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Dimmuborgir | The Diamond Circle
Picture by mariejirousek


The unusually shaped rock formations in the lava field of Dimmuborgir are an extremely rare sight wherever you would travel. The only other known place in all the world where to find natural sculptures similar to these is off the coast of Mexico, hidden beneath the sea. The “Dark Citadels” or “Dark Castles”, as you may have already guessed, were formed by an eruption. 2.300 years ago from Ludentarborgir and Þrengslaborgir craters, rows lava flowed here first forming a pool right here, in this area of 2km of diameter, then draining in the direction of lake Mývatn. Steam rose through the molten lava and cooled it, leaving behind high pillars, twisted towers and dramatic structures of coagulated rock.

The café at the left of the entrance, Kaffi Borgir, among other things, offers the famous geyser bread (Rúgbrauð), excellent soups and a beautiful view over Dimmuborgir. Another viewpoint is on the hills, on the opposite side of the entrance gate to the lava fields. Either from up one or the other panoramic spot you’ll see how unique this place is while the variable sky of Iceland paint the rocks of different colours according to the weather conditions.

Picture by Lau Bernard

Several short trails lead all around the field. It will take you 10 minutes to 1 hour completing the ring you’ll choose, depending on which one it is. The longest one shows, of course, all the beauty of the place and guides to Kirkjan, the “Church”, a rock you can walk through and from where you get an amazing view of the wasteland between Dimmuborgir and the looming Hverfjall, the dark wide volcano.

But if you want to know the full story about Dimmuborgir you should read this. This is the home place of Grýla, a frightening giant ogress who was a great threaten for misbehaving children as she was able to detect them. During Christmas time she visited the nearby towns in search for her favourite meal: nasty kids. But she lost her threatening appeal and now her sons, the 13 Yule Lads, act like a bunch of icelandic Santa Claus. If you’re curios to meet these Yule Lands just come around Christmas time and look for them in Dimmuborgir!

How to get here:
If you’re coming from Reykjahlíð drive road n.848 direction South for 5km until you find the sign “Dimmuborgir”. Turn left on that road and drive 1,5km until the parking area.
If you’re coming from the south-western shores of lake Mývatn drive road n.848 until you find the sing “Dimmuborgir”. Turn right on that road and drive 1,5km until the parking area.


Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by mariejirousek
Mid text picture by Lau Bernard

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