The Northern Lights are one of the most spectacular shows and can frequently be seen in Akureyri and surroundings from September to mid-April on clear nights.
Why chase the crowds when the wonders of Iceland can be marvelled in a quieter setting? Step away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the top sights and attractions in the south-western part of Iceland, without all the traffic, in a smaller bus and with a smaller group (max 16). This peaceful excursion takes place in the afternoon and lasts into the evening and allows plenty of time to explore all the wonders encountered.
Make this a romantic tour for two, or bring family and friends. Either way, you are sure to have an experience that will be forever cherished. This is truly the best time of day to enjoy the magic of Iceland!
In Húnaþing you will find stunning nature and vibrant communities. The verdant heathlands, the seashores teeming with life, mountain peaks, rich rivers and lakes along with a wide variety of recreational activities make it a must stop when you are travelling around North Iceland. The area has four main villages, Skagaströnd, Blönduós, Hvammstangi and Laugarbakki.
GPS: N65°31’55.4″ W20°49’35.5″
Skagaströnd boasts a beautiful landscape and a flourishing cultural lifestyle. Spákonufell mountain rises above the town, with staked out trekking trails that offer a stunning view of the sea and shoreline. Visit Spákonufellshöfði - a popular outdoor recreational area with marked walking trails. Those interested in getting their fortunes read should head to the Skagaströnd Museum of Prophecies for a fun thing to do in the area which offers exhibitions and fortune telling, centred around Þórdís the fortune-teller, who was the first resident of Skagaströnd. For art lovers, there’s Nes Artist Residency, where international artists come to stay and work. Other services that can be found are overnight facilities, great restaurants and cafés, a country museum, grocery store, golf, free camping site with excellent facilities and a small geothermal swimming pool.
Blönduós is the largest urban area in Húnaflói bay and one of the most popular places attractions in Iceland. It is a logical stop to rest, eat and fill the tank while driving the Ring Road. The town is a base for adventure tours in the Húnaflói area and extends across the river Blanda, surrounding Hrútey Island. Hrútey, accessible by a pedestrian bridge, is a great place to visit for varied birdlife and vegetation and is protected as a country park. In town, you can visit the Handcraft and Textile Museum and a Sea Ice Exhibition Centre. There’s also a hotel, guesthouses, and self-catering accommodation as well as a camping site, restaurants, cafés, diner, supermarket, garages, a health care centre and a geothermal swimming pool.
Hvammstangi is the largest community in West Húnaþing, and boasts about their harbour where you can book seal watching and sea fishing trips. For the tourist, Hvammstangi is an excellent place to stop to enjoy the wonderful swimming pool and camping site. Other services include crafts gallery, wool factory shop, supermarket , garages, guesthouse, a diner, as well as a health care centre. From Hvammstangi is only a short drive to Vatnsnes with a wealth of varied historical sites, beautiful scenery, great views of the mountains at Strandir and last but not least a seal habitat within easy walking distance.
According to the Saga of Grettir the Strong, horse fights historically took place on the river banks in this village, at Langafit. Fishing licenses for the lakes and rivers at Arnarvatnsheiði can be obtained at Laugarbakki, which almost serves as a gate to the highlands. A greenhouse, primary school, sports hall and relaxing hot springs can be found in Laugarbakki. Other services provided include a crafts workshop and a farmers market with handicrafts and local food inspired by the Saga Age, a camping site, and overnight facilities.
Northeast Iceland, called The Edge of the Arctic, covers the area from Víkurskað pass in the West to Bakkaflói bay and spans the entire northeast coastline south to Vatnajökull glacier. This vast region contains a large number of cool things to do and places to see that are worth visiting and it may be said for sure that few or none of Iceland´s regions have so many pearls of nature to offer the visitor. The residents of Northeast Iceland welcome tourists and are willing to make every effort to ensure that travel through the area is as pleasant and memorable as possible.
Kópasker: Kópasker is a fishing village on the eastern shore of Oxarfjörður. The village economy is based on services rendered to the agricultural surroundings, food production, fishing and tourism. Kopasker has a few interesting places to visit. The National Park; Jökulsárgljúfur, the local museum at Snartarstaðir, as well as the Earthquake Centre, describing the historic earthquake of 1976. In Kopasker you will find a shop, garage, health care centre, bank, campsite and guesthouses as well as a youth hostel. North of Kopasker you will find the peninsula Melrakkaslétta, with its ample birdlife, as well as the northernmost point of mainland Iceland, Hraunhafnartangi.
