Whale watching is one of the most popular Akureyri tours, so places should be booked early to guarantee a seat. This is your chance to enjoy close encounters with the majestic marine mammals in a safe and controlled environment. Make sure you have your camera ready!
While whales are sometimes spotted from the land, Akureyri boat tours offer the greatest chances of a sighting. You'll head out from the port, traveling along the coast in search of wildlife. These trips last around 3 hours to give you as much time as possible out on the water.
Humpback whales are frequent visitors to these shores, and they're often seen in the Eyjafjord sound. If you're lucky, you might spot minke whales, dolphins and porpoises too.
Some trips take place on traditional Icelandic schooners while others offer a thrilling speedboat ride. The former is a leisurely cruise, while the latter will get you to the whales much faster. Waterproof overalls are usually provided, and warm clothing layers are advisable for both experiences.
Prepare yourself for a soaking as you tackle some of the most thrilling rivers in Iceland. On these active Akureyri tours, you'll plunge through rapids while surrounded by dramatic scenery. It's a fun way to see a different side of the northern landscape, far from the crowds.
Different river grades are available, which means there's something for beginners as well as experienced paddlers. You'll be accompanied by a professional guide, so you'll be in good hands at all times. Safety equipment is provided but don't forget to take a change of clothing.
Glacial rivers cut through the volcanic landscape, taking you on a unique journey into the wild. Hang on tight through churning rapids like the 'Alarm Clock' and 'Deep Fry'. Then relax in the calmer spots to appreciate the untamed beauty of your surroundings.
Some trips end with a cliff jump into the river in celebration of your achievement. It'll be cold but the burst of adrenaline and bragging rights make it worth the effort if you're feeling brave.
The Aurora Borealis is one of the top reasons people visit Iceland in winter. This ethereal green light dances across the sky at night, creating an otherworldly glow. Occurring regularly between October and April, the northern lights are often spotted in Akureyri.
You'll be collected from your hotel in the evening for seamless round-trip transfers. Then you'll head out of town on a jeep tour to get away from the light pollution of the city. Your guide will take you deep into the wilderness where snowy forests and icy lakes provide the perfect viewing backdrop.
As you wait for one of Mother Nature's most famous shows to begin, warm up with a mug of hot chocolate and an Icelandic doughnut. Meanwhile, up above, the twinkling stars add an extra touch of enchantment to the experience.
Tours last around 3 hours to give you plenty of time to try and spot the lights. If they don't make an appearance, many operators will offer you a place on another trip, depending on availability.
The Diamond Circle is one of the most iconic Akureyri tours. Like the Golden Circle in the south of Iceland, this route takes in some of the country's most spectacular landscapes. It's a full day out to cover as much ground as possible.
There are several famous landmarks included on these adventures. First up is Lake Mývatn, which is known for its birdlife and lava fields. Formed by volcanic eruptions, this shallow body of water makes for enviable photos.
You'll also stop at Godafoss Waterfall, which plunges into a rocky caldron. Ancient chiefs used to hurl pagan idols into the churning waters, hence the name "Waterfall of the Gods". Dettifoss Waterfall is another popular stop – it's one of the most powerful cascade in Europe.
The village of Húsavík provides some contrast in your sightseeing. Admire the small wooden church, which was built in 1907, and keep your eyes peeled for whales swimming off the coast. It's easy to see why the Vikings chose this location as their very first place to settle.
Akureyri tours by horseback are a fun way to explore the remote landscapes up here in the north. Icelandic ponies are hardy creatures, well suited to navigate through the unyielding terrain and unreliable weather.
You don't need any riding experience to enjoy one of these excursions. On arrival, you'll be kitted up with helmets and shown how to handle your mount. Don't worry, your new equine friend will know exactly where it's going.
Once you're comfortable, it's time to head out into the wild. Follow your ride leader at a gentle pace and sit back in the saddle, taking in your surroundings. If you're looking for true nature immersion, this is the way to experience it!
