Silver Circle Iceland is located in the western part of the country. On the Silver Circle, you will discover awe-inspiring waterfalls and powerful hot springs.
Also located on this route is a spa, an impressive lava cave, and a man-made ice tunnel inwards into one of Europe’s greatest glaciers with Iceland’s most important archaeological sites – this is truly a unique place for sightseeing!
Silver Circle is a perfect destination for hikers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts looking to explore the unique beauty of this secluded part of the world.
Juxtaposed with black sand beaches on the south coast of Iceland, you will find greenery sprinkled in the Icelandic Highlands and picturesque landscapes that are not to be missed!
In this travel guide, we will share sightseeing tips and attractions, accommodations, and general information on the area called the Silver Circle in Iceland.
Silver Circle Iceland: Itinerary, attractions, and tips
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What is the Silver Circle route in Iceland?
The Silver Circle is a driving and sightseeing route, located in western Iceland. It is home to a very unique Icelandic landscape dotted with waterfalls, historic sites and sagas, geothermal wonders like hot springs and spas, to glaciers and lava tubes.
This route can be done in a few hours from Reykjavik, or extended by 2 days (with overnight stay options).
Why visit the Silver Circle in Iceland?
The Silver Circle route is very different from the popular Golden Circle.
Silver Circle is offbeat, still doable on a day tour from Reykjavik, and it showcases the best of Iceland with its historic sites, waterfalls, geothermal spas and hot springs, and lava caves!
How to get to the Silver Circle?
- Tour: Here is a full day Silver Circle tour
- Drive: Reserve a car rental here. Take the Ring Road-1, and get to Borgarnes – this is the first town on the Silver Circle (perfect for a break, or to fill up gas)
For a day trip, the best way to get to the attractions on the Silver Circle is from Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland.
If you are looking for a different destination to stay overnight then the town of Borgarnes is a good option.
Silver Circle Itinerary 1 to 2 days
Here is an Iceland road trip itinerary on the Silver Circle from Reykjavik,
- Stop 1: Reykjavik to Borgarnes is 1 and 10 minutes drive
- Stop 2: Borgarnes to Reykholt is 35 minute’s drive (in Reykholt you can see the Snorri’s Pool, church, and other attractions in town)
- Stop 3: Reykholt to Husafell is 25 minute’s drive (in Husafell you can see artwork by Páll and then soak in the waters of Husafell Canyon Baths)
- Stop 4: Husafell to Thingellir National Park is 1 hour and 20 minutes
- Stop 5: Thingvellir or Þingvellir National Park to Reykjavik is 40 minutes
Þingvellir National Park is part of the Golden Circle route, and you can surely do a little loop that combines both on a day-long road trip. Golden Circle has stops at Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss, and the hot geysers at Strokkur.
Unfortunately, day tours do not combine both routes.
Did you know? The Golden Circle along with the Silver and the Diamond Circle (north) make up the Jewel Circles of Iceland!
For a 2 day Silver Circle Iceland itinerary, we recommend the following,
- Day 1, start from Reykjavik to Borgarnes, and stop at the Glanni waterfall, and then at the Deildartunguhver hot springs.
- You can spend a couple of hours at the Krauma spa. In the late afternoon, hit Reykholt and the Snorri’s pool. Finish the day with sightseeing at the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls. Stay overnight in Husafell – Hótel Húsafell.
- Day 2, explore the Husafell area and then visit the Vidgelmir Lava Cave (1-2 hours cave tour). Later soak in the waters of the Canyon Baths!
Silver Circle Guided Tours
Typically these are the stops covered with a sightseeing guide,
- Borgarnes (quick stop)
- Glanni Waterfall
- The historical town of Reykholt with the Snorri’s pool
- Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfall
- Husafell area
- Husafell Canyon Baths or Vidgelmir Lava Cave in Hallmundarhraun lava field (entry fee applies, and only one attraction can be covered on a tour)
There is also a super jeep tour that can be added to explore the Highlands!
