All Articles by pri.1287

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All Articles by pri.1287

1 Article

An epic adventure – 8 Days / 7 Nights

One week is the just right duration for the non plus ultra journey in the most amazing part of Iceland. True, it’s impossible to set an upper limit over which one can define “too much” the time spent in the Diamond Circle. After a whole lifetime it can still amaze as it were seen for the very first time, it can still reveal unknown corners. Be sure one week will give you a truly unforgettable adventure, though. Not many will be able to say they experienced what you will have done.


Day 1: Start your itinerary getting to Húsavík. If coming from the West or from the Highlands stop by Goðafoss for the first wonder of the Diamond Circle. Relax in the beautiful scenery of Skjálfandi bay and start enjoying what the town has to offer. A visit to the Whale Museum before a whale-watching tour is probably the best you can do to start. In the evening enjoy some traditional food in one of the excellent restaurants and then chill out with a beer or in the hot pots not far from the centre of the town. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
– (Goðafoss)
Húsavík
– Whale Museum
– Whale-Watching
– Nightlife
– Hot pots

Day 2: After a bath at the swimming pool spend the morning exploring some surroundings of the town. In the North is Tjörnes peninsula with its fossils, with Voladalstorfa lighthouse and the hundreds of Puffins, with the interesting Mánárbakki and with the fissures at Kelduhverfi. In the afternoon hike to the top of Húsavíkurfjall for a breathtaking view over the town and the bay and, once back, follow the trails leading to the beach with the Elephant Rock only a couple of kilometers North of Húsavík. Make sure to visit the Exploration Museum and to have at least a quick look at the beautiful wooden church. At night, as always, Húsavík has plenty of things to do. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
– Húsavík
– Exploration Museum
– Tjörnes Peninsula
– Fossil Museum
– Voladalstorfa Lighthouse
– Mánárbakki
– Kelduhverfi
– Húsavíkufjall
– Elephant Rock
– Church
– Nightlife

Day 3: Complete the exploration of the surroundings heading South from Húsavík. The western side of the Diamond is where several interesting, out of the beaten track places can be found: the greenhouses of Hveravellir, Hólasandur, Ystafell Transportation Museum, Laxá Power Station, Grenjaðarstaður Heritage Museum, Æðafossar and the cliffs at the bottom of Skjálfandi bay. Get back in town for a relaxing hike to lake Botnsvatn through the town gardens. Visit the Culture House and spend an arty evening at Fjúk Arts Centre. Finally get to the lighthouse for a beautiful farewell view. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
Húsavík
Hveravellir
Hólasandur
– Ystafell Transportation Museum
– Laxá Power Station
– Grenjaðarstaður
– Æðafossar
Skjálfandi Bay
– Gardens
– Botnsvatn
– Culture House
– Fjúk Arts Centre
– Lighthouse

Day 4: Make an early start and reach Ásbyrgi canyon for a warming-up trek to the top of Eyjan and/or the cliffs over the canyon before starting the real hike. The final destination is Dettifoss, to be reached on day 5. The hike of the day goes from Ásbyrgi to Vesturdalur. Once here, several excellent trails allow you to explore the dark, basalt rock formations at Hljóðaklettar and the colourful Rauðhólar hills. Overnight in Vesturdalur campground.
IMPORTANT: before setting off,  stop by  the Visitor Centre of Gljúfrastofa in Ásbyrgi for any information about the hike and the condition of the trail.

Highlights of the day:
Ásbyrgi Canyon
Vesturdalur Valley
Hljóðaklettar
Rauðhólar

Day 5: Another early start is needed in order to get to Dettifoss in time to catch a transport to get back to Ásbyrgi where you most likely left your car. In Hólmatungur you can spot 3 waterfalls. If you feel confident enough head to the fourth, the beautiful Hafragilsfoss, via the tricky Hafragil lowlands. The other option is the less challenging trail that goes around the Hafragil lowlands. Astonish in front of the mighty Dettifoss (this is the western side) and somehow get back to your vehicle. During the summer some tourist buses run between Dettifoss and Ásbyrgi. From here drive South on road n. 864 so to have the chance to enjoy Dettifoss from the eastern side as well. On your way to Mývatn relax your muscles at the Nature Bath of Jarðböðin. You deserved it. Overnight in Mývant area.

