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Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
58 posts
33 reviews
Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

Hey everyone,

We'll be going on a golden circle tour towards the end of this month and I'm wondering which departure time you guys would suggest, considering the sunrise/sunset times (sunrise at approx 10:40 am and sunset 4:40 PM) - 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM or 10:30 AM? The tour I'm thinking of booking is the one listed below and it doesn't seem to mention the tour duration. I'm open to other tour company suggestions.

https://www.tripadvisor.ie/AttractionProduct…

Thanks in advance!

12 replies to this topic
Cologne, Germany
Destination Expert
for Iceland
Level Contributor
12,690 posts
88 reviews
1. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

In order to pick a Golden Circle tour you should first decide if you want a basic Golden Circle tour with the three main sights or do you want to combine it with an activity like snowmobiling, snorkeling Silfra, geothermal bathing, horse riding, lava tube caving etc.

If you want a basic tour you can choose between a large coach tour like the one you linked to, a minibus tour or a superjeep tour.

I would not worry about the departure times, since the tour providers time their itinerary, so they reach the sights in daylight. It is just more important than in summer that all guests stick to the timeline at the sights and not return to the bus late, since that might throw the whole plan out of whack.

Personally I would probably book one of the earlier ones unless you plan to stay out late on a NL hunt the night before.

Edited: 05 January 2018, 22:20
Canada
Level Contributor
10,056 posts
81 reviews
2. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

If you read the first review on the link that you posted, the trip was 8.5 hrs from pickup to dropoff. I would take an early time,

Icelander in...
Destination Expert
for Iceland
Level Contributor
11,711 posts
26 reviews
3. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

If you leave Reykjavik at 09:00 - 09:30, you will see the sun rise from Þingvellir, if that is the first stop. But not if you do it the other way around.

Also consider the language you want the guidance to be in.

Also, this is the lowest price I have seen for the Golden circle, and is only possible if they fill a 70 passenger bus.

And remember the world wide rule: "You get just what you pay for" Personally I would not do this tour. I would try to go for a small bus, or even a private tour.

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
58 posts
33 reviews
4. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

Thanks for the feedback guys. I think we'll go for an earlier option and hopefully see the sunrise at a beautiful location. I'll certainly look into other tours although the reviews seem pretty good for this one, we're just looking for a general golden circle tour.

Zagreb, Croatia
Level Contributor
30 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

There are some tour companies operating in smaller, minibuses that time their departures to avoid the big crowds as most of them leave Reykjavik in the 08:00-09:99 time slot so you might get overrun by tourists :)

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
58 posts
33 reviews
6. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

Do you guys have any specific tours that you can recommend? There's so many out there I'm confused as to which one I should choose now.

Cologne, Germany
Destination Expert
for Iceland
Level Contributor
12,690 posts
88 reviews
7. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

I like this one, since it includes more than just the three main sights, but I am not sure if that is what you are looking for:

https:/…golden-circle-iceland

I also like combination tours that combine the Golden Circle sights with activities like snorkeling silfra, snowmobiling, horse riding, lava tube caving or geothermal bathing.

Champlain, New York
Level Contributor
24 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

When I went I believe it was a 9:30AM departure and we were back by 5pm. I went with a minibus tour through Troll Expeditions and love it!

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
58 posts
33 reviews
9. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

Thanks for the feedback, I'll check those out. The person I'm travelling with is leaning towards also doing snowmobiling which would be good to combine on the golden circle tour I'm guessing, but I'm worried with the limited daylight hours that a lot of time will be focused on that rather than the sites on the golden circle.

Cologne, Germany
Destination Expert
for Iceland
Level Contributor
12,690 posts
88 reviews
10. Re: Which departure time for Golden Circle tour, end of Jan?

Here is an option:

https:/…

If you do a combination tour you will only see the main three sights of the Golden Circle and will probably have shorter stops there. The actual time riding the snowmobile is only one hour, but of course you have to get to their base, be kitted out, get your safety instructions etc.

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