Gullfoss Falls from below with moss covered cliffs either side

Considering A Golden Circle Tour? Here Are 9 Of The Best In 2022!

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Everyone wants to experience Iceland’s main attractions, but how do you go about taking a Golden Circle Tour? Whether you’re most excited about seeing Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir or Thingvellir, there’s a perfect tour for you. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best tours you can take so that you don’t have to sift through hundreds of terrible companies!

Iceland is an incredible country and there is so much to see and do. One of the most popular activities is to visit the Golden Circle and it’s easy to see why!

Only a short drive away from Reykjavik and the airport, the Golden Circle gives the opportunity for most travellers to get their adventures started as soon as they are settled. Book your airport shuttle here so that there’s one thing less to worry about when you arrive!

Strokkur geyser erupting with water 30m in the air, pink and blue sky
It’s not every day that you see steam spouting out of the ground!

Most tours start in Reykjavik, so once you’ve got your first day admin over and done with and you’re beating your jet lag, it’s a great way to begin your trip. Or, you could take a tour at the end of your trip and leave Iceland on a huge high!

There are different types of Golden Circle tour. Some only take you to see the 3 main attractions, whilst others add on extra parts to the day.

Each tour is different in its own way so this post is here to guide you to deciding which you prefer! Read on to see the full list of the best Golden Circle tours in Iceland.

Choose The Best Golden Circle Tour Here!

These top tours have been carefully chosen because of their high review rating, value for money and obviously how fun they are!

Take a look at the best 8 Golden Circle tours in Iceland, pick your favourite and book now!

Pro Tip

When comparing tours, look at the reviews by other travellers. A tour company might sell it to you well but if previous customers aren’t happy for a specific reason then it’s a red flag.

Sometimes people complain about nothing, and sometimes people’s expectations are different to yours so read reviews with a pinch of salt but also take their opinions into consideration .

Full Day Golden Circle Tour (With Kerid Crater)

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 8 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes (extra charge)
  • Age Suitable For: 2+ (but consider length of tour)
  • Best For: Those who don’t want to stray too far from the Golden Circle

Click here to check availability and prices

Blue lake in crater surrounded by red rock
It’s like being on the moon!

No trip to Iceland is complete with a visit to the Golden Circle. This tour visits each of the three famous spots and also takes a short detour to another cool attraction.

You can choose a starting time from 8am, 9am or 10.30am so you can sleep in a little bit if you need to!

You can also decide on whether you need to be picked up or not. If your hotel is close to the pickup point then you can save some money on getting there yourself. Reykjavik isn’t huge so this should be easy.

Walk to the pickup point or get a bus. For short trips, buses are convenient and low-cost (just not good value for money!)

Kerid is a cool volcanic crater lake located only 40 minutes from Thingvellir National Park, so it isn’t an added extra that will take away time from the main activity.

It’s on private land but the entrance fee is included in the tour cost so you won’t need to worry about paying extra.

There are a few crater lakes nearby but this is the one you want to see as it’s so pretty! The contrasting red rock with the bright blue water is beautiful to look at and take awesome pictures of!

Alternatively, you could book the same tour as above but with a visit to the Blue Lagoon as well!

Click here to see prices

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From Reykjavik: Golden Circle Express Tour

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 7.5 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes (extra chaarge)
  • Age Suitable For: Any age (under 11s free)
  • Best For: If you don’t want any added activities to your tour

Click here to check availability and prices

If you ONLY want to visit the famous Golden Circle, with no other stops at all then this is the tour for you.

It’s a great trip because you are obviously still seeing the Golden Circle, but you aren’t taken to anywhere extra that you might not be interested in.

There IS an option to add in a transfer to the Blue Lagoon if you want, but if you are doing that then I’d recommend this tour instead.

You’ll get a comfortable seat on the bus, with free WiFi and a USB port onboard.

The time in between drives isn’t huge but being able to access the internet in a different country can sometimes be difficult if you don’t buy a local sim card so enjoy it!

There’s also a handy audio guide that you can tune into – choose from 10 languages – as well as a live tour guide sharing local knowledge and advice. Bring your own headphones though if you want to avoid added fees.

You have the option to add a hotel pickup to this tour which is good if you are staying in accommodation far from where the tour actually begins.

Click here to save your space

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From Reykjavik: Golden Circle and Snowmobile Tour

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 11 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes (extra charge)
  • Age Suitable For: 6+ (only licenced drivers can drive)
  • Best For: Those who want an adrenaline rush!

