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One day in Iceland--How much time to allow for Blue Lagoon and Golden Circle Route

My wife and I will be doing a 24 hour layover in Iceland this summer. Our flight lands at 6:30am at KEF Airport. We will then be renting a car and dropping our items off at our hotel (which is right by the airport). We then have 24 hours to explore Iceland before our flight leaves the next morning at 7:40am. The 2 main items on our list are 1) Drive the Golden Circle Route and 2) Blue Lagoon.

Being that we only have one day, I want to make sure to allow enough time for both to get the most of out my 24 hours. Now due to the fact that our hotel is right by the airport (which is near Blue Lagoon), I am thinking that we will start our day by driving the Golden Circle Route while it's still day out and then we can end our day relaxing in the Blue Lagoon at night.

Now obviously everyone's experience various driving the Golden Circle Route depending on how long they decide to stop at the various locations. But what is your best guess at the "typical" amount of hours it takes to drive the Golden Circle Route, with of course taking some time to stop at all the major attractions for some photo's, etc. We will also need to grab lunch at some point on the trip. I'm just not sure

Then for the Blue Lagoon..I see it closes at 9pm, what is the time that we should plan on getting there in order to allow enough time to enjoy our experience? I'm sure we could spend an entire day there, but we don't have that luxury, but we plan on getting the most basic package and getting as much as of the experience we can without cutting the Golden Circle Route Short.

Right now here is my "tentative" Plan.
-Arrive at the airport at 6:30am
-Rent our car and check into the hotel and be ready to hit the road by 8am
-Drive the Golden Circle Route (with a stop for lunch and maybe dinner) and be done by around 4pm
-Arrive at Blue Lagoon around 5pm (stay for about 2-3 hours)

Any help would be great!

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76 posts

You should have no problem doing this tour. Our flight arrived early in the morning too, we picked up the rental car and drove the Golden Circle tour. There's a cafeteria and gift shop right across the street from the Geysir area to get a quick meal. The weather was nice so we took our time seeing the sights. We checked into our apartment in Reykjavik at about 5PM, so total time on the road was about 10 hours.

You should have plenty of time to enjoy the Blue Lagoon. We did the Blue Lagoon on the morning of another day and did the "standard" and were in the water about an hour. We maybe would've stayed a bit longer if we were there at the end of the day but we had more things to see. We also spent some time taking pictures of the lagoon and the pools of water outside of the entrance so total time was about 2 hours. Since you will be there in the summer it will not be dark during your time in the lagoon.

I assume you will be returning home through Keflavik. Will your layover be long enough to take a bus tour to the Blue Lagoon ? This would then allow you to spend some time and have dinner in Reykjavik after the Golden Circle tour your first night and still get to visit the Blue Lagoon on your way home.

If you haven't booked your flights I would recommend spending more time in Iceland. We were only there for three days and I could've easily spent two weeks. To do this I had to cut some time out of Germany and France but it was an easy trade-off since I know I will be going back to those countries.