Diamond circle

Diamond circle

The Diamond Circle can be described as a magnificent circuit of 250km in the Northeast of Iceland, which includes some of the most stunning sights and spots for unearthly landscapes.

The Diamond Circle has 5 key destinations which include the historical and picturesque Goðafoss, the unearthly blue and green landscapes of Lake Mývatn nature paradise, the uncontrollable white energy of Dettifoss the most powerful waterfall of Europe, the crescent-shaped wonder of Ásbyrgi canyon and Húsavík the buzzing whale capital of Iceland with the deep blue seas ahead.

The Diamond Circle offers even more. Discover the astonishing valley of Vesturdalur with the bizarre rock formations of Hljóðaklettar; the otherworldly volcanic fields of Krafla, the geothermal area of Hverir and the black lava formation at Dimmuborgir. 

On the Diamond Circle, you could even find some of the hidden corners and forgotten spaces which are just as surprising as the most famous ones: The beautiful Tjörnes peninsula which hides fossils and bird nests,  the lush valley of Hólmatungur and the lesser-known locations around Mývatn such as the circular explosion crater Hverfjall and the turquoise warm pool in Grjótagjá.


The Diamond Circle truly is not only a circuit of 250km. It is the chance for an epic and unforgettable adventure that is waiting for you. 

Goðafoss waterfall

The Goðafoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters.

In the year 1000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After his conversion Þorgeir threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall. Goðafoss Watefall is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle https://www.northiceland.is/diamondcircle.

Mývatn

Mývatn offers a unique natural environment. With large contrasts and short distances, you can experience the most and the best that Iceland has to offer. Large open spaces with roads and walkways lead travelers to unworldly locations, where volcanic eruptions have played a crucial role in the formation of the landscape. Whether the plan is to enjoy the landscape, examine unique natural phenomena or take a closer look at the pant and birdlife, Mývatn has it all. Furthermore, the area offers a variety of services in accommodation, food, and entertainment, based on years of experience and knowledge. A large number of travelers visit Mývatn in the summer, but many believe the lake and its surroundings to be no less impressive in the wintertime.

Mývatn is the 4th largest lake in Iceland, 37 km2 in area. Its shores are indented with many coves and inlets and its surface is dotted with around 50 small islets and skerries. Midges (Chironomidae) are abundant and the ubiquitous swarms of these tiny flies give the Lake its name.

The lake itself is very shallow, and the rays of the sun reach the lake bed over its entire surface. The ecology of the lake area is extremely diverse and interesting; one important characteristic of Mývatn, being the prolific growth and abundance of freshwater seaweed. On the bed of the lake are great quantities of diatoms, while, nearer the surface, Mývatn's famous arctic char weave their way between aquatic plants and little islets topped with fertile vegetation. 

On and around the lake there is a teeming and varied birdlife, and Mývatn is the habitat of many kinds of lake and marsh birds. However, much of Mývatn's fame is due to the fact that, during summer, there are more different species of duck gathered on and around the lake than anywhere else in the world. Mývatn is a legally protected conservation area and appears on the register of internationally important wetlands, along with the Laxá river which flows out of the lake.

Ásbyrgi canyon

Ásbyrgi is one of the wonders of nature, a well forested horse-shoe shaped canyon in Oxarfjordur. Asbyrgi is a part of Jökulsárgljúfur, within the Vatnajökull National Park. The Jökulsárgljúfur site of the National park reaches from highway 85, by Ásbyrgi south to Dettifoss, covering an area of 120 km2. Informative visitors centre, shop, golf course and camping is located by Ásbyrgi.
Many hiking tracks are in the vicinity of Ásbyrgi. Ásbyrgi canyon is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle https://www.northiceland.is/diamondcircle.

Húsavík

Húsavík is the oldest settlement in Iceland, besides being the largest town in Þingeyjarsýsla district and the service centre for the surrounding area. The town is known for whale watching tours in Skjálfandi Bay and called the Whale Capital. Up to 23 species of whale, including the Blue Whale, as well as large colonies of puffins can be found in the bay. One can experience the gigantic life-size of whales in the local Whale Museum where, amongst others, a 22m long skeleton of a Blue Whale is on display. There are several whale watching companies to choose from in Húsavík, and a sail through the ocean waves in pursuit of these wonderful creatures is an experience no one should miss and will certainly never be forgotten.

The Museum House at Húsavík, as the inhabitants of the district call their cultural centre, houses part of the South Þingeyjarsýsla District Museum, a maritime museum, natural history museum, folk museum, district archives, photograph archives, and an art gallery.

Cultural life in and around the town is flourishing, the active and enthusiastic drama society being among the best amateur theatre groups in Iceland. There are a number of choirs and instrumental groups playing an active role in the field of music.

Services in Húsavík are different types of accommodation, restaurants and cafés, a brewery, a geothermal swimming pool and campsites as well as a golf course and skiing area on the outskirts of town. A newly opened sea bath invites for a dip in geothermal hot sea water while enjoying a magnificent view over the bay. Húsavík is serviced by Húsavík airport. 

Dettifoss Waterfall

The Dettifoss waterfall is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, 500 cubic meters of water per second plunge over the edge. Dettifoss is 45 m high and 100m wide. A nice hiking trail, 34km, goes along the canyon from Dettifoss to Asbyrgi. Camping is possible in Vesturdalur.