Highlights of the day:
Vesturdalur Valley
Hólmatungur
– (Hafragilsfoss)
Dettifoss (both sides)
Ásbyrgi Canyon
Jarðböðin
Lake Mývatn

Day 6: Surely the legendary hike you completed the day before has instilled in you the desire of more outdoor activities. If so head to Krafla and Hverir. From these locations you can walk some amazing short trails, respectively, to Leirhnjúkur and Námafjall. If this is not enough yet, make the loop from Reykjahlíð to Stóragjá, Grjótagjá, Hverfell, Dimmuborgir and Höfði and back. Otherwise just drive from location to location. Overnight in Mývatn area.

Highlights of the day:
– Lake Mývatn
Krafla
Hverir
– Grjótagjá and Storagjá
Hverfell
– Dimmuborgir
– Höfði

Day 7: A great option for the day could be joining a tour from Reykjahlíð to two incredible yet little known and visited locations: Gjástykki and its primordial beauty in the midlands of the Diamond and the magnificent ice caves of Lofthellir, East of Mývatn. After a true “ice and fire” day, take a gentle stroll on the shores of the lake. Overnight in Mývant area.
IMPORTANT: Gjástykki is visitable only on a guided tour, via a rough road; private vehicles are not allowed in order to preserve the sensitive area. Lofthellir can be an extremely dangerous place if not visited with the right equipment and an expert guide. We strongly discourage those who intend to venture here alone.

Highlights of the day:
Lake Mývatn
– Gjástykki
– Lofthellir

Day 8: It’s almost time to say goodbye to the Diamond Circle but there’s still time for a few treats more. A horseback ride through the lava fields and short walks among the pseudo-craters of Skútustaðagígar and to the top of Vindbelgjarfjall are probably the best you can do before leaving Mývatn. Without forgetting all the bird-watching spots, mostly on its western side, and the Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum. Finally, if you’re heading West make a stop at Goðafoss for the last wonder of the Diamond Circle. We know, you’re already missing it. Just know you’ll always be welcome back.

Highlights of the day:
Lake Mývatn
– Horseback Riding
– Skútustaðagígar
– Vindbelgjarfjall
– Bird-watching
– Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum
– (Goðafoss)

 

Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by Bill Devlin

The whole Circle – 5 Days / 4 Nights

What a journey, to any destination, should always guarantee is, most of all, enough time to experience what is worth to. Regarding the Diamond Circle, this can be identified in 5 days. Such a span of days provides time to enjoy most of the highlights the Diamond has to offer and many of the available activities without being in a constant rush. If this is what you’re aiming at, the following itinerary may be of great help. We promise that it’s going to be a great adventure and that if there will be something you might regret, it will only be not having stayed even longer in this wonderful area.


Day 1: The itinerary starts from Húsavík. Get here from any previous destination of yours and, if coming from the West or from the Highlands make a stop at Goðafoss on the way of course. The best way to break the ice with the Circle is completing the “whale itinerary” with a visit to the Whale Museum and an exciting whale-watching trip. Enjoy the evening, relaxing in one of the many excellent restaurants and then take a gentle stroll to the lighthouse for a beautiful view on Skjálfandi bay. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
– (Goðafoss)
Húsavík
– Whale Museum
– Whale-Watching
– Nightlife
– Lighthouse

Day 2: Make an early start and spend most of the day among the highlights of the Jökulsárgljúfur: Ásbyrgi, Vesturdalur and Dettifoss are absolute must to see with great hiking opportunities. Don’t forget to include Hólmatungur in your day for some off the beaten track sceneries. On the way back to Húsavík explore the impressive fissures at Kelduhverfi and Tjörnes, in particular the lighthouse of Voladalstorfa surrounded by Puffins’ nests and the beaches full of fossil shells. Once back in town get to the top of Húsavíkurfjall to get the most breathtaking panorama over the town and the bay before heading to the hot pots where to relax at the end of a tough but rewarding day. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
Húsavík
Ásbyrgi Canyon
Vesturdalur Valley
– Hljóðaklettar
Hólmatungur
Dettifoss
Kelduhverfi
Tjörnes Peninsula
Voladalstorfa Lighthouse
– Húsavíkurfjall
– Hot pots

Day 3: Wake up early and soak in the swimming pool of the town for a traditional and reinvigoration start of the day. Visit the Exploration Museum and the wooden church and relax for a while in the town Gardens before setting off for the next part of the adventure. Spend the rest of the day in the area South of Húsavík on your way to Mývatn, which is packed with things to do and see: Æðafossar, the cliffs at the bottom of Skjálfandi bay, the greenhouses of Hveravellir, Grenjaðarstaður Heritage Museum, Hólasandur, Ystafell Transportation Museum and Laxá Power Station. Enjoy your first hours in the charming environment of lake Mývatn with an evening stroll along its shores. Overnight in Mývatn area.

