Perched on the banks of the vast Eyjafjordur fjord, beneath a string of Iceland’s highest peaks, Akureyri makes an ideal base for myriad outdoor activities year-round. Here are a few popular adventures to be enjoyed just beyond the country’s second city.
Iceland’s longest fjord (37 miles/60 kilometers), Eyjafjordur and it’s mineral-rich depths attract majestic minke and humpback whales in the summer months, making whale-watching tours a popular activity. With dolphins, porpoises, and seabirds also in attendance, it’s an all-around wildlife-watcher’s haven. Cruise out into Eyjafjordur’s deep waters and, wrapped up snugly against the harsh winds, look out over the waves for sightings of these amazing marine creatures.
For action-packed adventure on the water, full-day rafting tours are hard to beat. Using Akureyri as a base, head into North Iceland’s Austurdalur valley to test your mettle against the powerful torrents of the East Glacial River’s Class 4+ rapids. For something a little more family-friendly and relaxing, take to the West Glacial River from Hafgriímsstadir and follow the current through the spectacular canyon scenery. And if time is on your side, 3-day rafting expeditions delve deeper into the Icelandic wilderness—passing glaciers, hot springs, and untamed wilderness along the way.
The geothermal energies at work below ground make Akureyri and the Lake Myvatn region the ideal place to experience a little well-earned rest and relaxation. When you’re done tackling the waves and exploring the caves, indulge in a soothing respite at the Myvatn Nature Baths. Here mineral-rich waters flow from a nearby hot spring and provide an idyllic setting for a tour-ending soak.
4x4 Jeep Safaris
Iceland is crisscrossed by rugged off-road routes, and one exciting way to reach the island nation’s far-flung destinations is on a 4x4 Jeep safari. Strap in and set out from central Akureyri into the open Icelandic wilderness, where you’ll discover natural gems such as the Godafoss and Dettifoss waterfalls, strung out along the spectacular Diamond Circle route.