Take a Magical Tour of Iceland's Diamond Circle
The editors of Travel + Leisure have teamed up with Black Tomato—a company known for securing insider experiences—on a series of one-of-a-kind journeys around the globe. Plus: the must-see experiences and sites in each destination that are so unique we’ve designated them our new wonders of the world.
Experience the otherworldly beauty of northern Iceland during this tour of our New World Wonder, the Diamond Circle. Explore the moonlike landscape of Dimmuborgir Lava Fields; ride a helicopter over Dettifoss, a massive waterfall in a glacial river; and go on a whale safari in the Eyja Fjord, where you’ll get up close and personal with humpbacks. No trip is complete without a dip in the mineral-rich water of the Blue Lagoon, near Reykjavík. Plus: A guided journey through Mývatn, a region known for its colorful Viking history as well as its lava fields and mud pools.
Read the full trip outline below, and when you're ready to speak to an expert, get in touch with our luxury travel partner, Black Tomato.
Day 1: Reykjavik
Arrive in Reykjavik, where your guide will transfer you comfortably from the Keflavík International Airport to the center of the city, where you’ll check into the Alda Hotel, your home for two nights. Located in Laugavegur, the main commercial part of the city, Alda offers travelers the chance to experience boutique accommodation in one of the capital's trendiest districts.
Day 2: Gullfoss, Thingvellir National Park
Today you’ll embark on the Golden Circle tour, the best excursion to discover Iceland’s most iconic and beautiful sites. You‘ll start with the magnificent cascading waterfall of Gullfoss and continue on to the geothermal area. This is home to the original Geysir, where a thrilling display of nature’s power is showcased by a thermal column of water that shoots up almost 100 feet every four to eight minutes. Afterwards, you’ll continue on to Thingvellir National Park on the UNESCO preservation where Iceland’s natural beauty is all-encompassing.
Day 3: Lake Myvatn
Off the well-trodden path in northeast Iceland, Fosshotel Myvatn is your home starting today. Its 92 rooms sit perched above the shores of Lake Myvatn with views that extend far across the volcanic landscapes that surround it. The property is both architecturally stunning and sustainability conscious, using low environmental impact materials that guarantee the protection of the Myvatn landscapes for years to come.
Strange formations of lava, cold fresh water springs, boiling pools of mud and steaming volcanic ground—this is what makes the Mývatn area a destination like no other. Lake Mývatn has a rich local culture as the area has been settled from the era of the Vikings and this tour helps you to discover the magic of the area as it takes you to the most popular sights along with a few hidden local gems.
Lunch is at Vogafjós, offering homemade local specialties like smoked trout, housemade cheese, ice cream, and rye bread that’s baked in the ground by geothermal heat. After, head to the Myvatn Nature Baths, which is the Diamond Circle’s answer to the Blue Lagoon for soaking away any stress.
Day 4: Gjástykki, Vatnajökull National Park
You’ll explore the most iconic landmark of the area, the red mountain of Gjástykki which stands out against the dark lava fields. An expert guide will join you, and this is a great opportunity to understand the tectonic movement that splits the country in half.
Later, explore some of the highlights of the Diamond Circle by air, including Dettifoss and the Ásbyrgi Canyon. The majestic Dettifoss waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park is reputed to be one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. It’s situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which flows from the Vatnajökull glacier and collects water from a large area in northeast Iceland.
Day 5: Akureyri, Eyjafjord, the Blue Lagoon
Begin today by stopping at Goðafoss waterfall on the way to Akureyri. Goðafoss plays an important role in the Icelandic history, particularly in connection with the introduction of Christianity. Akureyri, nicknamed the capital of the north, and the second biggest city in Iceland after Reykjavík, is an important port and fishing center. The town is situated in one of the longest fjords in the country and surrounded by mountains. The Arctic Circle is only 37 miles north.
Then, get up close to the incredible humpback whales of the Eyjafjord, starting from Akureyri. With only 12 passengers on each boat, we can guarantee an adventure of a lifetime on this intimate whale watching tour with the specially made RIB boats allowing you to get closer to the whales and wildlife than any other boat. The RIBs are small, fast, and get you to the viewing area quickly, covering a large area as we search for wildlife. This means a better chance of spotting whales, dolphins and bird life without disturbing them in their natural habitat.
From here, it’s on to the Retreat at Blue Lagoon, a place of relaxation, rejuvenation, and exploration. Conceived for both day and overnight experiences, the Retreat is designed to bring you closer to nature and the wonders of geothermal seawater. When not soaking in the mineral-rich baths, try out the hotel’s Moss restaurant, which offers stunning views of the unique terrain.
From $12,750 per person for five days. To enquire about this trip with Black Tomato, click below.