Raufarhöfn is a small fishing village. that has the longest days in Iceland during the summer and shortest ones in winter because of its location. Today, Raufarhöfn’s rows of dull prefab housing give few clues to its illustrious past because of Herring fishing, though now it’s more of an off-the-beaten-path destination. Raufarhöfn has all basic services, such as a health care centre, pharmacy, food store, a bank, post office, garage, pub, gallery, etc. The village also has a fine camping ground and a variety of accommodations, and is known for a modern monument called the “Artic Henge” which is aligned to the heavens and is inspired by the mythical world of the Eddic poem Völuspá (Prophecy of the Seeress). There are many other activities such as bird watching, fishing by the harbour or in one of the many lakes and rivers, or simply going for a walk on Höfði and around the flatlands of Melrakkaslétta.
Þórshöfn is a small fishing village that offers year-round service to tourists, and Air Iceland connects the village to Akureyri and Reykjavik with seasonal flights from Þórshöfn Airport. The village has overnight facilities, restaurant, supermarket, handicraft gallery, car rental, campsite, a post office and bank, health care centre and swimming pool. Tourists can enjoy guided walks, and special adventure guides for children that focus on the beauty of the surrounding area. Þórshöfn is a gateway to the bird watchers paradise Langanes, especially Skoruvíkurbjarg cliff and Fontur, where you find a bird watching platform “at the end of the world.”
Bakkafjörður is a small fishing village in the North-East Iceland, located in a fjord with the same name. From Bakkafjörður, you can rent a boat to go cod fishing. There is also a good walking path which takes you past the Viðvíkurbjörg Cliffs at Viðvík, then over to Álftavatn and so on to Bakkafjörður, where the birdlife is rich and diverse. Other routes take you to the isolated farm Steintún and from there to the Digranes lighthouse.The swimming pool at Selárdalur is about 30 km from Bakkafjörður. From the pool, you have a magnificent view of the mountains, and in the salmon fishing season, you can watch the fishermen wrestle their catch from the waters of Selá river close by.
Dalvik is a village located on the western shore of Eyjafjörður in the valley of Svarfaðardal and it has a population of around 2000 inhabitants. Visit during the The Great Fish Day on the second Saturday of August every year. On this day the whole of the community invites guests to an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet on the harbour where everything is free! Another fun thing to do is tour the Museum of Dalvík, which gives tourists an insight into the life and work around Dalvik and the history of the community. Dalvik has all necessary services, including accommodations, camping sites, skiing, hiking, golf, grocery stores and shops. The ferry Sæfari sails from Dalvik to Grimsey, Iceland’s northernmost community and lies on the Arctic Circle.
Húsavík is often referred to as Iceland’s whale-watching capital and has without a doubt become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. The colourful houses, unique museums and stunning snow-capped peaks across the bay make Húsavík one of the most beautiful fishing towns in the northeast. The cultural life in Húsavík is very vibrant, with drama societies and an impressive musical scene that offer inhabitants and visitors a variety of concerts and frequent cultural events. Other attractions to visit are the beautiful botanical garden, Skrúðgarður, a camping site, a golf course and many hiking trails that suit all abilities.
Húsavík is often referred to as Iceland’s whale-watching capital and here you can join tours for some of the most beautiful whale watching in Iceland. Húsavík has some excellent whale watching tour operations that offer all kinds of whale watching experiences. If the boat may be too much, stop by the Húsavík Whale Museum instead or plan your trip during the last weekend in July, when Húsavík invites people from around the region to celebrate together for a weekend of family fun and activities. The locals decorate the town in different colours to divide Húsavík into three parts, each part with its own theme for the celebration.The highlights from last year’s festival included laser tag in the forest, barbecues at the swimming pool, a ram show, an arts and crafts market by the harbour, or a motorcycle exhibition at the gas station.
Akureyri stands strong as Iceland’s second largest city outside the capital area but don’t expect anything like Melbourne or Manchester. With only 18.000 inhabitants, it is a wonder how such a small city (which would be a town in any other country) can generate so much buzz. It has cool and cozy cafés, superb restaurants, and a very decent nightlife considering the size of the town. With its relaxed attitude and extensive food and accommodation choices, it is the natural base for exploring North Iceland. In summer, visitors, both Icelanders and from around the world shape the vibe of the town and it becomes especially lively as Akureyri is a popular docking place for cruise ships. During winter, lively winter festivals and some of Iceland’s best skiing provide plenty of low-season appeals. It is worth mentioning that Akureyri topped Lonely Planet’s list of ten best places to visit in Europe 2015. Read Lonely Planet’s full review here.
Go for Drinks: Akureyri has an abundance of places to go for a drink. In recent years, a distinctive and interesting beer culture has emerged in Iceland. This is why most bars in Akureyri have a good selection of beers, and most of them offer beers from micro and local breweries, making Akureyri a perfect place for beer enthusiasts.
