Akureyri & north Iceland – not to be missed
North Iceland is a region rich in fabulous places to visit, home to perhaps the best whale watching spots in the country at Húsavík and Dalvík, the thunderous waterfalls of Goðafoss and Dettifoss, the vast expanse of Lake Mývatn, the enormous horseshoe-shaped canyon at Ásbyrgi and the astonishing lava field formations at Dimmuborgir.
With Akureyri or Húsavík as a base and a rental car from Nonni Travel, Goðafoss is easily reached, lying just off Route 1 to the east of the turnoff to Route 85. Free access to the “Waterfall of the Gods” lies on both sides, enabling a look at the waterfall that has great significance in Iceland’s religious history.
Further eastwards is Lake Mývatn, which translates as “the lake of the midges,” where visitors can explore, hike, bike or ride horses for countless happy hours.
The Ring Road 1 skirts the northern and western edge of Mývatn, while the tarmac Route 848 covers the eastern and southern stretches.
Mývatn is immense, easily taking more than an hour to drive around.
Along the route, there are several stunning sights to visit, as you pick your way through ancient lava-strewn landscapes.
Halfway down 848 is the short road to Dimmuborgir, an incredible array of bizarre lava formations, with several easy walks to be taken amongst them.
Another possible choice is to make an ascent of Hverfjall, a gigantic volcanic crater that lies right next to Route 848.
When looking south from the northern shores of Mývatn, beautiful flat-topped mountains can be seen in the distance, offering fantastic photo opportunities.
Heading west from Mývatn, the drive towards Akureyri from the eastern side of Eyjafjörður is a marvelous stretch of the Ring Road, as the road swoops downhill to cross the head of the fjord before looping back into Iceland’s second city.
Akureyri’s main street, Hafnarstræti, has a generous selection of bars, cafes, and restaurants to enjoy.
In Akureyri, all the red traffic lights are heart-shaped.
Have a look for yourself.