14 x Diamond Circle Iceland: Húsavík, Ásbyrgi, Dettifoss & Mývatn

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14 x Diamond Circle Iceland: Húsavík, Ásbyrgi, Dettifoss & Mývatn

10 maart 2020 in Iceland0 reacties

The Diamond Circle is a 260 kilometers route that takes you along the most beautiful places in Northern-Iceland. The counterpart of the popular Golden Circle is much less known by the general public but is definitely just as beautiful (or even more beautiful). You can discover the most memorable views and landscapes of the entire country here. We already listed some must-do stops for your Diamond Circle tour.

Drive yourself or join an organized tour and enjoy the breathtaking nature!


Tours and excursions Myvatn and Diamond Circle

  1. Dettifoss, Selfoss and Hafragilsfoss waterfall

The Dettifoss waterfall is 44 m high and up to 100 m wide. It is the most powerful waterfall in Iceland. The area around Dettifoss is part of the Jökulsárgljúfur (glacial river gorge) area. From the car park to the waterfall, it is about a 1 km walk to the view point from which to see the 100 meter wide Dettifoss waterfall.

From the Dettifoss waterfall, you can walk a 1.5 km-long trail to another waterfall situated more upstream, the Selfoss waterfall (not to be confused with Selfoss town!)
Do you want to visit yet another waterfall? A little farther downstream from Dettifoss, you can find the 27-m-high cascade called Hafragilsfoss. This one is harder to reach and only for adventurers who are in good shape and want to defy some steep climbs.

  1. Hljóðaklettar troll rock

In Hljóðaklettar, you can find beautiful columnar rock formations and get lost in a labyrinth of caves and rock castles. There is a well-marked trail through the area that goes clockwise. It brings you past Tröllid (“troll rock”) and leads you to the other echo rocks. Allow about two hours for this hike.

  1. Hoof-shaped Ásbyrgi Canyon

The Ásbyrgi (“the gods’ fortress”) Canyon is 3.5 km long and approximately 1.1 km wide. The steep walls are about 100 m high. In the middle of the canyon, you can climb the 25-metre-high Eyjan (“the Island”) rock, where you will have a spectacular view of the surroundings. When you visit the canyon, you will immediately understand why the elves have chosen Ásbyrgi as their capital. According to legend, the gap is the hoof print of the horse of the Viking god Odin, which stumbled here.

Keep about 1.5 hours in mind for the visit to the canyon. Start your walk from the visitors center, Gljúfrastofa, open 1 May–30 September.

  1. Whale watching in Húsavík

Húsavík is located on the Skjálfandi bay, often called the whale capital of Iceland. The 2,500 inhabitants live mainly from fishery and tourism. You will find a few restaurants and one supermarket. It is the ideal base for whale-watching tours. The tours leave from the local harbour, not far from the beautiful church, which dates from 1907. Book your tour online and enjoy a wonderful experience to see the worlds biggest mammal. Did you know that there is a 95% chance to spot whales here? Nowhere in the world are the chances so high!

  1. Góðafoss waterfall

Goðafoss (“waterfall of the gods”) got its name in the year 1000, when Iceland changed from its old Ásatrú religion to Christianity. With this Christianization, Thorgeir Ljósvetningagoði threw the images of the Viking gods into the waterfall, symbolizing that he rejected the old religion. You can visit the waterfalls from both the western and the eastern shores. The western side is most easily reached from the car park. For the viewing platform on the eastern shore, you have to take a short walk of 1 km from the restaurant until the bridge. As a reward, you’ll get the best view! Fancy even more waterfalls in Iceland?

  1. Elves and the Elf stone in Laugar

For anyone who wants to get off the traditional tourist path and wants to know more about elves, then Laugar is the ideal place. You can climb up a hill in search of a sacred stone: the Elf Stone. Rocks are not just rocks to Icelanders—they believe the rocks are inhabited by elves who are connected with the forces of Mother Earth.

Elves are recognized, honoured, and respected in Iceland. They are an essential element of faith and life here. For example, when a new road is constructed, it must first be determined whether or not it passes through an elven region. If so, then the road is constructed around the area in question.