Where to stay on the Silver Circle route
The Silver Circle has a few cool places to stay,
- B59 Hotel: Located in Borgarnes town is the modern B59 Hotel. It has restaurants on site and lots of walking and hiking trails nearby. Book your stay here
- Basalt Hotel: Another Borgarnes accommodation is the Basalt Hotel. This is on the Golden Circle route, so you can cover both on a road trip! Book your stay here
- Hótel Húsafell: The landscapes of Húsafell are breathtaking, and when you stay at a hotel of the same name you have all the wonderful natural wonders at your disposal from hikes to baths! More details of the Hótel Húsafell here
12 Things to see on the Silver Circle: Attractions and tours
There are lots of amazing things to see on the Silver Circle route! We will list them out for you below,
1. Glanni Waterfalls
Glanni Waterfalls are beautiful falls located near the town of Borgarnes and this is your very first stop on the Silver Circle route. The falls and their surroundings are wonderful with lush greenery and vegetation.
The site is very different from the iconic waterfalls that most tourists see on the south coast of Iceland.
Accessing the Glanni waterfalls is easy. It is a short walk from the parking lot, through a wooded area.
To view the Glanni waterfalls there is a lovely viewing platform. From this viewing area, you can soak in the stunning views of the Hvítá river as it cascades down the rocks!
If interested you can extend your time here by embarking on long hikes through the forest and enjoying the unique landscape of west Iceland!
2. Deildartunguhver – Powerful geothermal spring in Europe
Deildartunguhver is Europe’s strongest hot spring. It is located near Reykholt and provides domestic heating to the towns of Borgarnes and Akranes, as well as surrounding farms.
Deildartunguhver is a vast pool of boiling water that gushes forth with immense force from beneath the earth’s surface. Its temperature ranges from 97-107°C (206-225°F) and provides 180 liters (47.5 gallons) of hot boiling water.
The hot spring is an impressive sight to behold, with a stunning array of colors that range from deep green and blue hues to vibrant yellow shades.
The area also boasts hot-water pipes that direct the springs’ energy to nearby towns and villages, supplying them with a reliable source of geothermal energy.
When taking photos of the hot spring you have to be super careful not to go too close to it, as it could damage the camera lenses.
Located super close to Deildartunguhver is a greenhouse where local farmers produce organic vegetables, and it is open for visitors to see!
3. Krauma Spa – Geothermal Baths and Spa
Krauma Spa is an Icelandic-inspired geothermal spa located close to the Deildartunguhver hot spring. It’s a unique and relaxing spa that draws its energy from one of Europe’s most powerful hot springs, providing visitors with a truly unforgettable experience.
The Krauma Spa offers a wide range of services and amenities, including an outdoor pool, geothermal baths, a sauna, a steam room, multiple cold showers, and even an in-house restaurant.
The spa is known for its healing properties thanks to the naturally occurring minerals in the hot springs.
The Krauma Spa is the perfect spot for relaxation and rejuvenation. The facilities are state-of-the-art, and the staff is friendly and accommodating. The outdoor pool allows guests to take in the surrounding panoramic views of the Icelandic countryside while soaking in geothermal waters.
The Krauma Spa is easily accessed from Reykjavik on a day trip, making it an ideal destination for those short on time. It is a great place for anyone looking for some peace and serenity during their trip to Iceland.
With its natural hot springs and spa amenities, it’s a perfect spot for anyone looking to unwind and enjoy some of the best that Iceland has to offer.
- Address: Deildartunguhver, 320 Reykholt, Iceland
- Tickets: Starts at $39 USD per person
4. The historical town of Reykholt
Reykholt is an idyllic Icelandic town that has witnessed substantial historical events. It was the hub of Icelandic culture in its prime.
The town dates back to the year 871 AD when it was established as a trading center by Viking settlers.
