids.
Read Our Other Blog Posts about International Travel
- Visiting Iceland with a Toddler: A Complete Guide
- Iceland 4 Day Itinerary: An Unforgettable Adventure
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