Click here to check availability and prices

Snowmobiling on a glacier has got to be on your Iceland bucket list! On this tour, you’ll experience the Golden Circle and then start an adventure!

You’ll get to ride along to Europe’s second-largest glacier in a super truck with huge tyres custom made to adapt to the crazy terrain.

Once you get to Langjökull, you’ll gear up in some sexy overalls and a helmet and be given a quick lesson on driving a snowmobile.

It’s okay if you haven’t driven one before – the chances are that no one has! It’s also okay if you don’t want to drive but you want to enjoy the experience.

One person can drive the whole way there and back if you’d prefer. When we went, Kev drove both ways because I was a bit nervous!

Make sure you dress appropriately because you don’t want to be thinking about how cold you are when you’re meant to be having fun! Wrap up with decent gloves and a hat, and waterproofs are a good idea too.

Pro Tip

Don’t leave your action camera at home! If you’re snowmobiling with a partner, the passenger can take some really cool pictures and videos if they’re confident enough. It takes a few minutes to get used to holding on with one hand but it can be done!

Or, buy a chest strap like this or one of these head mounts for some really cool footage! The gear isn’t expensive at all either which is great is you’re travelling on a budget.

Click here to check availability and prices for this tour

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From Reykjavik: Golden Circle and Whale Watching Tour

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 10 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Best For: Animal lovers

Click here to check availability and prices

Whales are such beautiful creatures so you can’t miss a chance to spot one when you’re in Iceland. After your Golden Circle experience, which in itself is awesome, you’ll be returned to Reykjavik’s harbour for the next part of your tour.

The whales you should be looking out for are humpbacks and minke whales.

You might also even see a couple of white-beaked dolphins or harbour porpoises! You can take a quick look in the whale watching centre before your cruise to learn a little about the animals and their habitat too.

The boat itself has been adapted for these types of whale watching tours, and has toilets and a small cafe area if you need some snacks.

You’ll be on the boat for around 3 hours so be sure that you’re comfortable with being at sea before you book this tour!

What is great about this tour is that if you don’t see any whales, the company will give you another tour FOR FREE!

The fact that the company are so confident about seeing whales is amazing and it means that you’ll more than likely come away a very happy customer!

Click here to get your seat

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Reykjavik: Golden Circle & River Rafting Tour)

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 10 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Best For: Those who fancy a swim in icy water!

Click here to check availability and prices

Group of people white water rafting in frothy water
Do you think you could handle the rapids?

Here’s something a little different – taking in the beautiful scenery of the Golden Circle and then jumping to a raft to experience the freezing rapids.

You’ll visit Thingvellir National Park, Geysir and the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, and then for the extra fun! For 4 miles, you can float along the River Hvita. There will be some fun rapids along the way too – but don’t worry, they’re manageable even for a beginner!

Once you’ve finished your Golden Circle experience, you’ll be able to grab a nice hot shower or spend some time in a sauna before heading back to your accommodation.

The only things you’ll need to bring are your swimming gear (including a towel!) and some snacks! There will be stops on the way for you to either eat your own or buy lunch.

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Golden Circle + Secret Lagoon

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 8 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Best For: People who want to relax during their tour

Click here to check availability and prices

Enjoy a complimentary pickup service from your hotel or the nearest pickup location and be driven to 3 of the most famous spots in Iceland.

Spend the morning marvelling at Gullfoss Falls, the Geysir geothermal area and Thingvellier National Park, and then make your way to the Secret Lagoon.

Bathe in one of the oldest natural geothermal pools in the country in waters hovering at around 38°C – 40°C (100°F – 104°F).

There are also a couple of hot springs nearby that you can take a walk to once you’ve had enough time in the pool.

Remember to bring swimwear for the lagoon! The Secret Lagoon does offer rental but you’re better off bringing your own.

This tour includes the admission price to the lagoon as well as towel rental, so you don’t have to lug one around for the whole day.

You can buy drinks and snacks here but there is no full restaurant.

Pro Tip

You are required to shower before you enter the lagoon – naked. In Iceland this is really normal and people can take offence if you don’t as you’ll be considered dirty! Be free and open, and leave your inhibitions at the airport!

Click here for more details + prices

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Golden Circle + Northern Lights 4×4 Tour

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 10 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Best For: People interested in seeing the Northern Lights

Click here to check availability and prices

This is a great tour if you want to experience the gorgeous Northern Lights!

You’ll be picked up for your 4×4 tour at the designated time in the afternoon before exploring Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir.

You’ll be taken around the famous Golden Circle in your comfortable 4×4 and learn about the incredible geology of the country.

