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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.