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The Ultimate Guide of Things To Do in North Iceland for Every Traveler

When you think of things to do in North Iceland, the sheer breadth of experiences might astonish you. North Iceland beckons travelers with its unique charm, from ethereal landscapes to rich traditions.

This guide delves into the must-visit spots that promise a mix of thrill and tranquility, ensuring an unforgettable Icelandic escapade. So if you're looking for things to do in North Iceland, read on—you won't want to miss out!

Things to do in north Iceland

1. Savor Icelandic Brews at Akureyri's Local Breweries

Among the top things to do in North Iceland is indulging in the country's rich beer culture. Bruggsmiðjan Kaldi Brewery, situated near Akureyri, is the perfect destination for this experience.

As Iceland's first microbrewery, Kaldi offers visitors an authentic glimpse into the heart of Icelandic brewing traditions. With its combination of age-old techniques and innovative flavors, a visit here becomes an essential stop for beer enthusiasts.

Our Icelandic beer guide provides a deep dive into the history, tastes, and nuances of those curious about the broader beer landscape in this Nordic nation. So, whether you're sipping on a crisp lager or exploring the deeper notes of a stout, Kaldi ensures your North Icelandic journey is paired with unforgettable brews.

best things to do in northern iceland

2. Venture Into the Mystical Lofthellir Ice Cave

One of the standout northeast Iceland attractions is the enchanting Lofthellir Ice Cave. Born from a volcanic eruption approximately 3,500 years ago, Lofthellir showcases nature's artistry. The cave stretches an impressive 370 meters (1,214 feet), where entry demands a brief crawl, leading adventurers to vast chambers they can comfortably traverse.

Its walls and ceiling boast an intriguing color palette, with shades of red, yellow, and green revealing rich iron, sulfur, and copper deposits. Unlike many Ice caves in Iceland, Lofthellir's defining feature is its permanent ice structures, formed as water trickles down through the porous lava rock, crafting the unique icicles that embellish the cave.

Located just east of Lake Mývatn, the cave is best accessed from Akureyri, Húsavík, or Reykjahlið. After a short parking stop near Mount Hvannfell, a scenic half-hour hike over a lava plain brings you to its entrance.

Lofthellir Ice Cave

3. Chase the Northern Lights in the Skies of Akureyri

One of the most enchanting things to do in the North of Iceland is chasing the Northern Lights in the skies of Akureyri. This picturesque town, often termed the 'Capital of the North,' offers an ideal backdrop for this celestial dance.

Away from the bright lights of the bigger cities, Akureyri provides clearer, darker skies that heighten the chance to witness the aurora's ethereal greens, pinks, and purples. Viewers are left in awe of nature's grandeur as they twist and ripple across the vast expanse.

While the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and sightings can't be guaranteed, the serene landscapes around Akureyri increase the odds. This experience, blending natural wonder with the charm of a northern town, is truly one for the bucket list.

Northern Lights North Iceland

4. Ride Through Scenic Landscapes on Icelandic Horses

One of the best things to do in northern Iceland is to ride through its scenic landscapes on the distinctive Icelandic horse. These unique horses, deeply rooted in the country's history and culture, offer an unparalleled equestrian experience.

The Hestasport's Viking Ride is a popular choice among enthusiasts. As you embark on this journey, you'll have the privilege to feel the horse's amazing fourth gait - the Tölt - on soft, grassy paths designed for this experience.

The trail takes you alongside the tranquil river Svartá, over an adventurous track on a hillside, and culminates at the breathtaking Reykjafoss waterfall. Experiencing Iceland's natural beauty atop these resilient horses, especially with the added charm of the Tölt, is an adventure every traveler should seize.

5. Relax at the Myvatn Nature Baths Amidst Lava Fields

One of the most rejuvenating north Iceland things to do is the Myvatn Nature Baths, a geothermal oasis set amidst sprawling lava fields. Located in the heart of Northeast Iceland, this natural treasure offers a quintessential Icelandic experience.

Unlike any other, the Mývatn baths draw from Earth's fissures, allowing visitors to bask in pools sourced from depths reaching 2,500 meters (8,202 feet). The central lagoon, with temperatures ranging from 36-40°C (97-104°F), is rich in beneficial minerals like sulfur, known for aiding respiratory and skin issues.

