Certainly you have heard about the Golden circle in Iceland - the most famous tourist route in this country, located in the south-west. However, there is a northern response to it. Due to the fact that is quite far away from Reykjavik it's not as famous, but definitely it is equally interesting. This scenic Icelandic route is called the Diamond circle and it's around 300 km long. It includes bizarre rock formations, breathtaking lakes, lava fields, dramatic waterfalls, and much more. The route’s four main attractions are Lake Mývatn, whale-watching capital Húsavík, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, and the horseshoe-shaped canyon, Ásbyrgi. As a bonus, there's also Goðafoss - the Waterfall of the Gods.
Around 2300 years ago a basaltic lava eruption happened and the Lake Mývatn, which is the 4th biggest in Iceland, was created. Besides its unique scenery of both rocky lava formations and green fields, Myvatn is famous for birdwatching. There are over thirteen species of ducks nesting in the area, and many other birds, mostly in the summer. The area is perfect for hiking, but there's also the Myvatn nature bath. When compared to the famous Blue lagoon, it's more affordable and less touristic.
This small town, with its picturesque harbour and 2300 inhabitants, is the oldest settlement in the country and usual starting and ending point of the Diamond Circle. Humpback whales, blue whales, minke whales, pilot whales and sperm whales are regular in Skjálfandi bay, but if you are lucky you there's also a chance to see some rare species like the basking shark, the northern bottlenose whale and the beluga. After seeing them, I was very motivated to also visit an interesting museum dedicated to whales in Húsavik.
With its total height of 44 meters and a width of 100 meters, the mighty Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. As in many other occasions in Iceland, you can really approach the waterfall itself. Only 120 kilometres away there's another stunning creation of nature - Goðafoss, "the waterfall of the gods". A legend says that when in the year 1000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland he came to this waterfall and threw away his statues of the Norse gods into it.
With its 100 metre tall cliffs and stunning birch forest below them Ásbyrgi is one of the most interesting spots to visit in Iceland. The glacial canyon is 3.5 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide. As if it was not already dramatic enough, in the middle of it there's a 25 meters long dramatic rock formation. Science says that the canyon was formed after a big glacial flooding, but of course, there's also an Icelandic legend that gives another explanation. It says it was an eight-legged horse of a nordic god that stepped here and made it. This is because the canyon has a shape of a very big horseshoe.
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