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Akureyri Holidays

Gateway to Iceland’s wild, rugged north

Akureyri may only be home to around 18,000 people, but it is – by some distance – the largest town, transport hub and cultural centre in the north of Iceland. It lies less than 100 kilometres below the Arctic Circle, nestled on the edge of the Eyjafjörður Fjord and surrounded by mountains that remain snow-capped throughout most of the year.

There’s a distinct wilderness frontier feel about travelling around this raw, remote and breathtakingly beautiful part of the country that you don’t quite get to the same extent in the south. Up here, it’s much more sparsely populated, the distances between settlements are greater, and visitor numbers pale in comparison to those of Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle. If you’re wanting to get off the beaten track and away from the crowds to experience some of the wildest, most dramatic landscapes Iceland has to offer, consider heading to the north to Akureyri and beyond– you certainly won’t regret it.

Outdoor adventures and awe-inspiring nature

The region around Akureyri is full of stark contrasts, from majestic fjords and jagged mountains to glistening lakes and vast geothermal fields punctuated with belching mudpots, hissing fumaroles and steaming hot springs. Lake Myvatn, in particular, is renowned for its extraordinary variety of mesmerising geological features and abundant wildlife.

The summer months are ripe for whale watching, hiking and biking under the midnight sun, while winter brings a totally different charm, with opportunities for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing across the tundra and spotting the Northern Lights. In fact, if you stay for five nights or more between mid-September and early April, you've got a 90 percent chance of catching the Northern Lights.

Charming towns and villages

Akureyri, Iceland’s ‘Capital of the North’, is where most adventures in the north of Iceland begin. It’s a major fishing port and an increasingly important hub for tourism, featuring a thriving cultural scene, a handful of lively bars, several excellent restaurants, and also the world’s northernmost botanical garden.

Continuing further north on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula, Dalvik is the starting point for many fantastic hiking trails and the ferry to Grimsey island (the only part of Iceland that crosses the Arctic Circle), while Siglufjordur is one of the region’s most picturesque villages with a fascinating industrial past. To the east, Husavik is another worthy stop – Iceland’s oldest settlement, and the best place in the country to see whales, with humpbacks, minke whales, orcas and even blue whales frequenting the waters of Skjálfandi Bay.

Discover Akureyri

Need to know

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Icelandic Króna
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Time zone
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Flight time
2hrs 50mins

* Average time from London Gatwick to Akureyri

All resorts in the Akureyri region

Explore our map of Akureyri

Exploring the Akureyri region

Your Akureyri region questions, answered

It takes around three hours and 20 minutes to fly directly from London Gatwick to Akureyri. 
Akureyri Airport is only a five-minute drive from the town centre. You can either take the bus, a taxi or book a private transfer in advance. 
Icelandic is the official language, but English is spoken fluently by the vast majority of people so you’ll have no trouble getting by. 
A long weekend would be enough to get an initial taste of what the region has to offer, although you’d have to be selective about what to include in your itinerary. Four or five days is an ideal amount of time to cover the highlights of the region as well as some lesser-known spots without feeling like you’re cramming it all in. If you’re hoping to see the Northern Lights, the longer you stay, the better your chances of getting lucky with the conditions.
Icelandic Króna is the official currency of Iceland. You can easily take it out before your trip or withdraw it when you arrive – although most bars and restaurants accept card payments. 
It depends what kind of activities you’re looking to do. Day time temperatures in the height of summer tend to hover around 10-15 °C and it doesn’t get dark at all. This is the best time of year for hiking, cycling and whale watching. In winter, temperatures rarely rise above freezing and can drop below -10°C, there’s often heavy snowfall (more so than in the south of the country), and the shortest day of the year sees only three hours of daylight. This is the time to go snowmobiling and enjoy other wintery outdoor activities as the landscape is carpeted in a thick blanket of snow. 

You can see the Northern Lights any time from September through to April when the skies are clear and the solar activity is strong enough. October and March are particularly favourable months as the auroral activity is typically strongest close to the autumn and spring equinoxes, and the weather is milder than it is in the middle of winter.