the geothermal activities in the Western Iceland may have its Golden Circle, but the North has a scenic route of its own, which is properly called the Diamond Circle.
It is much less crowded and large parts are on unpaved roads. You do not need a 4X4 though. If you drive a rental car be sure to take all the insurances on offer, there is a fair chance you may need them.
Traveling on the Ringroad in easterly direction you can first visit the Godafoss, than head north to visit Iceland's whale watching capital Husavik.
From there you follow the 85 to the Vatnajökull National Park that features the impressive waterfalls Hafragilsfoss and Dettifoss.
When you hit the Ringroad again turn right and head for Lake Myvatn and its geothermal area. On the way you can make a small detour to visit the geothermal activities in the Krafla caldera.
All in all the Diamond Circle tour is well worth its name, take your time and enjoy.
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Myvatn Area