The Golden Circle is one of the easiest and memorable day trips that can be taken in Iceland. Many people are unsure if you can experience the Golden Circle with kids. The answer is a resounding yes! We travelled the Golden Circle when visiting Iceland with our toddler, and found it to be very kid friendly, easy to navigate, and fun for all members of the family. If you travel to Reykjavik, don’t hesitate to explore the Golden Circle with your kids.
Golden Circle with Kids: Overview
The Golden Circle is a 300 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.
The Golden Circle is easily done with a child or toddler. (To read more about visiting Iceland with toddlers, 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.
Golden Circle with Kids: Stop 1 – Thingvellir
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. We had to carry our little one initially on the descent into the ridge, but 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, approximately 50 minutes away. Here we elected to take the baby in our carrier, and I am glad we did.
The field is remarkable, with multiple small boiling mud pits and geysers, and the sight of steam and bubbling water rising from the ground was surreal, both for us and for our son. However a small rope separates you from the active areas, and we felt most secure with him safely contained in our backpack.
The area is quite touristy, and there is a beautiful adjacent visitor center with delicious pastries and a large store which would make an excellent mid trip rest point.
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, and I continue to think this was one of the most breathtaking of our trip.
We again opted to keep our little guy in the backpack as the walk down to the falls was somewhat slippery and there is little aside from self control to keep you from falling off of the edge.
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.
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 Iceland Family Travel:
- Visiting Iceland with a Toddler: A Complete Guide
- Iceland 4 Day Itinerary: An Unforgettable Adventure
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