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Suður Þingeyjarsýsla

Suður Þingeyjarsýsla in Northern Iceland features a 250 km road trip called the “Diamond Circle,” due to the shape of the route. This trip provides the traveler with an exceptional glimpse of the area.

With spectacular scenery between the five key stops on the route, this journey offers encounters with Europe’s most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss, with the historically significant Goðafoss, and the otherworldly landscapes surrounding Lake Mývatn. Another stop on the route features the crescent-shaped Ásbyrgi canyon. The Diamond Circle tour begins and ends in the “oldest Icelandic settlement,” Húsavík, which is the business and tourist hub of Suður Þingeyjarsýsla.

Húsavík is the home to the Whale Museum and is known as the Whale Capital of Iceland, due to the many whale viewing tours that originate from the town in hopes of sighting any of the twenty-three different species of whales that can be found in Skjálfandi Bay. Other cultural attractions include the Museum House at Húsavík which has several collections including a maritime and natural history museum, a folk museum, and an art gallery.

Lake Mývatn is a major birdwatching site where over 115 species have been identified in the region. The preponderance of bird life has led to one of the area’s attractions, Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum, which houses the largest private bird and egg collection in Iceland.

Judy Dickson captured this image on a dark and rainy day of Dimmuborgir.
Judy Dickson captured this image on a dark and rainy day of Dimmuborgir.

And for the folklore enthusiast, another attraction is Dimmuborgir (Dark Cities) an area of volcanic rock outcroppings that suggest building ruins to some and to others homes of the “hidden people.” Dimmuborgir is in the Lake Mývatn area. A visit in winter might just result in an encounter with the “Yule Lads” since they have decided to make it their home.

Explorers checking for Yule Lad presence at Dimmuborgir. (Judy Dickson photo)