North Iceland is a beautiful part of the country. The landscape changes as quickly as the weather. Harsh jaggered lava fields flow into flat bubbling, geothermal areas, Long meandering valleys covered in a dewy green moss, then turn into huge black craters in the floor. Most people come here to see nature at its best and cant disappointed.
Flights to Akureyri are becoming more popular as tourism is booming in Iceland, once here it’s best to rent a car as public transport is pretty terrible. If your not short on time, you can do what we did and fly to Reykjavik, rent a car and drive around the island on their one and only main road Route 1, so it’s almost impossible to get lost.
We rented a car for 12 days from GuidetoIceland and they were by far the cheapest ( by half) car rental places we found, It cost us around £350 for the car, including insurance cover.
Most of the main attractions were just off this main road, which meant that we didn’t need to rent out the 4×4 which most rental companies seem to recommend.
Where to stay
There tonnes of hotels in Akureyi, and a very helpful Tourist Information that can help you book a hotel. We were saving money so slept in the car or camped (we did this at the beginning of winter and had proper winter equipment so not recommended to do at this time of year if you only have a 1 / 2 season tent and sleeping bag).
Other than the car we didn’t pay to see any of the following attraction, as they were just on the side of the main road. However tours are readily available to book onto and are easily found in local Tourist Informations.
How much time do you need in North Iceland
We spent 12 days in Iceland and drove around the entire country at a relaxed pace. You could easily spend a 2 days in the north catching all the sights.
Best time to go to visit North Iceland
Winter has the mysterious green northern lights swirly around the dark sky. It’s always seems to be dusk, which looks great for photos and everything has a beautiful dusting of snow.
Summer is great too as you can go for a hike in the midnight sun and not be battered by chilling, winds.
Whilst we were in North Iceland there was no particular time when all the crowds flooded in, there were never too many people there and sometimes we had the whole thing to ourselves, regardless of the time. However in the summer it would be busier, so arriving early or later in the day would be recommended.
What should I do in North Iceland
Hverir Geothermal area where bubbling mudpools and hissing steam, bellows out of the sticky red soil below. But watch out not only is this a high temperature area, it also stinks. Great to see not so good to smell.
Godafoss Waterfall is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in the country, 30 metres wide and 12 metre high, the water thundering over the edge, is inspiring.
Grjotagja cave is located near the stunning Lake Myvatn. This beautiful warm, crystal, clear pool in a cave, is where John Snow in the Game of Thrones, was deflowered.
Kraftla Viti Crater is a circular crater filled with blue water, when we arrived snow had covered the walls of it, making it seem even more special.
On the way to this Crater just off Route 1, we passed a random metal pipe in the form of a shower and a sink, shooting out hot water in the middle of this snow field. Of course we had to jump in. When else can you shower in naturally hot 40’C water, on a -5 chilly day, with snow all around you.
What not to do
Don’t wear jewellery in any of the thermal pool as it corrodes it.
Also don’t go off hiking without leaving a trace and telling someone. They have a great app called 112 Iceland that all visitors should download. You can check in, so your gps location will be stored with the emergency service. It will be used in case of an emergency to track you location.
Why should it be on my Bucket list
Most of us won’t ever get the chance to visit Mars, so going to North Iceland is a close as one can get. Every corner has something different to offer you, keeping you camera snapping and memories to last a life time.