Road 864 goes from road 85 past Dettifoss on the east side towards road 1. This is a gravel road and driving speed depends on road conditions each time. Road 864 is closed during wintertime due to snow or wet conditions (muddy road) and does not open until early summer (end of May).

For the biggest part of it, road 862 on the west side of Dettifoss has been paved but the construction of the road is still ongoing and will be finished in the summer of 2020. The parts that have not been completed are gravel. From May-September, the road is passable for normal vehicles from Asbyrgi to Dettifoss, with Vesturdalur (Hljodaklettar) and Holmatungur between. The conditions of gravel roads in Iceland can vary, so travelers are asked to be aware of road conditions at any time and adjust the driving speed to the conditions.

Road 862 is closed during wintertime, due to snow or wet conditions (muddy road) and does not open until late May or early June. This paved part of the road that goes from Dettifoss and to road no. 1 is not in service from January until the beginning of April. Dettifoss Waterfall is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle https://www.northiceland.is/diamondcircle.

Hringsbjarg cliff

There you have a breathtaking view over the mountain range in Öxafjörður fjord and the black sand beach close by.

This place is the perfect place to stop and stretch your legs, breathe in the fresh sea air and enjoy the view and tranquility.

At Hringsbjarg cliff is an observation deck as well as tables and information signs.

Great birdlife.

Hljóðaklettar

Hljóðaklettar in the canyon Jökulsárgljúfur is a distinctive cluster of columnar rock formations standing at the entrance to Vesturdalur, down by the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River. The columns lie at all angles, and it could be an entertaining exercise for one's imagination, to interpret their patterns in as many different ways as possible.

The road to Hljóðaklettar (862) is closed over the winter months.

Hólmatungur

Hólmatungur is an expanse of rich vegetation in the Jökulsárgljúfur area, and there are many beautiful columnar rock formations to be found there.

The footpath between Hljóðaklettar and Hólmatungur, alongside Jökulsá á Fjöllum, is among the most beautiful in Iceland. The waters of countless streams bubble up in Hólmatungur, then tumble over ledges into Jökla. Here, you will also find Gloppuhellir cave in Gloppa, which is a very special natural creation.

Námafjall

At the foothills of this spectacular volcanic mountain is an expanse of hot springs called Hverir that are known for their changing variety. You may also find a number of fumaroles, mud pools and mud pots that all seem to be boiling with relentless energy. The pass Námaskarð is strategically located at a short distance from the Krafla volcano system as well as other interesting geological spots like Búrfellshraun and the desert Mývatsöræfi.

Námaskarð earns its notoriety chiefly because of its sulphurous mud springs called solfataras and steam springs called fumaroles. Though you will scarcely find any pure water spring in this wonderful geothermal site of Iceland, the beauty of the colorful minerals defies all comparisons. The gigantic size of the mud craters is what makes you go 'wow' at the sight of them.

The other thing that is sure to strike you about Námaskarð is the sheer lack of vegetation. However, if you give a thought to the high temperature range, it does not appear an impossibility altogether. The constant emission of the fumes has made the ground utterly sterile and acidic, unfit to sustain any floras and faunas. You must bear in mind that the fumes can be harmful for humans as well.

Grjótagjá

Grjótagjá is a small cave in the Lake Mývatn area, and was a popular bathing place at one time. However, geological activity in the period 1975-1984, caused the temperature of the water in the cave's pool to rise to such a degree that it has not been possible to bathe there since. But one can always dream ... a peep into the waters and a fertile imagination could conjure up visions of taking a dip in this cosy little cave, as was the custom in the past.

Hverfjall

Hverfjall has a large, circular explosion crater, about 140 metres deep and with a diameter of 1,000 metres. Hverfjall is one of Iceland's most beautiful and symmetrical explosion craters, besides being one of the largest of its kind in the world. It is considered certain that the crater was created during a volcanic explosion, and its age is estimated to be around 2800 - 2900 years.

Dimmuborgir

Dimmuborgir is an area of randomly strewn lava rocks and cliffs, surrounded by vegetation, such as low bushes and plants. Dimmuborgir is a place of surprises with its myriad forms and images, small caves and towering volcanic rock, pierced by natural apertures.

The most famous of these formations is "The Church", aptly named, as this is a cave, open at both ends and with a dome-like ceiling.

It is not only in summer that Dimmuborgir exerts its charm; a winter visit is also an invigorating experience which must, of course, include popping in to see the Yule Lads (Santas) who have made it their home.

Höfði

Höfði is a rocky promontory which reaches into the waters of Lake Mývatn. The view from here is good, giving a vista of the lake's coves and inlets, besides being an excellent site for bird watching. Kálfastrandarvogur bay laps the shores of Höfði and is famous for its unusual lava formations both off and onshore, and these rocky outcrops, named Klasar and Kálfastrandarstrípar, have done much to earn Kálfastrandarvogur and Höfði their reputation for being among the most beautiful areas around Mývatn.

Skútustaðagígar

Skútustaðagígar pseudo craters were formed by gas explosions when boiling lava flowed over the wetlands. The craters are a popular site for birdwatchers and are protected as a natural wetlands conservation area.

Víti

Víti is a huge explosion crater, about 300 metres in diameter. The crater was formed during a massive volcanic eruption at the start of the famous Mývatn Fires in 1724. The eruption continued more or less non-stop for 5 years and Víti's bubbling cauldron of mud boiled for more than a century after that. Víti is situated near Krafla and there is a tarmacked road leading up to it from highway 1.