Reykholt is best known for being the birthplace of Snorri Sturluson – an icon from the 13th century who left his mark as an esteemed poet, author, and law speaker with his renowned Eddas.
His writings serve as a priceless source of information about the Viking Age and are highly revered by many to this day.
Reykholt is a great place to explore the culture and history of Iceland, with an abundance of historical sites to visit. You can check out the churches, see local artifacts at museums, or take a stroll through Reykholt’s old town center.
5. Snorralaug or Snorri’s pool
Snorri’s Pool is a unique and historic swimming pool located in Reykholt. It was created by politician Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century and is named after the renowned chieftain.
This natural pool has been used for centuries for bathing, swimming, and other recreational activities, but its use has been forbidden since 1817.
The site access is open 24/7 and is open to visitors all year round.
You can also enter the small house that is located by the pool. The pool is surrounded by lush vegetation, giving it a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere.
6. Hraunfossar Waterfalls
Hraunfossar, nicknamed “the Lava Falls,” is a stunning natural marvel and rare in the Icelandic landscape.
Out of ice-cold glacial water arises from lava rock to form numerous cascades and rapids that flow down into the crystal clear blue river below.
The stretch of the waterfall spans 900 meters (2950 feet) across striking cliffs!
The majestic waterfall is made up of thousands of small streams that flow out of a lava field into the Hvítá River. It actually originates from Langjökull glacier which then merges with Hvítá River where the famous Gullfoss Waterfall also lies.
The falls are just a short drive from Reykholt.
Once you arrive at the Hraunfossar site, you can take a short walk along the falls and admire the beauty of this natural wonder. There is a walking trail along with various platforms to take in the view of the entire landscape.
The waterfall is also surrounded by lush vegetation, making it an ideal spot for bird watching or simply taking in the scenery.
Ensure you are wearing comfortable hiking shoes to get to various lookout points here!
7. Barnafoss Waterfall
A stone’s throw away from the remarkable Hraunfossar lies Barnafoss or Children’s Fall.
This cascade is closely linked to a tragic tale that happened centuries ago; it was said that two orphans of an unfortunate widow had fallen into the river and met their untimely demise.
From then on, this rushing waterway has been forever known as Barnafoss.
Though it’s not as large or powerful as some of the other waterfalls in Iceland, Barnafoss is still a stunning sight to behold.
The water cascades over the rocky cliffs into the Hvítá river below, creating a beautiful scene of rushing rapids and blue-green waters.
8. Husafell Area
The Husafell area in Iceland is a stunning natural wonderland with breathtaking scenery.
Located in the Borgarfjörður district of West Iceland, it features lush green valleys and majestic mountains that make for some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth.
The area is known for its hiking trails and outdoor activities, with plenty of options to choose from, including glacier walks, camping, horseback riding, and snowmobiling.
You can also explore the stunning nature reserves in the area such as Husafell Nature Reserve and Deildargil Canyon.
Husafell is also home to some of the most renowned hot springs in Iceland, offering visitors a chance to relax and rejuvenate their tired bodies. There are also several cultural sites such as traditional turf houses and “elf huts” here.
As you drive in the area, you will come across a charming church and see intriguing works by local artists, as well as the famous “Lifting Stone of Husafell.”
9. Husafell Canyon Baths
Nestled away in the pure wilderness, Husafell Canyon Baths is a breathtaking man-made geothermal pool in Iceland that will transport you to another world far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The baths offer a unique and luxurious experience, combining natural hot springs with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
Husafell Canyon Baths offer an environmentally friendly and sustainable approach to the Icelandic way of wellness.
Designed with minimal environmental disruption in mind, these baths are sure to deliver a unique experience that could only be found in Iceland.
Unlike the other lagoons near Reykjavik, the Canyon Baths have a set ticket for every visitor and no add-ons like masks or drinks are offered.