For those seeking more intense warmth, the on-site steam baths offer a unique experience, with temperatures near 50°C (122°F) and almost 100% humidity. Being the northern counterpart to the famed Blue Lagoon Spa, the Mývatn Nature Baths provide relaxation and a deep connection to Iceland's volcanic landscapes.

Myvatn Nature Baths

6. Carve the Slopes With Skiing Adventures in Dalvík

For those seeking thrilling northern Iceland things to do, skiing adventures in Dalvík are a must-experience. Nestled on the renowned Troll Peninsula, this small yet captivating ski area offers more than traditional runs.

While there are a few groomed piste trails, the heart of Dalvík skiing lies in its exhilarating off-piste freerides, particularly in its vast backcountry. Overlooking the picturesque town and fjord, the ski terrain sits majestically on the slopes of the 773-meter (2,536-foot) Boggvisstadafjall peak.

And while the lifts may operate for limited hours, the sheer thrill of carving down from such heights, with potential descents of up to 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) nearing the sea, is unparalleled. For those eager to delve deeper into the world of skiing in Iceland, Dalvík offers a gateway to limitless backcountry explorations, making it a crown jewel of Icelandic ski adventures.

Skiing in Iceland

7. Marvel at the Majestic Godafoss Waterfall

Godafoss, aptly named the 'Waterfall of the Gods,' is undeniably one of the most captivating things to see in northern Iceland. Nestled between Akureyri and Lake Myvatn, this mesmerizing cascade draws visitors with its ice-blue glacial waters that dance over a semicircular arc, creating enchanting blue-green patterns amidst the surrounding lava.

Its historical significance is rooted in the year 1,000 AD when Chieftain Thorgeir Thorkelsson, in a momentous act of symbolic transition, discarded Norse pagan idols into the waterfall after declaring Iceland's conversion to Christianity.

Beyond its beauty and history, Godafoss offers a picture-perfect setting for photography enthusiasts. Whether you're drawn to its legends or natural splendor, Godafoss is a testament to Iceland's rich tapestry of nature and culture.

Godafoss Waterfall

8. Embark on a Journey Through the Diamond Circle Tour

Embarking on the Diamond Circle Tour is among the top things to do in north Iceland for any avid traveler. This iconic 260-kilometer (162-mile) route showcases a blend of historical sites, captivating landscapes, and nature's marvels.

Beginning in the bustling town of Akureyri, the journey encompasses key stops like the breathtaking Godafoss waterfall, the geothermally active area around Lake Mývatn, and the magnificent Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall. The charming town of Húsavík, renowned for its whale watching, and the Ásbyrgi canyon, a horseshoe-shaped depression believed to be formed by the footprint of Odin's horse, are also integral parts of the experience.

As you traverse this circuit, each stop unravels a chapter of Iceland's rich tapestry, ensuring a journey that is as enlightening as it is visually stunning.

9. Navigate the Rugged Beauty of the Westfjords

Navigating the rugged beauty of the Westfjords is a mesmerizing adventure, showcasing some of the best northwest Iceland attractions. This remote peninsula is a haven of steep cliffs, tranquil fjords, and untouched landscapes.

As one of Iceland's least explored regions, it offers travelers a glimpse into the wild, untamed side of the country. Highlights include the dramatic Látrabjarg cliffs, home to millions of seabirds, and the magical Dynjandi waterfall, cascading down in a series of terraced steps. Traditional fishing villages dot the coastline, each with its unique charm and history.

Exploring the Westfjords, you're not just witnessing nature's grandeur but also diving deep into Iceland's rich cultural tapestry.

north west iceland attractions

10. Witness the Midnight Sun at Húsavík's Horizon

Experiencing the Midnight Sun at Húsavík's horizon is undoubtedly among the most magical things to see in north Iceland. As summer approaches its zenith, the sun lingers at the brink of the horizon, painting Húsavík in ethereal shades of gold.

This charming harbor town, cradled by majestic mountains, becomes an atmospheric stage for this celestial ballet. The sheer wonder of the sun, steadfast against the night's embrace, epitomizes Iceland's spellbinding allure.