Highlights of the day:
Húsavík
– Swimming Pool
– Exploration Museum
– Church
– Gardens
– Æðafossar
Skjálfandi Bay
– Hveravellir
– Grenjaðarstaður Heritage Museum
– Hólasandur
– Ystafell Transportation Museum
– Laxá Power Station
– Lake Mývatn

Day 4: Begin the day the day getting to the eastern side of Mývatn. The lava fields of Krafla and the geothermal area of Hverir are the first destinations for some otherworldly landscapes and short hikes through them. Before taking all the time you want in the nature bath ofJarðböðin don’t forget the black pillars of lava in Dimmuborgir, the explosive crater of Hverfell, the fissure of Grjótagjá and Storagjá and the small peninsula of Höfði, a great bird-watching spot. Overnight in Mývatn area.

Hightlights of the day:
Lake Mývatn
Krafla
Hverir
Dimmuborgir
Hverfell
Grjótagjá and Storagjá
Höfði
– Bird-Watching
Jarðböðin

Day 5: Unfortunately time flies quickly and you leave soon. There’s still time for some more, though. Start the day with a horseback ride through the lava fields in the northern side of Mývatn, then head South to the pseudocrates at Skútustaðagígar. The western shores of Mývatn offer unique bird-watching opportunities (as well as the excellentSigurgeir’s Bird Museum) and probably the best view over the lake from the top of Vindbelgjarfjall. If from Mývatn your next destination is in the West, don’t miss a stop at Goðafoss before leaving the Diamond behind.

Highlights of the day:
Lake Mývatn
– Horseback Riding
Skútustaðagígar
– Bird-watching
– Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum
Vindbelgjarfjall
– (Goðafoss)

 

Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by Mickaël Delcey

Life and nature – 4 Days / 3 Nights

It’s impossible to say any amount of time is enough to get to know all the Diamond Circle. 4 days, however, are quite adequate for a mix of all the most famous highlights and some of the less know ones, for a mix of natural wonders, exciting wildlife and a hint of everyday life. Such a trip must be carefully planned so to select what to include and what to keep out. Without a doubt on your way out, after 4 amazing days in the Circle, you would feel nostalgia and Diamondsickness. The only way of curing it is coming back soon.


Day 1: Start your adventure in the Diamond Circle from Húsavík and its worldwide famous whale-watching. If you come from the West or from the Highlands make a stop at Goðafoss on the way. In town visit the Whale Museum and take some strolls to the lighthouse, to Lake Botnsvatn, to the Elephant Rock or to the top of Húsavíkurfjall. The evenings in Húsavík are always full of things to do, so join in. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
– (Goðafoss)
Húsavík
– Whale-Watching
– Whale Museum
– Hikes in Húsavík
– Nightlife

Day 2: Make an early start and spend the day among the highlights of the Jökulsárgljúfur: Ásbyrgi and Vesturdalur offer great hiking trails of several lenght and Dettifoss is simply unmissable. On the way back to Húsavík explore a bit of Tjörnes, maybe the lighthouse of Voladalstorfa surrounded by Puffins’ nests and the beaches full of fossil shells. In town make sure to visit some more (Exploration Museum, Culture House, Gardens) before soaking in the swimming pool or in the hot pots as a local would do. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
Húsavík
Ásbyrgi Canyon
Vesturdalur Valley
Hljóðaklettar
Dettifoss
Tjörnes Peninsula
Voladalstorfa Lighthouse
– Exploration Museum
– Culture House
– Town Gardens
– Bathing

Day 3: Drive to Mývatn, via Hólasandur, in the morning and start the day with some hikes in the lava fields of Krafla and in geothermal area of Hverir. Next stops are the black pillars in Dimmuborgir, the dark Hverfell and the impressive fissures of Grjótagjá and Storagjá. At the end of the day relax as much as you want in Jarðböðin. Overnight in Mývatn area.

Hightlights of the day:
Hólasandur
Lake Mývatn
Krafla
Hverir
Dimmuborgir
Hverfell
– Grjótagjá and Storagjá
– Jarðböðin

Day 4: It’s not time to leave the Diamond behind yet. Spend at least the morning around the lake. Excellent options are Höfði, Skútustaðagígar and the western shores of Mývatn with unique bird-watching opportunities and with one of the best views of the lake from the top of Vindbelgjarfjall. If you’re heading West, Goðafoss is the last striking stop before bidding farewell to the Diamond.

