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East side | The Diamond Circle
Picture by greenzowie

East side

The area between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss is often believed to have only these two places, and Vesturdalur as the third one, to offer. Surely they are the most majestic sites but along the 2 sides of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum there’s actually much more to discover and to be amazed by. North of Ásbyrgi, few kilometers before the Jökulsá canyon, is Kelduhverfi, an inhabited area or moor and marsh which recalls the more renowned Þingvellir for the giant cracks and fissures that revel how Iceland stands over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

South of Vesturdalur, the area of Hólmatungur is one of the most underrated places of the Diamond Circle. The vegetation is luxuriant, crystalline rivers coming from underground springs and pretty waterfalls are abundant, an absolute calmness lingers all around the site. Some trekking paths give the chance to properly enjoy the unique scenery Hólmatungur offers, with stunning canyon-like overall views from the cliffs and from some hills over this peculiarly rich and diverse area. An extraordinary panorama is the one from the top of Ytra-Þórunnarfjall, not far from the parking on the western side of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum.

Picture by Örlygur Hnefill

The waterfalls of Réttarfoss, Hólmáfoss and Urriðafoss in Hólmatungur are not the only one of the Diamond Circle’s easternmost section. Of course everybody knows the mighty Dettifoss, but maybe some others are not as known. 2km North of Dettifoss, Hafragilsfoss (the “Goat canyon waterfall”) is 27mt high and part of the surreal environment of Rauðhóll crater. The overlook from the western bank is one of the best over Jökulsá river but it’s the one from the eastern bank that shows the truly spectacular face of Hafragilsfoss. Moreover reaching the car park at Dettifoss on the eastern bank, it’s possible to get to Selfoss walking only few hundreds meters South. Despite the modest height, only 10mt, the waterfall is extraordinarily broad and certainly impressive.

On the eastern side of the Jökulsá river, the least travelled, the area called Forvod is another place worth to visit. Nicknamed “Mother Nature’s art gallery”, this is an incredibly peaceful and full of life, at the same time, section which the river carved after a breach for quite a long time before Jökulsá changed its course. In Forvod, at the end of a short walk, stands a huge cliff made of columnar basalt, Vigabjarg, vaguely resembling to the Lion King’s cliff. It’s possible to reach a high point on the column for a simply amazing panorama.

How to get here:
Kelduhverfi is only few kilometers North of Ásbyrgi on road n.85.
Hólmatungur is on road n.862, about 6km South of Vesturdalur and 17 North of Dettifoss.
Hafragilsfoss is about 2km North of Dettifoss, both on road n.862 and on road n.864.
Selfoss is reachable walking from the eastern side parking of Dettifoss.
Forvod is reachable from road n.864, 17km drive from Ásbyrgi and 14km from Dettifoss.


Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by greenzowie
Mid text picture by Örlygur Hnefill

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