To truly immerse in this luminous spectacle, exploring Iceland in June is highly recommended. It's when Húsavík is bathed in the continuous, radiant glow of the Midnight Sun, offering moments of serenity and awe.

North iceland must see

11. Stroll the Black Sand Beaches of Skagafjörður

Skagafjörður's black sand beaches offer a stark, dramatic contrast to the traditional golden shores most travelers are accustomed to. As one of the key northern Iceland attractions, these ebony-hued shores mesmerize visitors with their raw beauty and ethereal landscapes.

Framed by the rhythm of crashing waves and the distant embrace of rugged cliffs, Skagafjörður provides a unique coastal experience, blending the wild spirit of the North with the mystery of its volcanic origins.

While Skagafjörður offers its own distinct charm, those captivated by these sands often find their next pilgrimage at the renowned black sand beaches of Vik, another Icelandic gem further south, revealing the myriad wonders of this island's coastline.

Black Sand Beaches of Skagafjörður

12. Spot Majestic Whales at Eyjafjordur

One of the most enchanting things to do in north Iceland is to venture into the serene waters of Eyjafjordur and witness the grandeur of its marine life. This location offers a mesmerizing experience as you spot Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, Harbour porpoises, and White Beaked Dolphins amidst the fjord's natural beauty.

Rare sights, like the Killer Whale or Blue Whale, add to the thrill. For a curated experience, the Hauganes Whale Watching Tour comes highly recommended. Expert captains, who moonlight as professional fishermen in the winter, guide this tour.

They provide rich insights into the marine life and wildlife in Iceland. The tour boasts a remarkable 99.5% success rate in spotting whales, offering both adventure and assurance.

Whales at Eyjafjordur

13. Drive the Challenging F-Roads

Navigating the challenging F-roads is undeniably one of the best things to do in North Iceland. These highland tracks grant access to some of the island's most secluded and pristine landscapes.

One iconic route is the F35 Kjalvegur, stretching 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall on the Golden Circle, leading up to the northern regions. Though it's hailed as one of the more approachable F-roads, with no river crossings, the journey remains an adventure, revealing unparalleled scenic views.

However, embarking on this journey requires a robust vehicle, such as a 4x4 campervan, as the terrain can be unpredictable and rugged.

F-Roads F35

14. Explore the Rich Cultural Museums of Akureyri

Diving into Akureyri's museums is among the top things to do in Northern Iceland for culture enthusiasts. This town is home to a treasure trove of cultural experiences.

A standout is the Akureyri Art Museum, which showcases contemporary art from Icelandic and international artists. Then there's the Akureyri Museum, where you can journey through the region's rich history and heritage.

The Nonni's House, another gem, offers insights into the life of writer Jón Sveinsson. As you explore these captivating spaces, you'll gain a deeper understanding of Iceland's vibrant cultural tapestry. For those eager to explore more, the myriad museums in Iceland await, each offering a unique window into the nation's soul.

Cultural Museums of Akureyri

15. Step Back in Time at the Laufás Turf Houses

Journeying into the Laufás Turf Houses is like stepping back into an important chapter of Iceland's vibrant history, undoubtedly one of the key North Iceland attractions.

Located approximately 25 minutes from Akureyri, these iconic turf-roofed dwellings showcase how Icelanders lived during the 17th and 18th centuries. Beyond their distinctive architecture, Laufás provides visitors with a tangible feel of daily life from bygone eras.

The intricate artifacts, traditional interiors, and preserved settings all speak volumes about the nation's rich past. For those with a penchant for diving deep into Icelandic culture, Laufás Turf Houses offer a unique window into the traditions and tenacity of Iceland's forebears.

Laufás Turf Houses

Unmissable Things to Do in North Iceland

Iceland brims with unparalleled beauty, and to delve into the extensive array of things to do in North Iceland, there's no better way than by renting a campervan in Reykjavik.

Not only does it offer the flexibility to discover hidden gems at your own rhythm, but it also brings the landscape right to your doorstep each morning. Experience the freedom of waking up to a new vista daily and dining amidst nature's splendor.

A campervan isn't just transportation; it's your personal window into the heart of North Iceland.

Camper rental iceland



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