Once it gets dark, you’ll go on the hunt for the elusive Northern Lights – you have a higher chance of seeing them with his tour as you’ll leave the bright lights of the towns and cities!

Click here for more details + prices

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Golden Circle With Blue Lagoon Visit + Entry

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 11 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 2+
  • Best For: If you’re going to visit the Blue Lagoon anyway! Admission, 1 drink and towel use are included

Click here to check availability and prices

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, and it’s easy to see why.

The silky aquamarine blue pool invites you to step in and enjoy a steam room, a sauna and a man-made waterfall. Swim around for a couple of hours and relax in the geothermally heated water.

Soak in waters reaching temperatures of 38°C – 40°C (100°F – 104°F) and be treated to a complimentary mud mask that truly will rejuvenate your skin!

With your admission price, you also get a free drink that you collect from the swim-up bar. I have to say that drinking a cold glass of Prosecco in the Blue Lagoon was a highlight of my trip!

You don’t need to bring a towel either as that will be provided – just bring a warm change of clothes and a swimsuit.

There is a shop at the exit of the Blue Lagoon where you can buy some great Icelandic souvenirs such as mud masks, towels and even jewellery.

However, you can buy their skincare range from the airport if you run out of time.

Click here to book your tickets now.

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Golden Circle + Silfra Snorkelling (Small Group Tour)

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 9 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Best For: Water lovers + those who want to do something a little more unique!

Click here to check availability and prices

Looking for a bit more of a challenge in your Golden Circle adventure? Then this is the tour for you.

If you only take one tour in your whole Iceland trip, I would recommend it to be this one as you really can’t do something like this anywhere else in the world!

You’ll be taken to the classic Golden Circle sights and finish this part of the trip at Thingvellir National Park.

Here is where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet which is an amazing thing to see in itself.

Your day is about to get much more exciting though, as you snorkel in between the two plates in some of the clearest water in the world!

Snorkelling usually brings images of tropical seas to mind, so taking a dip in Iceland’s waters might not seem appealing.

Don’t worry though because although the water temperatures are around 2°C (35°F), you’ll be provided with dry suits to help combat the cold.

All of your snorkelling gear is included, and you’ll get a certified guide to assist you in any way you need.

Bring a warm change of clothes and remember that if you usually wear glasses, you should bring contact lenses to wear under the snorkel mask.

Click here for more information + prices

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What Is The Golden Circle?

The Golden Circle is the epitome of Iceland. There are three parts to it and they’re all within 70km of each other. Driving an hour to see the most famous attractions in Iceland is not a bad way to spend the day!

Thingvellir National Park

Iceland is full of interesting history and culture, and no place shows this more than Thingvellir (or Þingvellir National Park)!

The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the location of the first parliamentary meetings in Iceland.

There’s a visitor centre full of information, as well as plaques dotted around the park sharing Iceland’s early stories.

It’s also the place where two tectonic plates sit next to each other. There’s a small area where the plates actually split, and you can dive and snorkel this immaculate water!

Thingvellir also houses two campsites which have toilets, laundry and barbecue facilities.


The famous hot spring Geysir sits in the middle of the Golden Circle route. It’s actually the hot spring that gave all other geysers their name, but it’s pretty inactive now so the chances that you’ll see it erupt are incredibly low.

However, there is another powerful spring in the same geothermal area that is something you can’t miss.

Strokkur erupts every few minutes and can reach heights of up to 40 metres! It’s really mesmerising to watch and you won’t feel like you’ve missed out by not seeing Geysir!

Strokkur geyser erupting
Strokkur Geysir is one of the highlights of the Golden Circle tour

Gullfoss Falls

This powerful waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in the whole of Iceland. There are two great drops, but the entire waterfall is surrounded by cliffs of around 70 metres.

To see Gullfoss, you’ll be standing on the paths above it and you can look down into the canyon.

The roaring sound and the hefty sprays actually make it a really fun place to visit! In the winter, the paths around the waterfall can get super slippery (as at most waterfalls in Iceland) so make sure that your shoes have a decent enough grip.

There’s a souvenir shop and a restaurant in the car park.

Gullfoss waterfall cascading into a canyon blue skies, green grass surrounding it with a rainbow
Gullfoss Falls are one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland

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Why You Should Take A Golden Circle Tour

Many people often think that these types of tours are unnecessary but here are a few reasons why a guided tour of the Golden Circle might be best for you:

You Can’t Drive

This is a huge factor in deciding on whether to take a tour or not. In Iceland, most people hire a car and drive around themselves.