The views from the Husafell Canyon Baths are truly amazing, with visitors being able to take in the majestic canyon and the surrounding snow-capped mountains up close and personal.
The baths are also surrounded by a variety of other attractions, including hiking trails, and waterfalls.
This area is a part of the Icelandic Highlands, and the Canyon Baths belong to the greater Husafell recreational area.
Husafell is located about 2 hours from Reykjavik.
- Address: 320 Húsafell, Iceland Iceland
- Tickets: 9,900 ISK per person for a 2 hour window (includes a visit with a guide, towels, shared changing facilities, and 4×4 transportation to and from Hotel Húsafell)
Langifoss is an awe-inspiring two-tiered waterfall not far from the Husafell Canyon Baths – boasting a breathtaking drop among the spectacular countryside.
Capture its full beauty by following the short hiking trail beginning at the nearby Baths area.
There is a viewing platform where you can take in the stunning views of Langifoss and its surroundings.
11. Vidgelmir Lava Cave
Prepare to be astonished as you explore the expansive Víðgelmir Cave, Iceland’s largest lava cave and one of the most impressive in all of the world.
Located inside the Víðgelmir cave is an incredible discovery of Viking-age jewelry and bones.
At a staggering 148,000 cubic meters (3.55 cu miles), its grandeur is matched only by its awe-inspiring interior — filled with glittering ice formations, unique lava stalactites, and mesmerizing stalagmites!
You can visit the cave by taking a guided tour. These tours are available throughout the year!
12. Langjökull Glacier Ice Cave
Located a mere hour away from Husafell, the Langjökull Glacier is home to an ice cave tunnel, the world’s largest artificial one.
You can join a guided tour of this mesmerizing location by riding in either a monster truck or military style vehicle – both equally thrilling!
As you venture through the 500m long glacier tunnel leading to five glacial chambers, be prepared for sights of extraordinary ice structures.
If interested you can combine ice cave and northern lights tours in the winter.
Sightseeing Map – Silver Circle Iceland
Golden Circle vs Silver Circle
Golden, Silver, and Diamond Circles are well-marked sightseeing driving routes in Iceland, and together they make up the Jewel Circles of Iceland.
The Golden Circle is a popular one of the three tourist routes in Iceland. It consists of three main attractions—the Geysir geothermal area, the Gullfoss waterfall, and Þingvellir National Park.
You can complete the circular route in one day and also add extra stops at the Kerid Crater, Secret Lagoon or add the Blue Lagoon to the mix. This route is focused on the southern part of Iceland.
The Silver Circle is located in the western part of the country. It includes stops such as the hottest springs in Europe – Deildartunguhver, the land of Icelandic sagas at the historic town of Reykholt with the Snorri’s pool, waterfalls and geothermal pools, and lava caves.
The Golden Circle is a great option for first-time visitors to Iceland as it covers some of the country’s most iconic sites in one day trip. It usually takes about 6 hours to complete, with plenty of stops to check out the sites.
The Silver Circle is unique, but a longer route. By embarking on this route you can check off some of the offbeat areas in Iceland!
Is the Silver Circle worth it?
The Silver Circle is definitely worth it if you are looking to explore some of the lesser-known attractions in Iceland. This route will take you through stunning landscapes and offbeat sites, offering a more authentic view of the country than is available on the Golden Circle.
Along the way on the Silver Circle route, you’ll get to see some of Iceland’s most impressive natural wonders, such as Deildartunguhver hot springs and other geothermal areas. You can also explore underground at a cave in Hallmundarhraun lava field, or visit the historic town of Reykholt and its associated sites.
The Silver Circle is a great way to get off the beaten path and explore some of Iceland’s hidden gems. It’s an excellent option for travelers who have already experienced the Golden Circle, or for those looking for an awe-inspiring adventure.
Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to explore some of Iceland’s most stunning landscapes. Whether you choose to take it on your own or with a guided tour, the Silver Circle is an experience you won’t soon forget!
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