Akureyri is home to one of the most popular concert venues in the country. It’s a small venue with frequent concerts with Iceland’s most popular bands. The size and closeness of the venue creates a unique connection between the audience and the musicians.
For late nightlife and discos, Café Amour, Nordlenski barinn and Pósthússbarinn are the places to go.
There is no shortage of places to grab a quick bite in Akureyri. Everything from gourmet burgers to sushi and Mexican food to the traditional Icelandic ‘sjoppufæði’ – make sure you try the signature Akureyri burger, cheeseburger with fries as a topping instead of a side.
Art And Culture: We also recommend all art lovers to stroll down Art’s Valley on a weekend. The real name of the street is Kaupvangsstræti and is the centre of cultural life in Akureyri. It is home to Akureyri Art museum, the Akureyri School of Visual Arts and North Iceland artist’s studios, smaller galleries and exhibition spaces. The multipurpose Deiglan regularly houses cultural event and Ketilhúsið exhibits local and international artists. Kaktus is a newly founded and very active art gallery that both exhibits art and hosts small and intimate events. For more information see Art’s Valley website
Akureyri has an abundance of interesting museums such as The Aviation Museum, The Motorcycle Museum of Iceland, The Centre Of Visual Arts and many more.
Botanic Garden: The Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to explore during the summer months. The garden is meant to function as genebank for hardy plants suitable to the weather conditions in Iceland. Apart from this, the general function of the garden is multiple, such as for seed-exchange, public information, education and recreation. With more than 7.000 different species of plants, flowers, and trees it is the perfect place for a picnic or a relaxing walk. The coffee house, Björk, is situated in the garden and offers its guests a tranquil environment while enjoying a refreshment.
Kjarnaskógur Forest: Kjarnaskógur is a manmade forest, located a short drive from Akureyri. It spans an area of 600 hectares and has more than a million trees of various species. It has very popular hiking and cycling trails but it is also a great destination for a day of family fun as the forest has playgrounds, picnic areas, barbeque facilities, volleyball court and restrooms. The forest is also known for its varied bird life, so every bird lover should make sure they pay the bird watching shelter at Hundatjörn a visit.
For more information, it’s best to contact the Tourist Information Centre, located at Hof.
Golf: The Akureyri Golf Club is located just outside Akureyri and has an 18 hole golf, par 71 golf course called Jaðarsvöllur. The club has all necessary facilities such as changing rooms, a restaurant, bar and a golf shop. Golf clubs are available for hire at the site.
For enthusiastic golfers, it’s a must to experience midnight golfing. Only a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle, Jaðarsvöllur basks in perpetual daylight from June to early August, and you can play golf there around the clock but make sure you book ahead for the midnight tee-off. The course is also home to the annual 36-hole Arctic Open, a tournament played over two nights in late June and is open for both amateurs and professionals.
Hlíðarfjall: Mountain Hlíðarfjall has been one of Iceland’s prime ski locations for decades. It is located about 5 km outside Akureyri and consists of 7 ski lifts and 24 different skiing paths covering all skill levels. The area has a vertical drop of 455 m, with the longest trail being over 2.5 km. There is also 20 km of cross-country ski routes. All equipment skis and snowboards can be rented at the resort and buses run from Akureyri but more information can be found on their website. The ski season usually runs between December and late April, with the best conditions in February and March (Easter is particularly busy). In the long hours of winter darkness, many of the downhill runs are floodlit.
Northern Lights: The Northern Lights must be one of Iceland’s most sought after winter attraction. It is one of the most spectacular shows and can frequently be seen in Akureyri and surroundings from September to mid-April on clear nights. The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are caused by the interaction of particles from the sun with the upper atmosphere near the North Pole. There is a range of Northern Light tours operating from Akureyri where you can experience the Northern Lights either on a boat, on a horse, whilst skiing on mountain tops or simply by foot. Make sure you have your photography gears with you as Mother Nature will display a show you will want to capture.
On this website, you have a look at the weather forecast for Northern Lights in Iceland. Dark, clear skies, and cold air are the best conditions to see them.
