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wendyp247

Golden Circle or South Coast and Why

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Going to Reykjavik on a cruise.Only 1 full day there. Which would you choose for a tour ,either Golden Circle or South Coast and Why. TIA

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We were fortunate to have two full days in Reykjavik on our cruise late last summer, so we were able to do both tours.  While there was much we enjoyed about the Golden Circle, my wife and I are both in agreement that the South Coast tour was far more spectacular and one of the best days of our trip.  But you can't go wrong with either choice! 

 

The scenery along the South Coast is spectacular, and the places we visited were stunning.  I could have spent hours just at Reynisfjara (the black sand beach).  Getting to walk right up to the base of the huge waterfall Skógafoss -- and getting wet (dress appropriately!) --  was a great experience.   Walking up to Sólheimajökull (the glacier) was beautiful.   The list goes on.

 

The Golden Circle tour is primarily about three places: Thingvellir Nat'l Park, the Geysir hot springs area, and Gullfoss (the waterfall).   The important history of Thingvellir in terms of Iceland's democracy is quite interesting, and I very much enjoyed being able to walk alongside the North American Tectonic Plate, one of the few places on earth where the plate is not at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.   As for Geysir -- it's always nice to see geysers, but if you've been to Yellowstone, this will seem like a very small place in comparison.  Gullfoss is pretty magnificent. 

 

I'm not knocking the Golden Circle by any means, and I'm sure there are others who prefer it.  (And I'm sure that some of our feelings were influenced by the fact that we were on a private tour for the South Coast, with a great guide, and a ship's tour for the Golden Circle.)  You have a great choice to make, and you can't go wrong!  Enjoy whatever you decide!

 

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Reynisfjara

 

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Sólheimajökull

 

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Skógafoss

 

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Thingvellir (North American Tectonic Plate)

 

(photos by turtles06)

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As Turtles above said, South Coast (with SAGA travel) was amazing (and I've done the Golden circle too...)

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, dani negreanu said:

As Turtles above said, South Coast (with SAGA travel) was amazing (and I've done the Golden circle too...)

 

Glad we agree! 😀  

 

I should have mentioned that we did the South Coast tour with GeoIceland (which is Saga’s travel partner for tours out of Reykjavík).  They were fabulous. 

Edited by Turtles06

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I wonder if the OP will ever return to acknowledge the help she’s received?

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Thanks for your input, I have been distracted , I am supposed to fly out on British Airways and now there maybe a pilots strike. I am trying to find out  my alternatives  if there is a strike so I can get on my cruise to Iceland. 

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4 minutes ago, wendyp247 said:

Thanks for your input, I have been distracted , I am supposed to fly out on British Airways and now there maybe a pilots strike. I am trying to find out  my alternatives  if there is a strike so I can get on my cruise to Iceland. 

 

I hope it all works out for you!

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We have been to Iceland twice, once on a self driving land tour and once on a circumnavigation cruise of the entire island, which I highly recommend. Golden Circle is beautiful but I could have spent days on the South Coast. The change in topography is amazing, from moonscapes to lush green cliffs, you would think you were in Ireland as you approach  the town of Vik. Heading all the way to Jokulsklaren  is worth the trip as well. Long day but worth it. It can be very windy on the south coast. . 

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Hi all!

 

I went to Reykjavik for 2 nights on an Icelandair stopover coming home from Copenhagen & did the Golden Circle tour.

Next Sept I'm doing a cruise that stays over from 1 pm one day until 6 pm the next & wonder if there's any way I can do the South shore in the allotted time. Any opinions please?

TIA & I must say I really enjoyed the Golden Circle with GeoIceland.

 

~ Jo ~ 😊

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24 minutes ago, retiring soon said:

Next Sept I'm doing a cruise that stays over from 1 pm one day until 6 pm the next & wonder if there's any way I can do the South shore in the allotted time. Any opinions please?

 

By leaving very early in the morning and using a private tour operator who can tailor things to your ship’s schedule, and possibly eliminate a stop or so, it might be do-able. It would be a very tight day.  

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9 hours ago, retiring soon said:

Hi all!

 

I went to Reykjavik for 2 nights on an Icelandair stopover coming home from Copenhagen & did the Golden Circle tour.

Next Sept I'm doing a cruise that stays over from 1 pm one day until 6 pm the next & wonder if there's any way I can do the South shore in the allotted time. Any opinions please?

TIA & I must say I really enjoyed the Golden Circle with GeoIceland.

 

~ Jo ~ 😊

Another option would be to book a rental car and lodging for that one night.  Leaving port at 1-2PM you should be able to get to Vik before dark, and see the two waterfalls on the south coast and Solheimjokull glacier on your way.  Leave your lodging early the next morning (and I mean EARLY) and head east to Skaftafell to see the glaciers there.  Head back to Reykjavik to see anything else you may have missed, if you have time. 

 

It's about 6 1/2 hours of pure driving from Vik to do that, or you can stay the night in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, and cut about 45 minutes off of the second day drive.

 

If that amount of driving seems daunting, then just stay in Vik or Kirkjubæjarklaustur and turn back to Reykjavik on the second morning to shave 2 - 2 1/2 hours off of the drives mentioned.

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Hi all!

 

Thank you to Turtles06 & Nitemare for your helpful hints. The only places I really want to see are Vik & the black sand beach/pillars. Maybe a private or reduced tour would do as I wouldn't feel comfortable driving solo in Iceland the day before 4 sea days. Too bad I didn't stay one day longer last time but I was anxious to get home & Iceland is a pretty expensive place to stay. Woulda, coulda, shoulda eh?!!

 

Have a nice weekend.

 

~ Jo ~ 😊

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I am looking at a pre cruise 3 night stay with guided all day tours on day 2 & 3.

 

Do you need local currency?

 

Or, can a pin & chip credit card be used for everything?

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just back from 7 days in Iceland, only time we needed currency was to tip a guide (he'd have taken USD) and for an honor box for a pay toilet (also accepts dollars).

 

Plastic everywhere else!

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