It’s a fantastic way to see the country but if you can’t drive then that option is a no-go. Taking tours in Iceland is really easy and it makes it accessible for those without driving licences.

You can take public transport to some places in Iceland but it’s not necessarily reliable or comfortable.

The risk of being stuck in somewhere in Iceland is more dangerous than so many other places because of the crazy weather. It’s better to have a designated driver who won’t leave without you in case of any drama!

Thingvellir Canyon
You really don’t want to miss out on views like this just because you don’t drive!

You Aren’t Comfortable Driving In Iceland

Another huge influence on booking a tour over driving is your confidence on the roads. Iceland has one main road, Route 1, winding all the way round it (the ring road).

It’s usually well-maintained but there are some sketchy parts that you might breeze over in your home country, but panic on whilst you’re abroad.

You have to be sure that you’re absolutely comfortable driving in another country before renting a car in Iceland.

This is particularly good advice for people from the UK, Australia, New Zealand – basically anyone who drives on the left at home! In Iceland, you’ll be driving on the right so if that doesn’t sound like something you’d be happy doing, then consider booking tours for your trip instead.

You Don’t Want To Drive In Winter

This is similar to the point above but a lot more important. The weather in Iceland can be wild.

The wind, rain and snow like to have a bit of fun especially in the winter, so you have got to be extra careful.

Not only that, but you’re only going to get a maximum of around 4 – 5 hours of daylight if you visit Iceland from November to January.

It’s not really recommended to drive anywhere in Iceland in the dark but sometimes plans change and you need to be sure that you COULD do it if you had to.

Don’t sacrifice your safety to save a bit of money – stick to booking tours if you’re not 100% confident.

You Want To Learn From A Tour Guide

Taking a tour doesn’t just mean that you are driven around to see cool things and then dropped back at your hotel.

It also means that you get a live tour guide, giving you tips, advice and mini lessons on all things Iceland.

If you are interested in learning a little more about Iceland and its history + culture, then I recommend booking a tour.

You can ask them any questions you have about different parts of your trip too.

Plus, they’re going to be local to the area so you’ll definitely hear some fun stories and get secret tips about the country!

Blue pool of water with erupting geyser in background
Watching these geysers is just fascinating and you can learn a lot from your tour guide

You’re Travelling Solo In Iceland

If you’re travelling by yourself, it could get a bit lonely driving around Iceland and enjoying its main attractions on your own.

One of the best things about a tour is that you get to meet like-minded people who you can chat to and socialise with. It’s also quite common to meet other solo travellers who you can share accommodation with further on in your trip if you haven’t booked ahead.

Another reason that tours are great for solo travellers is that they provide a bit of a safety net.

Some people (myself included!) would be a little nervous travelling around a new country on their own, so a tour is a great way to feel comfortable and secure.

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Things To Remember When Taking A Golden Circle Tour

Whilst all tours will differ, you should at least have some idea of what to expect and what your money should get you.

It would be awful if you booked a tour thinking food was included and it wasn’t, or you had to bring special clothing and weren’t allowed on the tour without it.

Touring the Golden Circle isn’t difficult, and most tours don’t require any special additions you have to think of.

large geyser erupting with huge spout of water
Look at this beauty!

Here are the main things that you should think about when you book a tour:

A Live Guide

Most tours are given in English. There are a few that run with guides who speak in another language, but you’d have to specifically find those ones. However, the tour buses generally have audio guides and you can often select from up to 10 languages.

If English isn’t your first language, see if a tour runs in your native one first. You can then check or email the company for more information about the audio guides if you’re unsure.


As a general rule of thumb, any tour that you take in the whole of Iceland will not include food or drinks.

It’s not a huge problem though because we always advise stocking up on items like bread, sandwich fillers and crisps as a local supermarket instead. You’ll save a lot of money this way.

However, tours will always stop somewhere that you can buy a meal so you won’t ever go starving!

Also, some tours give out free cookies and hot chocolate at the end of the day which is a nice touch!

Pick Up

You do have to check to see whether pickup is included in the price of your tour because this does depend on the company.

Often, you’ll be able to pay a small fee to be picked up from your hotel or a nearby designated spot.

If you know which tours you’re going to take, I would recommend booking your hotels specifically at or near the pickup points to make your life easier!

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The Best Time To Take A Golden Circle Tour In Iceland

You’ll be happy to know that there isn’t really a best season for Golden Circle tours, if you’re only going to see the 3 main attractions.

Obviously, if you pick a tour that has an added visit then you need to do tour-specific research to see when the best time to go is.

Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir are open all year round, whatever the weather, so you will always be able to see them.

