The Most Unique Experiences in Akureyri, Iceland

Akureyri | © Andrea Schaffer/Flickr
Camille Buckley

Iceland has two major cities – Reykjavik in the South and Akureyri in the North. While Reykjavik gets a lot of attention for its close proximity to the airport and being the most cosmopolitan place on the island, its counterpart in the North is definitely worth a visit for the unique experiences it can offer, which are even quite different from Reykjavik.

Akureyri’s location makes it a great base for exploring the entire Northern region of Iceland, which includes some of the most incredible natural phenomena. Akureyri also offers a one-of-a-kind experience in all of Iceland: the beer bath.

Akureyri fjord

From Akureyri, you can make trips to Lake Mývatn and to the Askja Caldera as well. You can also enjoy whale watching in the fjord along which Akureyri sits, as well as horseback riding, skiing, and hiking in the surrounding mountains. While Reykjavik offers the Golden Circle, Akureyri offers the Diamond Circle, which is a day trip covering a large area that navigates some of these incredible spots.

On the way you will see lava fields, canyons, and waterfalls. You’ll start at the North end of Vatnajökull National Park and then travel to Ásbyrgi Canyon and then Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The route also includes Krafla, an active volcanic area where you can see and smell the force of nature right in front of you.


With Iceland being a land of few woodlands, a hike through the forest surrounding the town could be one of the most unique things on offer. There are many pleasant trails surrounding Akureyri for hiking or skiing in the wintertime.

Within the town itself, you can find interesting hiking paths, especially around the mouth of the river Eyjafjarðará toward the south of town, as well as the nature conservation area Krossanesborgir in the north of town. There is also the woodland area of Kjarnaskógur in the south. We likewise recommend a walk up mount Súlur, as it rises 1,214 metres above town and offers an astonishing view over the fjord.

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