Top attractions in North Iceland – Unexpected Day 4

“There is a storm coming, Mr. Prathamesh” – That’s what my weather app told me yesterday. And if you read yesterday’s blog, you already know that we did encounter a snow storm yesterday evening. Storms generally change people’s lives for the worst, but for us it was a master stroke of luck. The snowstorm made sure that we could see fresh snow as far as our eyes could go. Throughout the day, I don’t think we saw any greenery at all. Today’s drive was meant to explore the top attractions in North Iceland – Day 4 of our road trip.

Top attractions in North Iceland

Diamond Circle

Just like the Golden circle near Reykjavik, North Iceland is famous of its Diamond Circle route. It has a lot of attractions and we only covered a few, but here’s the rough list of places covered. The one’s in bold are what we visited in the span of 2 days:

  1. Godafoss
  2. Lake Myvatn
  3. Mt. Námafjall and the boiling mud pools
  4. Dettifoss Waterfall
  5. Selfoss Waterfall
  6. Hljóðaklettar – Echo Rocks
  7. Ásbyrgi – the Shelter of the Gods
  8. Tjörnes and the puffins
  9. Húsavík – the Whale Watching Capital of Iceland


We did a small detour and went to the town of Lagarfljót. We spent some time walking around the Lagarfljót lake. The town is famous for the mythical Loch Ness monster of Iceland – The Lagarfljót worm , who is believed to live in the Lagarfljót lake.

I guess we weren’t lucky enough to spot the worm, but we had some good time sitting next to the almost frozen river.

Lagarfljót lake
Top attractions in North Iceland – Lagarfljót lake

Dettifoss Waterfall – No 1. Attraction in North Iceland

This is No. 1 on the list of top attractions in North Iceland. It’s the 2nd largest waterfall in terms of volume discharge behind the Urriðafoss and considered the most powerful in Iceland. The superlative of “most powerful” comes from the formula – water flow * fall distance. It’s reputed to be the second most powerful waterfall in Europe after the Rhine Falls. I have been lucky to visit both of them and will post a photo for your comparison.

The falls are 100 metres (330 ft) wide and have a drop of 44 metres (144 ft) down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.

Top attractions in North Iceland
Top attractions in North Iceland – Dettifoss Trail
Top attractions in North Iceland
Its just 1PM in the afternoon
Top attractions in North Iceland
The trail to Selfoss branches from somewhere here
Top attractions in North Iceland
Dettifoss all covered in snow

It takes a good 20-30 mins walk to reach the main viewing platform for the waterfall. The fact that it was snowing made it more challenging. Luckily, when we arrived we were the only ones at the falls. I will post a photo from few days back (before our visit) for your reference.

Top attractions in North Iceland – Dettifoss Video

Selfoss Waterfall

Selfoss is located upstream from Dettifoss. In fact from the Dettifoss parking there are different trails to both Selfoss and Dettifoss. We first visited Dettifoss and then went upstream to visit Selfoss.

Top attractions in North Iceland
Top attractions in North Iceland – Selfoss Waterfall
Top attractions in North Iceland
Dettifoss few days before the snow storm (Photo from the internet)
Top attractions in North Iceland
Dettifoss covered in snow
Top attractions in North Iceland
Rhine falls Switzerland for your comparison

The Jökulsárgljúfur river drops over a number of waterfalls over about 30 km before flowing into Öxarfjörður, a bay of the Arctic Sea.

Mylla Restaurant – Lunch

After Dettifoss we stopped at the Mylla restaurant on the route. I had the Icelandic soup, followed by some cup cakes and hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. The soup was probably a little too salty for my liking and I mentioned the same to the staff. However, as per them that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Icelandic lamb soup

If you get a chance to taste it, let me know in the comments if yours was salty too.

Godafoss – Waterfall of the Gods

Even though this isn’t a top priority on most people’s list, I would definitely recommend visiting this waterfall. For me it deserves its place in the top attractions in North Iceland. The biggest plus about this waterfall is that there is no difficult trek or hike to get to them. Most of my trip mates were tired by now of all the waterfalls, so only a couple of us ventured out.

Top attractions in North Iceland
Improvised Tripod to capture the slow shutter shot
Top attractions in North Iceland
Top attractions in North Iceland – Godafoss, Waterfall of the Gods

You just need to walk along the road and take in the views of this magnificent waterfall. I did manage to click a slow shutter photo by using an improvised (jugaadu) tripod. Unlike most waterfalls in Iceland, this one doesn’t fall from a great height.

Hafnarstraeti (A Capsule hostel)

This was my first experience of staying in a capsule hostel and frankly it was fun and exciting. In fact, it was so new that I’ll consider this as one of the Top attractions in North Iceland. However, not all of my trip mates enjoyed it. Some of them felt claustrophobic and decided to sleep with their capsule doors open.

The hostel also runs a scheme in winters, wherein if you stay for 5 nights or more and don’t see the Northern lights even once, they refund you the stay amount. Sweet for those who want to experience Northern lights for cheap without a proper hunt. By the way, if you haven’t guessed already they extend the offer because probability of seeing Northern lights is very high in North Iceland in winters. In our 7 day trip, we saw them 4 times in total I think.

We saw them tonight as well, overlooking the other side of the lake/river/sea? 5 mins walk from our hostel. Pardon my bad Aurora Photography skills, I still find it difficult to get the focus right in these shots.

Hafnarstraeti Hostel
A wonderful tea restaurant next to the hostel, forgot the name..
Hafnarstraeti Hostel
Top attractions in North Iceland – Graffiti
Top attractions in North Iceland
Aurora, one more time

Expenses for the day

Expense Description Expense Amount
Lunch at Mylla Restaurant
Icelandic Lamb Soup + Muffins (Cup cakes)
+ Hot chocolate with whipped cream
Around 1500 INR
Hafnarstraeti Hostel – A Capsule hostel 3000 INR/person/night for a capsule
Activity Expenses Nil

That concludes the fun for the day. Since, we had a pre-decided schedule we didn’t cover all the Top attractions in North Iceland, instead we picked the one that we felt were must visit and went along with that plan. The only attraction, that I really feel we should have done was Húsavík – the Whale Watching Capital of Iceland. But there is always a next time.

If there is anything else, that you would like me to add to the list of Top attractions in North Iceland, drop me a comment.

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