The unique properties of gold nanoparticles have stimulated the increasing interest in the application of GNPs in interfacing biological recognition events with signal transduction and in designing biosensing devices exhibiting novel functions. The optical properties of GNPs provide wide range opportunities for construction optical biosensors. The excellent biocompatibility, conductivity, catalytic properties and high surface-to-volume ratio and high density of GNPs facilitate extensive application of GNPs in construction of electrochemical and piezoelectric biosensors with enhanced analytical performance with respect to other biosensor designs. In this article, the recent advances in construction of GNP-based optical, electrochemical and piezoelectric biosensors are reviewed, and some illustrative examples given, with a focus on the roles GNPs play in the biosensing process and the mechanism of GNPs for improving the analytical performances. Finally, the review concludes with an outline of present and future research for the real-world applications.