As your confidence builds, you can increase the pace to a trot, passing rivers and journeying along ridges in the heart of the Icelandic north. You'll be able to stop to take photos at scenic spots so make sure your camera is securely attached. Enjoy a hot drink along the trail to help keep warm.
The mountain range of Kerlingarfjöll is one of the most imposing sights in the Highlands of Iceland. Reaching 1,477 meters in height, the peaks loom over the volcanic wilderness like sentinels keeping watch across the north.
To see this dramatic scene up close, a jeep tour is required. You'll head off-road into the remote highland region, taking in the colorful rhyolite hills and searching for geothermal hot spots. Your guide will tell you about the unique geology of the area and stop at scenic overlooks for photos.
Watch as the views unfold during your journey between the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers. Then stretch your legs in the Hveravellir area where lava fields and mud pools remind you of the presence of volcanoes.
Finish the day on a high with a soak in one of the natural hot springs at Hveravellir. Lunch is usually taken at the Kerlingarfjöll Highland Resort, where the scenery is as good as the food. You'll be returned to Akureyri in the evening, after a fun-packed day out.
Akureyri is the largest town in the north of Iceland and makes a popular base for visitors exploring this remote region. Thanks to its location, Akureyri sees far smaller crowds than the capital Reykjavik, which is part of the appeal. Surrounded by mountains, the setting is as much of a draw as the town's attractions.
The port settlement sits just 100 kilometers from the Arctic Circle and has traditionally relied on fishing for its economy. Today, tourism and industry have made their mark, but the strong local Icelandic heritage remains ever-present.
From Akureyri, you can enjoy adventures into the wild interiors and take in stunning waterfalls that easily rival the popular cascades in the south. This region is famed for its natural beauty and geothermal activity, with a wealth of wildlife to encounter. Puffins and whales are often spotted, and if you're here in winter, keep an eye out for the northern lights.
There is an international airport in Akureyri, with a handful of direct flights arriving from Europe. If you're traveling from further afield, you will need to book a connecting flight from Reykjavik. Alternatively, Akureyri is easily accessed by car if you're driving the Icelandic Ring Road.
If you've arrived by car, there are plenty of parking areas in town, some of which are free. You'll need a parking card, which can be found in most shops and hotels. For those who have flown here or taken the bus from Reykjavik, the ultimate way to see this remote area is on guided day tours.
Thanks to the town's small size, Akureyri can easily be explored on foot. You can visit the top sights and soak up the vibe in just a few hours. Allow a few more days to enjoy excursions into the highlands to see the waterfalls and lakes.
There are lots of accommodation options in Akureyri, with everything from luxury hotels to hostels. Booking early is recommended, especially if you're visiting during the summer. To fully appreciate what the landscape has to offer, you'll need to stay for at least a couple of days.
You can head to Akureyri at any time of year but be aware that the weather can often be unpredictable. Most people come here between June and August for the warmer temperatures and the midnight sun. However, while much colder, winter has its own charm, with frozen landscapes offering an added layer of magic.
There are lots of adventurous Akureyri tours to keep you busy up here near the Arctic Circle. First up is the Diamond Circle, which is the north's answer to the Golden Circle down in the south of the island. You'll see waterfalls, lakes, fishing villages and lava fields on a day trip into the wild interior.
Godafoss is perhaps the most famous waterfall in the north, while a visit to Dettifoss takes you into the heart of nature. A stop at the volcanic Lake Mývatn is included on many excursions – it's one of the prettiest landscapes in Iceland.
Iceland isn't the cheapest of destinations, but that doesn't mean you can't travel here on a budget. Just strolling around the town and admiring the traditional wooden buildings and colorful architecture is a popular pastime. The downtown area is pedestrianized – this is where you'll find some of the most photo-worthy scenes.
It's free to enter the Akureyrarkirkja, which is the main church in town, as well as the Arctic Botanical Garden. You can also head down to the waterfront district for epic views across the fjord. Finally, for a modest fee, enjoy a soak in the geothermal swimming pool in the center of Akureyri.