As the unofficial capital of the north, Akureyri is ideally situated for exploring the diverse landscapes of North Iceland, driving the scenic Diamond Circle tourist trail and cruising the vast Eyjafjörður Fjord. To help you get the most out of your trip, here are some ideas for how to spend 3 days in Akureyri.
Day 1: Take a walking tour
Akureyri’s small size makes it easy to get around on foot and there’s plenty to see and do in town. Check out landmarks like the Akureyrarkirkja church, built by state architect Guðjón Samúelsson, and Einar Jónsson's sculpture The Outlaw, on route to the Lystigardur Botanic Garden, Iceland’s largest collection of plant and flower varieties. Pick up some souvenirs on Hafnarstræti, the town’s principal shopping street, then spend the afternoon visiting the city’s museums – the Akureyri Museum, the Akureyri Art Museum and the Iceland Aviation Museum are all worth a visit.
Day 2: Tour the Diamond Circle
North Iceland’s main sightseeing trail is nicknamed the Diamond Circle, a 260-kilometer loop between Húsavík and Lake Mývatn, and you could spend several days discovering the scenic Tjörnes peninsula and the vast Vatnajökull National Park along the way. If you’re pushed for time, a day tour is still enough to take in highlights like the mud pools of Hverir, the ice cave of Lofthellir and Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall, finishing with a dip in the famous Mývatn thermal baths.
Day 3: Explore the fjord
For the best views of Akureyri and the Eyjafjörður fjord, take a hike up the Súlur Mountain, overlooking the town, or hire a car and enjoy a scenic drive along the fjord. The northern waterfront towns of Dalvík, Ólafsfjörður and Siglufjörður make a charming alternative to Akureyri, where you can enjoy a whale-watching cruise along the coast or follow one of the mountain roads into the highlands for an off-the-beaten-track drive with spectacular views.