  1. Víti crater in Krafla

The volcanic Krafla region was last active from 1975 to 1984. From the parking lot, you can walk to the Víti crater on a walkway. Along the way you have a beautiful view of the Krafla power station, which you can visit during the summer months. The Víti crater is filled with water and was formed after a volcanic eruption in 1724.

If you have enough time, take a walk to the colourful Leirhnjúkur. You can walk on the lava, which is still hot. In some places the lava is even too hot to touch, so make sure to stay on the path if you do not want your shoes to melt.

  1. Mud pots Hveraröndor Hverir/Námaskarð

The mud pots of Hverir, along with the typical sulphur smells that will reach your nose once you step out of the car, makes you feel like you’re on another planet. If you look around, it’s not difficult to understand why there are no plants growing here.

  1. Grjótagjá lava cave

Inside Grjótagjá, there is a hot spring with crystal-clear blue water. In the first half of the 18th century the outlaw Jón Markússon lived here. Until the 1970s Grjótagjá was a popular seaside resort. After several volcanic eruptions in the neighbourhood, the temperature of the water has increased to 40° C, making it too hot to bathe there (It is forbidden).

There are two entrances to the cave. In some places the ceiling is low, so watch your head. Bring your own flashlight when visiting the cave in the evening. Also make a short climb to the top of the cave; there is a large crack in the rock, which is quite impressive.

Fun fact: Grjótagjá can be seen in season 3 of Game of Thrones. Here Jon Snow allied with Ygritte.

  1. Hverfjall crater

The Hverfjall crater was created about 2,500 years ago and is about 1 km in diameter, 312 m high and 140 m deep. You can climb the crater starting from the car park. From the top, you will have a spectacular view of the surroundings. It can sometimes be very windy, causing ashes to fly around. Eye protection is highly recommended

  1. Dimmuborgir lava fields

Dimmuborgir emerged after an eruption of the Þrengslaborgir and Lúdentsborgir volcanoes. In Dimmuborgir (“dark castles”), the lava stream ended up in a small lake. While lava flowed over marshy land, water began to boil from the swamps, and steam began to spray from pipe-shaped pillars of lava. When the lava reached the increasingly lower ground near Mývatn, the top layer of lava began to crack. The pillars, however, remained standing upright. You’ll find lava formations that make you think of castles or churches. There is a walkway constructed around the main formations, including the “church” and the “hollow".

Dimmuborgir also has an important place in folklore. According to the stories, the region connects earth and hell. In Norwegian and Nordic Christian mythology, this is the place where the devil landed when he was exiled from heaven. It is told he founded here the Catacombs of Hell. The Norwegian black metal group Dimmu Borgir was named after these rocks. Listen to their mysterious songs.

  1. Höfði rock formations and Mývatn lake

Mývatn (“mosquito lake”) is known for its large colonies of water birds. From the Höfði Nature Park, where you can see one of the few forests in Iceland, you can also visit the Kálfastrandavogar rock formations. These are located near the road to the Kálfaströnd farm. This short walk will take you to some bizarre lava rock formations

  1. Mývatn Nature Bath

Mývatn Nature Bath, the counterpart of the Blue Lagoon in southern Iceland. These natural hot water baths can be found in Jardbadsholar. Enjoy the remarkable environment and tje naturally healing water. Rich in minerals, silicates and geothermal micro-organisms. Ideal for unwinding after a day exploring North Iceland.

  1. Skútustaðir pseudo craters

The Skútustaðir pseudo craters are, as the name suggests, not real craters, but hills that arose after explosions of steam beneath the lava flow. The short walk around the pond can be done in one hour. Some of the pseudo craters can be climbed. In the summer months there are lots of mosquitoes in the area, especially when you get close to the water, so be prepared.

  1. Where to stay in Iceland? (with discount)

Looking for a place to stay during your time in Iceland? It is best to book your accommodation in advance. It is hard to find one last minute!


  1. Don't miss out on anything during your stay in Iceland, get our travel guide!

Like most of us, you don't want to miss out on anything during your vacation in Iceland. Well, we have some good news, because we already did the research for you! Buy our Iceland travel guide with 99 sights (+ GPS coordinates) and a mapped tour. Prefer to try it out first? Download your free Iceland travel guide here.


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Posted by

Wouter Coppens

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