Travel News

Iceland’s Diamond Circle: Why you should visit

Iceland’s Diamond Circle: Why you should visit

Iceland has been something of a victim of its own beauty. Every day you’ll spot convoys of minibuses, coaches and hire cars trundling along the Golden Circle, with tourists taking whirlwind trips into the ‘wild’ from Reykjavik. At times, you’re more likely to be poked in the eye with a selfie stick at Reynisfjara Beach than encounter a puffin. Or trip over a tripod at the mighty Stokkur geyser than marvel, wide-eyed at the eruption.

Like other tourist favourites – Amsterdam, Bali, Venice and Tenerife, to name just a few – Iceland is feeling the strain of overtourism. But it is possible to escape the well-trodden tourist trail if you venture up to the island’s lesser-known, more remote north. Outside the town of Akureyri, a sightseeing circle of natural wonders dubbed the ‘Diamond Circle’ is an awe-inspiring alternative to the Golden Circle.

Tourism in Iceland boomed in the 2000s as tourists became ever-more aware of the stunning natural beauty of the island. The 2008 financial crisis actually helped this growth as a weakened krona made trips to Iceland more affordable. Shortly after in 2010, the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull made headlines, once again opening the world’s eyes to the glacier-capped landscapes (while also causing havoc to European air travel). These endless snowy surfaces of vast ice caps, towering waterfalls and craggy volcanic plateaus also provided the fantasy backdrop to Game of Thrones, attracting hordes of ‘set-jetters’ to the tiny island. Low-cost airlines like WOW and EasyJet began routes to Keflavik Airport in the south and it wasn’t long before the yearly number of tourists peaked far beyond the population of Iceland.

Flights now run directly to Akureyri in North Iceland from London Gatwick (Visit North Iceland)

In 2023, the first international flights started to arrive Akureyri (including direct EasyJet flights from Gatwick), the quiet fjordal ‘Capital of North Iceland’. Previously it would have taken a tiny twin-prop plane, a five-hour drive or an eight-hour bus journey to reach this region from Reykjavik. This region is still relatively untrodden, but it won’t be long before those drawn to Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes find their way to the north.

Before the mini-buses turn into coachloads, I decided to make my base in Akureyri and spend a day following the route of the Diamond Circle, taking in thundering waterfalls, geothermal baths, a sprawling lake in the lava…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…