The Advanced Tour – 5 days sunna
THE ADVANCED TOUR
North Iceland has an abundance of natural wonders, opportunities for adventures and interesting landmarks to explore. This is why we recommend that you spend at least a few days in North Iceland to make sure you are not missing out on some of the most popular sights. To help you make your journey more efficient we have put together three itineraries that cover all the major attractions in North Iceland.
This journey is an idea on how you can spend 5 days of exploring North Iceland. Few areas in Iceland have as many attractions within such a short distance of each other so although the itinerary covers a lot of places it is well possible to stay the nights in the same location, to visit the attractions during the day and return to your place of accommodation before the end of the day.
Akureyri is a beautiful town all year round and deserves, at least, a day to explore. We recommend an early rise to start the day on a guided tour. Ambassador is a whale-watching company that offer tours in the morning, or you can experience the natural beauty of Eyjafjord on a horseback with the horse rental Pólar Hestar. They offer a range of riding tours and have been one of Akureyri’s leading horse rentals for 30 years.
You should be craving a good lunch after a busy morning, so head to Krua Siam for a Thai lunch buffet, or Bautinn for more of a traditional soup and salad kind-of-lunch. The afternoon can be spent strolling around downtown Akureyri, visiting museums. If you are visiting during winter, you might want to go skiing for a few hours but it only takes 20 minutes by car to the ski area. If it’s summer, having a picnic in the Botanic Garden or a barbecue and a play day in Kjarnaskogur forest are excellent ways to spend an afternoon.
When choosing a restaurant for dinner, Rub23 should be carefully considered. It is a local favourite because of the way they use unique spices while offering a cozy and comfortable environment. It is the perfect way to end and discuss the adventures of the day.
It is likely that if you are visiting North Iceland that you will stay in Akureyri. The town is great to serve as a base for your travels in the area as it will have any necessary services as well as having good and easy travel access for many significant landmarks in North Iceland. On the first day, head to the small fishing village of Dalvík. It is located around 40 km north of Akureyri, or about 35 minutes driving distance.
We recommend that you take a small detour on the way to visit the historical place of Gásir. It is located 11 km from Akureyri, on the shore of Eyjafjord. It’s a former trading post from the Middle Ages but nowhere else in Iceland is it possible to find so many antiquities from these times. It’s a truly remarkable place and an ideal pit-stop if you are interested in learning about Viking Ages and the history of Iceland.
After you’ve had the Viking spirit of Gásir taken over you, continue driving for half-an-hour until you reach Dalvík. Spend a few hours exploring the town, dip into the local swimming pool and visit the museum of Dalvík. When you have enjoyed yourself in Dalvík, take the ferry to Hrísey. It runs every two hours all day during summer.
Hrísey is the second largest off-shore island in Iceland and is a well-known paradise for bird watchers. It only inhabits around 200 individuals in a small fishing village with a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains of Eyjafjord. The island has marked hiking routes that we recommend and not to forget the tractor tours where you sit in a cart pulled by a tractor through the village. The last ferry leaves at 23:00, so you should have plenty of time to explore Hrísey before heading back to Akureyri.
Mývatn is one of the most stunning areas of Iceland and is definitely a must-see during your stay in Iceland. It takes around an hour and 15 minutes to get there by car from Akureyri and we recommend that you get there early, and even plan an overnight stay in the area to make sure not to miss any major sightseeings. Make sure you won’t miss Godafoss waterfall, but you will pass it on the way from Akureyri to Mývatn.
Start by heading to Krafla and Hverir and from there walk some stunning, but easy short trails to Leirhnjúkur and Námafjall. If you want to be sure not to miss out, make a detour loop from Reykjahlid to Grjótagjá (you can even dip your toes in the hot cave water), Stóragjá, Hverfell, Dimmuborgir, Höfði and back. If a hike isn’t suitable (or the weather isn’t that great) these sights can also be enjoyed from the car.
For an exquisite overview of the Myvatn lake region, contact Myflug, a small airline that offers sightseeing flights upon request. We cannot think of a better way to capture the unique beauty of the surreal landscapes than by air. The tours Myflug offer are from 20 minutes to 2 hours long but bear in mind that they also do tours upon request.
End the day with a lovely dinner while you enjoy a beautiful view at Hotel Laxá restaurant. An evening stroll along Myvatn Lake shores is also a nice way to reflect on a great day of sightseeing.
Start your day with a luxury breakfast and bath in the Myvatn Nature Baths. The restaurant Kvikan offers fresh baked bread and an extensive salad bar amongst other treats. It is, therefore, ideal to treat yourself with a good breakfast before taking a dip in the nature bath. The lagoon is very similar to the Blue Lagoon although smaller and not as well known among tourists. It is incredibly nurturing for skin and spirit to bathe in a natural hot spring and a perfect way to start the day.
After you are all clean and relaxed, head on the road towards Húsavík. The town is often named the whale-watching capital of Iceland so if you didn’t go whale watching in Akureyri, now is your time. Gentle Giants is a leading whale-watching company in Húsavík and offer tours throughout the day. Otherwise, Húsavík is a beautiful town worth seeing. It has great hiking routes, a whale-watching museum, cultural house with exhibitions and café and, of course, a local swimming pool.
Explore Ásbyrgi canyon on the last day of the tour. Trek to the top of Eyjan and the cliff over the canyon for a breathtaking view. Take trails that allow you to explore the dark basalt rock formations at Hljóðaklettar, or the Whispering Rocks and the colourful Rauðhólar hills.
Now you are almost at the end of this tour but you have one more stop to make. When you hit the road again, make sure you take the route that leads you to the mighty Dettifoss. The waterfall is the most powerful in Europe and makes you truly feel the power of the Icelandic nature. We recommend that you also take some time to walk towards Selfoss waterfall. It is not as majestic as Dettifoss but it is very beautiful and well worth to see.
From Dettifoss, you can either travel back to Myvatn or Akureyri, or you can continue on your quest in Iceland by going east to explore the East Iceland.