North Iceland is a bucket-list of must-experience majesty. As the capital of the north, Akureyri is Iceland’s second-largest city and provides a fantastic base from which to explore fjords, the Arctic Ocean, and the volcanic desert. Travelling to the northern tip of Eyjafjörður delivers you to the once-rich herring village of Siglufjörður. Head east on the Diamond Circle to visit cetaceanophilic Húsavík, the volcanic fantasia of Lake Mývatn, and the glacial waterfall Dettifoss. In summer months, you have great access to the Icelandic highlands with highlights of Hveravellir’s geothermal area and Askja caldera. The remote northeast is a coastal paradise for birdlife, well worth a visit for those craving rural beauty. To help you out, here’s the best road trip in North Iceland and the runner-ups.
Best Road Trip
All around the north
This powerhouse road trip features the best of the north. Visit Húsavík, famed for its whale-watching tours and Whale Museum. Continue to Ásbyrgi, canyon of the Norse gods. Take in the roaring power of Dettifoss, Europe’s most voluminous waterfall. Explore the volcanic region of Lake Mývatn, replete with rare-in-the-world volcanic formations (pseudocraters) and critters (marimo a.k.a. moss balls). As one panellist exulted, “It has been called the Diamond Circle because the landscape is like a multiplication of beauty.”
The northeasternmost point in Iceland, Langanes translates from Icelandic as “Long Peninsula.” This remote region is perfect for watching puffins, gannets, and guillemots live their best seabird lives. You’ll even find a ghost town: Skálar! If you’re seeking “off the beaten path” as a hallmark of your road trip, Langanes is your answer.
Accessible only in summer months, the Highlands are a vast volcanic desert populated by glaciers, geothermal hot spots, gushing rivers (some of which you’ll have to carefully cross) and stunning mountains. The Kjölur road threads down to the west, and the Sprengisandur road to the east. Both are rough and unpaved, requiring a rugged 4×4.
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