You might not have heard of Akureyri, the quiet trading post turned college town of less than 20,000 residents. The dramatic landscape of Iceland might be most popularly witnessed in cities like Reykvevik, but Akureyri is a nice alternative to experience breathtaking nature, mountainscapes, and some of the best trails Iceland has to offer. It’s also a beautiful place to catch sight of the country’s famous auroras while on an Iceland cruise.
Hike Hlíðarfjall or the nearby Godafoss for great waterfall views. Take a dip in Icelandic hot springs, tour the lava fields of Dimmuborgir, or enjoy a day in nature at the Akureyri Botanical Gardens. Simply put, an Akureyri cruise is a great way to experience Iceland off-the-beaten path.
What was once a hotel is now one of the most popular ski resorts in the entire country. The mountain slopes of Hlíðarfjall make for an ideal afternoon of skiing and snow sports
Ever seen a lava field up close? Dimmuborgir offers you a chance to see these dramatic natural landscapes in person, not just in photographs. The lava fields here are some of the most unusual in the world.
Akureyri’s most famous waterfall is Godafoss, which, at nearly 40 feet tall, is a sight to behold. It’s said that this spectacular waterfall, known as the “waterfall of the gods,” got its name when the leader declared Christianity the official religion of the region. Up close, Godafoss is simply breathtaking.
Many private companies and tour operators in Iceland offer exciting full-day excursions where you can go out on a boat and spot whales from the Arctic waters. Equipment and rain-resistant clothing is often provided.
At the Akureyri Museum, which is located in a preserved 19th century church, you’ll learn all about the history of the town, its artifacts, and what makes Akureyri unlike anywhere else in Iceland.
An authentic Icelandic mud bath is a hard-to-beat way to relax when you’re on vacation. Head to the baths at Lake Myvatn, which are said to have healing properties, or stop at the hot springs of Hverir.
Noa Seafood Restaurant
Beef, lamb, and fried foods are the menu staples at Noa’s, a big space open from around 4pm to 9pm each day. Be sure to ask your waiter for recommendations, and don’t miss the chance to try the fresh fish of the day.
This cafe serves breakfast all day long, making it a popular spot for locals nursing their third cup of coffee or chowing down on diner-style eggs and bacon. Simple and unpretentious, Berlin is a breakfast or lunch spot where you don’t have to rush.
Akureyri Fish Restaurant
This is the definitive place to find authentic Icelandic fish and chips in Akureyri, and it doesn’t disappoint. You could go for a salmon dish, too, but whatever you do, be sure to order a cold local beer with your meal.
Akureyri didn’t even have a major population until the 20th century. From the 1600s to the 1900s, only select Danish traders lived in the town, which gave rise to its Danish architecture and culture. Today, the total population at this relaxed, unhurried college town clocks in at less than 20,000 people. Most travelers come to Akureyri to experience a more off-the-beaten-path approach to Icelandic travel, which continues to boom in recent years.
The port of Akureyri is minimally equipped. Most attractions and things to do are near the city center, which is just a short walk from the port. It should take less than 10 minutes to walk from the port of Akureyri to one of the many things to do in Akureyri.
Taxis and buses are available modes of transportation during your time in Akureyri. Many travelers who stay longer than a day will rent a car to explore nearby towns. Otherwise, walking in the city center is the commonly chosen method of transportation to see the local sights. Bicycle rentals are available, too.
The most popular shopping items people buy when visiting the country are authentic Icelandic knit sweaters. Tax-free shopping is the norm in Iceland, and shops will have a sign in the window that indicates whether or not they’re tax free. Otherwise, Akureyri offers a few large shopping malls as well as artisan-made goods in the city center.
When traveling in Iceland on an Akureyri cruise, you’ll use the krona, which is the official currency of Iceland. Many establishments accept the euro as well. Most places take credit and debit cards, so carrying cash isn’t absolutely necessary. Iceland isn’t a very cash-centric society. Leaving a tip isn’t customary, whether you’re at a restaurant or in a taxi.