Highlights of the day:
Lake Mývatn
– Höfði
– Skútustaðagígar
– Bird-watching
– Vindbelgjarfjall
– (Goðafoss)

 

Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by Chris Zielecki

Fire and water – 3 Days / 2 Nights

3 days is the bare minimum for a journey to the Diamond Circle. It gives enough time for a short visit to all the main highlights, this is true. At the same time, though, it makes impossible any detour from the most beaten tracks. Many gems are a bit hidden and it’s a pity not giving them any attention. If you are planning this kind of itinerary you’ll surely have a great time in this volcanic and geothermal region, surrounded by the water of the sea, of a lake and a river. At the same, surely likewise, you’ll feel to have good reasons to come back and explore more.


ITINERARY A – coming from the East

Day 1: Travel from your previous destination to the Diamond Circle along the Ring Road. The first stop is at Dettifoss for a rumbling, epic welcome, then it’s the turn of Vesturdalur valley with the “Whispering Cliffs” at Hljóðaklettar. Ásbyrgi canyon is the perfect spot to say goodbye to the amazing Jökulsárgljúfur. Make sure to spend the whole day in the eastern side of the Diamond before getting to the charming Húsavík, where to spend an exciting evening. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
Dettifoss
– Vesturdalur valley
– Hljóðaklettar
– Ásbyrgi canyon
– Húsavík

Day 2: Start the day with a whale-watching trip and spend the rest of the morning enjoying at least some of the many attractions the town has to offer: from excellent museums to beautiful trekking trails, from relaxing corners (the swimming pool, the hot-pots, the gardens) to other amazing activities (bird-watching, horseback riding). In the afternoon drive to Mývatn. Make short hikes in Leirhnjúkur at Krafla and in Hverir to the top of Námafjall before relaxing your muscles at Jarðböðin. Overnight in Mývatn area.

Highlights of the day:
– Húsavík
– Lake Mývatn
– Krafla
– Hverir
– Jarðböðin

Day 3: Mývatn has more to offer, so do spend the morning in the area. The fissures of Grjótagjá and Storagjá are impressive and enchanting at the same time. There are several great hikes among the dark pillars of Dimmuborgir or along the shores of the lake, such as in Höfði or in Skútustaðagígar. Climbing Hverfell and/or Vindbelgjarfjall gives excellent views over the lake and other activities (horseback riding among the lava fields and bird-watching on the western side of the lake) make impossible to get bored. Heading West, stop at Goðafoss for the last wonder of the Diamond Circle.

Highlights of the day:
– Lake Mývatn
– Dimmuborgir
Hverfell
Grjótagjá and Storagjá
Goðafoss


ITINERARY B – coming from the West or from the Highlands

Day 1: Travelling from your previous destination along the Ring Road or through Spengisandur Route, Goðafoss is the elegant gateway to the Diamond Circle. Next stop is lake Mývatn, where you spend the rest of the day exploring its astonishing corners. An option could be starting with the impressive fissures of Grjótagjá and Storagjá, then some short hikes in Leirhnjúkur at Krafla and in Hverir to the top of Námafjall before relaxing your muscles at Jarðböðin. Some evening strolls along the shores of the lake, such as in Höfði or in Skútustaðagígar, are the perfect conclusion of the day. Overnight in Mývatn area.

Highlights of the day:
Goðafoss
Lake Mývatn
Grjótagjá and Stóragjá
Krafla
Hverir
Jarðböðin

Day 2: Spend the next morning in Mývatn where the great hikes among the dark pillars of Dimmuborgir and the easy climbs to the top of Hverfell and Vindbelgjarfjall for astonishing views over the lake are only some of the things to do. In fact, if you have interest in horseback riding or in bird-watching, around Mývatn you can find some excellent spots. In the early afternoon drive to Húsavík, another location where horseback riding and bird-watching are among the main attractions. The whale-watching is the real must to do, though. Anyway don’t forget all the rest (museums, gardens, hikes), including a vibrating nightlife. Overnight in Húsavík.

Highlights of the day:
Lake Mývatn
Dimmuborgir
Hverfell
Húsavík

Day 3: Make an early start to enjoy some more of the beautiful Húsavík. A morning visit to the swimming pool might be a wonderful and invigorating kick-off of the day. Head towards East to Jökulsárgljúfur. Relatively short hikes in Ásbyrgi and Vesturdalur are unmissable, while Dettifoss is the magnificent last spot of your Diamond.

Highlights of the day:
Húsavík
– Ásbyrgi canyon
– Vesturdalur valley
– Hljóðaklettar
Dettifoss

 

Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by Sergio Morchon