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Day Trip 4: Diamond Circle

Dettifoss disappearing into it's own mist
Dettifoss disappearing into it’s own mist

The Diamond Circle can be described as a magnificent circuit of about 260km in the Northeast of Iceland, which includes some of the most stunning sights and of the most scenic landscapes in the whole country.

Húsavík is the main town and the obvious starting and ending point of the Diamond Circle. It is worldwide famous for its great whale-watching but there are several other good attractions and reasons for coming here, to one of the most charming town of Iceland, that also makes it an excellent base to explore the Diamond.

Among the other most known highlights of the circuit a special mention goes to a few places: the gigantic horseshoe-shaped canyon of Ásbyrgi; the astonishing valley of Vesturdalur with the bizarre rock formations of Hljóðaklettar; the mighty and striking Dettifoss waterfall; the otherworldly volcanic fields of Krafla until the geothermal area of Hverir; the amazing lake Mývatn and its surrounding nature bath of Jarðböðin and lava field of Dimmuborgir; the turf farm Grenjaðarstaður, the elegant yet dramatic Goðafoss waterfall. Some of these sites are part of the Vatnajökull National Park, which has been approved as UNESCO world heritage site in 2019.

Dramatic lava formation at Dimmu Borgir in Mývatn area
Dramatic lava formation at Dimmu Borgir in Mývatn area

But the Diamond Circle is even more. Just out of the most beaten track some hidden corners and forgotten spaces are as surprising as the most famous ones: from the sparkling Skjálfandi bay to the beautiful Tjörnes peninsula, from the east side with the lush valley of Hólmatungur to the less know location around Mývatn such as the dark Hverfjall and the turquoise pool of Grjótagjá, from the little visited west side with several inviting places to some little known yet striking areas of lava and ice.

The Diamond Circle truly is not only a circuit of 260km. It is the chance for an epic and unforgettable adventure that is already waiting for you.

Are you ready for it?

The Diamond Circle is not a fixed route, more a description of an area and the highlights that can be found there. Below is one possible route and sometimes several options are given to continue. Feel free to select the one that you prefer most.

This tour includes elements of Day Trip 3, Day Trip 5 and 6.

The tour is doable in one day if each stop is rather short, but can easily be split into a several day tour. All roads are suitable for all cars in summer time, only the road connecting Ásbyrgi with Dettifoss requires a 4×4 vehicle with higher ground clearance. Some roads are not open in winter time, check to see the current weather and road conditions. Opening hours can be found here.

Highlights of the Day


The route starts in Húsavík and the first section covers Mánarbakki Folk Museum, Ásbyrgi Canyon, Vesturdalur with its bizarre rock formations, Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfalls. Then it continues to Grjótagjá cave, Hverfjall mountain and Dimmuborgir Lava Formation.

Then there are two options on how to close the circle and return to Húsavík. Option A continues along Goðafoss waterfall, via Ystafell Transportation Musem.

Option B includes a stop at Grenjaðarstaður turf farmhouse before returning to Húsavík.