Flowing waterfalls into rocks
There is so much to see along the Golden Circle

The only exception would be if there was a crazy natural disaster and they were closed for the safety of the public! That’s not something you can predict though, so book your tour as soon as you decide to come to Iceland!

I would say that in the winter, the area surrounding Gullfoss where you walk is really slippery, misty and chilly.

If you or someone you’re travelling with has difficulties walking, or you are visiting Iceland with kids,  then be aware that you’ll have to take extra care.

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Where To Stay In Reykjavik

All of the tours I mentioned above begin in Reykjavik. That means it’s really easy to get to the pickup points in the morning if you need to, plus it’s a great city to stay in!

There is a wide range of accommodation in the capital, from pod hostels to modest guesthouses and luxury apartments.

Best Budget Accommodation In Reykjavik

Hotels in Iceland are notoriously high in price. However, if you spend enough time looking and book well in advance then you can get some good deals.

Just remember that a budget hostel in Iceland is not going to cost anywhere near the same as a budget hostel in Thailand!


This cute hotel has everything a budget traveller would ever need. Private rooms with a city view, free WiFi AND complimentary breakfast – you’d be mad to miss this gem.

Click here to check room prices and availability

Best Mid-Range Accommodation In Reykjavik

If you’re travelling to Iceland with a little more money in your pocket and comfort in mind, then there are plenty of perfect hotels and guesthouses to suit you. I’d recommend staying in the heart of the city for the best experience!

Reykjavik Treasure B&B

This cute and charming bed and breakfast is only a 5 minute walk from the main shopping street of Laugavegur.

The bright rooms have a modern yet rustic feel to them, and are kitted out with free toiletries and a flatscreen TV for those lazy days. You’re also treated to an amazing Icelandic breakfast each morning!

Click here to book your room

Best Accommodation For Groups

When you’re travelling with more than 4 people, the cost of booking individual rooms can add up quite quickly. Choosing an apartment has many perks that will make your stay a lot easier and cheaper.

They’ll have a kitchen so you can buy your food at a local supermarket and cook up your own meals.

They also have a shared space so in the evenings you can chill as a group rather than retreating to your own rooms or huddling around on one bed!

Thomsen Apartments

The perfect space for bigger groups, Thomsen Apartments are easily accessible with self-check in and a great location.

There’s plenty of space to relax and enjoy your downtime, and each apartment offers fantastic city views!

Click here to check apartment availability

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What To Wear

The most important thing to consider when packing for Iceland is how you can bring lots of layers! We’ve got a great packing list for Iceland that gives you the important items you need to remember for your whole trip.

However, when you’re on your tour you obviously won’t need to take everything with you. It also depends on the season but I would advise wearing more clothes than you think you’ll need because you can always take stuff off and leave it on the bus if you need to.

Choose a pair of warm socks like these which will keep you warm even if you’re out snowmobiling!

You should also think about buying some high quality gloves – these ones are excellent at keeping the warmth in and the water out! Even if you’re visiting Iceland in summer, you don’t want to have soggy hands!

A decent weatherproof jacket is a good idea to invest in and bring on a Golden Circle tour because you’ll be outside a lot so you don’t want to be exposed to the crazy Icelandic elements.

If you’re visiting a lagoon or doing any kind of swimming on your tour then don’t forget a nice swimsuit!

You’ve got so many options if you’re buying a swimming costume, with loads of bright colours available and even suits made from recyclable materials! If you’re wearing trunks instead, you can choose from some really cool patterns.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you take a self drive Golden Circle tour?

Absolutely! If you are able to drive and you have rented a car in Iceland (we recommend always hiring a 4×4) then you can visit every spot in the Golden Circle yourself. The only downside to this would be if you got tired of driving, especially if you wanted to do some of the extra activities mentioned above.

Where does a Golden Circle tour go?

A basic tour will take you to Gullfoss Falls, Geysir (a geothermal hot spring area) and Thingvellir National Park. However, there are lots of different tour companies who have added on extra locations or activities to make the tour a little bit different from their competitors.

How long is a Golden Circle tour?

From Reykjavik, it takes about an hour to get to Thingvellir National Park. Geysir is about a 45 minute drive away, and then it only takes 10 more minutes to get to Gullfoss.  A tour will usually take from around 7 hours for a basic trip, to up to 13 hours if you’re visiting other attractions. You’ll probably spend around 30 – 45 minutes in each location depending on the tour guide and the group.

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Are you planning on taking a Golden Circle tour? Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!

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Thingvellir Silfra Canyon Pinterest

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