For a unique Iceland experience, avoid the crowds of the south completely. This trip has it all: volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, nature baths, whale watching, fjords and more. Below are 2 great ways to experience the north: all the highlights with only a fraction of the people. You can maximize your time by taking a domestic flight over the beautiful highlands of the interior to Akureyri, or you can drive one way and fly from Akureyri back to Reykjavik.
Goðafoss Waterfall of the Gods, Northern Iceland
Set between the towns of Akureyri and Húsavík in Northern Iceland is Goðafoss Waterfall, known as the "Waterfall of the Gods" for its impressive size and unique history. The waterfall got its name when the country converted to Christianity in the year 1000. According to local legend, the chieftain Þorgeir Þorkelsson made the tough decision to convert the country from the old Nordic gods to Christianity (to prevent war). So he threw the old gods into the falls to symbolize the change to the new era.
It's impossible to miss Goðafoss, as it's just off Route 1, Iceland's famous Ring Road. After parking your car, you'll enjoy a quick and easy walk that takes you to see the waterfall up close. Or, you can opt for a slightly longer trek following a path that offers multiple views from several different perspectives.
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Itineraries with Goðafoss Waterfall of the Gods
Drive Iceland's famous Ring Road on this quick, eight-day trip, which includes a detour to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Head south to the most visited highlights, including massive waterfalls, black-sand beaches, and glaciers. Enjoy the scenic route through the East Fjords before arriving at Lake Mývatn, surrounded by geothermal and volcanic wonders. Visit the whale-watching capital of Husavik and venture west into the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with its small fishing towns, easy cliffside walks, and lava fields, and end by exploring the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavík.
This off-the-beaten-path road trip is especially great during summer months when peak crowds head for Iceland's south coast and Golden Circle (and accommodations can be hard to find). Instead, you'll escape to more remote areas of the country, traveling from Reykjavik all the way to its sunnier north coast with stops in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Westfjords (by way of car ferry), Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. There's plenty of time to experience unique geological features along the way with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools, not to mention cool Scandinavian culture and cuisine.
Take a different route—past the large crowds in the south—on this quick and scenic, five-day road trip. This itinerary is especially enticing for those who have been to popular areas, like the South Coast and Golden Circle, as it incorporates different regions. In West Iceland, hike to Glymur Falls, then head to the Artic Coast to check out turf houses, basalt formations, and the geothermal pools. Tour and spend two nights in Akureyri, along with discovering Goðafoss Waterfall and Lake Mývatn’s highlights, before enjoying time in the capital and a soak in the Blue Lagoon.