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North Iceland Short Break  The Natural Adventure Company 32

North Iceland Short Break

Overview

This short self drive tour is a great combination of the highlights of the northern parts of Iceland and the area’s hidden gems. You will enjoy various landscapes along the route – high mountains, green valleys and fjords carved by glaciers. And of course, waterfalls, as no trip to Iceland is complete without seeing at least one of its mighty waterfalls. Here you will see two of them – Goðafoss (considered one of the most beautiful) and Dettifoss (one of the most powerful). And you will visit one of the most charming towns in the country – Akureyri, nicknamed the “Capital of North Iceland.”

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Akureyri | ~50-100 km

Flight from Reykjavik, arrival in Akureyri (flight not included in the price) and pick up the rental car at the airport. Spend the day sightseeing around Akureyri and the surrounding area: the old town centre with charming historical buildings, the church of Akureyri which towers over the downtown area, take a walk through the botanical gardens or visit one of the many interesting museums in the town and the surrounding countryside. Driving through the countryside, you have a chance to stop at a typical Icelandic farm. In the summer you can join one of the whale-watching tours, and in the winter – a Northern lights tour. Overnight in Akureyri.

Day 2: AkureyriGoðafoss – Lake Mývatn  | ~170 km

Goðafoss waterfall is one of the natural gems to be found in North Iceland. From here, you continue to the Mývatn area where you spend the day exploring the natural volcanic wonders that surround the famous Lake Mývatn. Amongst the highlights are the pseudocraters at Skutustadir, Dimmuborgir (The Dark Castle) and the solfatara field at Namaskard with its boiling mud pits and steam vents. During the spring and summer months, Lake Mývatn is teeming with birdlife as various bird and duck species arrive for the nesting season. A stop at the Mývatn Nature Baths for a relaxing dip in the geothermal lagoon is a perfect way to end the day of sightseeing. Accommodation in Lake Mývatn’s area for the next 3 nights.

Day 3: Húsavík & Surroundings | ~110 km

Drive north through the desert land of Holasandur and past the Laxavirkjun hydro-electric power station, passing an old turf farm and the folk museum at Grenjadarstadur which offers a glimpse into times past. Continue to the thriving fishing village of Húsavík which has become particularly well known for whale watching and the Whale Museum based in the town. One of the new highlights in Húsavík since 2018 is the GeoSea spa. On the way back to Lake Mývatn, you can revisit the Nature Baths, enjoy a local hike or join a riding tour in the area.

Day 4: Dettifoss – Lake Mývatn | ~120 km

The tour continues to Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall which drops 45 m deep into the Jokulsargljufur canyon of Jokulsa river which shaped the landscape. From the Dettifoss car park take an easy walk by a gravel path to reach the waterfall (20 min. each way). Within walking distance from Dettifoss waterfall, you can observe another waterfall – Selfoss. The scenery around these waterfalls is like from another planet. And indeed, Dettifoss waterfall played a big part in the Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus. Return to Lake Mývatn for another overnight.

Day 5: Akureyri Eyjafjordur Departure | ~260 km

Today you will drive back to Akureyri in the morning and then continue along the west coast of Eyjafjordur towards the old fishing village of Siglufjordur. Along the way you will pass several historic sites, some tiny fishing villages (that have some excellent whale watching tours), fertile farmlands, magnificent mountains and the Trollaskagi peninsula. In Siglufjordur, we recommend visiting the award-winning Herring Era Museum, the local chocolatier or one of the micro-breweries. Return to Akureyri, drop the car off at the airport and depart on an early evening flight to Reykjavik.

What to Expect

Accommodation

The accommodation on this short break tour is in standard rooms with private facilities at 3-star hotels. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour, and have a great location.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included in the price. There are options for lunch along the way each day, or you can buy some provisions from the towns where you overnight. Dinner is available at the restaurants of the hotels or in nearby towns.

Difficulty & terrain

This is an easy discovery tour, accessible to all people in good health (read more about difficulty grades).

When to go

This tour can start on any day year-round. The climate of Iceland’s coast is subarctic. The warm North Atlantic Current ensures generally higher annual temperatures than in most places of similar latitude in the world. The south coast is warmer, wetter, and windier than the north. The average daily temperatures in June – August are 11°C – 13°C, and in the night – 6°C – 7°C. Winter in Iceland is between November and March, and these are the darkest months of the year with little sunlight. Most snowfalls are in December and January with average temperatures of 0°C in the south and -10°C in the north. December is also the time when you can observe the Northern Lights.

Driving in Iceland

Always fasten your seat belt. Before you start your day check road.is or safetravel.is for the latest updates on weather and road conditions. Observe the speed limit – 90 km/h for paved roads and 80 km/h for gravel roads! Look out for the signs that tell you when the road is about to change from tarmac to gravel – if you don’t slow down, you can lose control of the car. Most of the roads in Iceland are not designed for higher speeds, so exceeding the speed limit is very dangerous, and loose rocks can chip your windscreen. Always stay on the roads. Driving off-road can damage nature, it is illegal, and you will get a fine of up to 3500 EUR. Find a safe place to park the car before getting out to take a picture. Watch out for sheep on the roads!

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Our recommended airport for this tour is Akureyri, located about 4 km from the town.

Inclusions

Included

  • 4-night accommodation in private rooms with ensuite facilities
  • 4 breakfasts
  • 5-day car rental with unlimited mileage, tax, CDW, GP, TP, SCDW, pick up/drop off at Keflavík airport: Cat. B Suzuki Swift/ Ford Fiesta or similar in the period May-September; Cat. FG Toyota RAV4x4WD-Manual/Auto in January-April and October-December
  • A detailed itinerary with multiple daily options based on pre-booked accommodation

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes, optional tours and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement for members of a group (note that this itinerary is not available for solo travellers)
  • Car upgrade in the period May-September to Cat. N Ford Mondeo Wagon – Manual/Auto or to Cat. FG Toyota RAV4x4-Manual/Auto
  • Flight tickets Reykjavik-Akureyri-Reykjavik

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