Hrísey is a peaceful island in the middle of Eyjafjördur, and is the second largest off-shore island in Iceland, after Heimaey in the south. The island is a well-known paradise for bird watchers and is especially noted as a breeding ground and a protected area for ptarmigan, as well as being home to an enormous colony of Arctic terns along with around 40 other bird species. The village Hrísey is a part of Akureyri and inhabits around 200 people, living in a trim fishing village with paved streets, tidy gardens and with a striking view of the surrounding mountains. We recommend a walk along one of the 3 marked routes or simply stroll through the village and visit the local museum or handicraft store. If you get hungry, visit the great restaurant or the village’s local store. Not to be missed are the tons-of-fun 40-minute sightseeing tractor tours where you sit in a cart pulled by a tractor through the village, passing all the important landmarks, while a guide informs you about the island’s and village’s history. The village has all necessary amenities, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops and souvenir shops. Like most Icelandic villages it has a campground and a geothermal swimming pool.
The passenger ferry Sævar runs between Árskógssandur and Hrísey, at least, seven times daily all year round and the journey takes around 15 minutes. Sæfari ferry runs from Dalvík to Hrísey on Tuesdays and Thursdays all year round at 1:15 pm.
Grímey is a small island located on the Arctic Circle, 41 kilometres off the north coast of Iceland. It is formed by volcanic rock which in places creates striking basalt pillars. On the East side, the island rises to 105 meters above sea level but is lower on the West side by the island’s harbour and village. On a clear day, you can enjoy spectacular views from the island over to the Icelandic mainland.
Grimsey has abundant resources of fish and birds were widely renowned. For Grimsey, tourism is a growing industry, giving locals new opportunities for employment. A shop, guesthouses, campsite, gallery, café, restaurant and a swimming pool are some of the facilities on the island. Regular flights from Akureyri and ferry links from Dalvik, all year round, makes visiting easy. Guided day tours are available from Akureyri during summertime. Seabirds nest on the high cliffs on the East side of Grímsey and on the West coast, you will find one of the biggest colonies of puffins in Iceland with thousands of individuals. We recommend go see the church of Grímey and enjoy the spectacular views by taking a walk along the island’s popular walking paths that offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife and landscape photography.
Mývatn lake and the surrounding areas are the undisputed gem of Iceland and offers truly unique natural environments where volcanic eruptions have played a crucial role in forming the landscape. From desolate mud pots and geothermal caves, Mývatn summarises all the natural wonders Iceland has to offer and is a must-see destination when travelling around the northern part of Iceland. Many visit Dimmuborgir and it’s twisted towers of coagulated rock that reach the earth’s surface to form a lava field of giant pillars and arches. These dramatic structures are truly unique to Iceland and are deemed a must see because they aren’t known to exist anywhere else in the world. A series of walking trails suitable for all abilities run through Dimmuborgir’s astonishing landscapes.
Make sure you take some to enjoy the Mývatn Nature Baths, the Blue Lagoon of the North – but with lesser tourists. It is located in Jarðbaðshólar, about 4 km from the village of Reykjahlíð and it opened in June 2004. Mývatn Nature Baths is the latest addition to the region’s many visitor attractions. Drawing on a centuries-old tradition, the tastefully designed complex offers bathers a completely natural experience in a pool of water drawn from depths of 2500 meters, containing a unique blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal micro-organisms. The warm soothing water and relaxing environment of Mývatn Nature Bath benefits both skin and spirit. You can even enjoy two steam baths that are built straight on top of a geothermal area where sulphur-free steam rises through the floor. You won’t experience this kind of spa treatment every day! In the summer, the lagoon is open every day until midnight and during winter the bath becomes the most luxurious setting to watch the Northern Lights.
Myvatn Nature Baths offers their visitors to enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner in their beautiful and welcoming dining area, Kvika Restaurant. The menu consists of a daily special, soups, fresh baked bread and extensive salad bar, the famous hot spring bread with smoked char caught in the Mývatn Lake amongst other delicious refreshments.
Unlike the Blue Lagoon, you won’t need to book any tickets to Myvatn Nature Baths in advance. Simply show up when your feel like relaxing in the lagoon. For further information about opening times and prices, have a look at their website.
Siglufjörður, or Sigló, as locals call it, sits at the foot of a steep slope overlooking a beautiful fjord, around 40 km from the Artic Circle and is Iceland’s most northerly town. Sigló was once a busy town as it was the herring capital of the country but has recently gained the attention of travellers for it’s hiking routes, marina and its excellent list of things to do and festivals to attend. During winter Sigló becomes the outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and offers opportunities to go skiing, skating or snowmobiling. During summer, the mountains and the black sandy shores have a wide selection of walking and hiking routes on the surrounding mountains. The recreational possibilities in Siglufjörður are varied. Sea fishing in the Hólsá River is a popular choice amongst visitors and travel companies offer sails and cruises on the fjord.
Located between mountain slopes, fishing town Olafsfjorður still retains a sense of isolation, despite this, Olafsfjorður town has many interesting and enjoyable places to see for anyone keen on outdoor activities. From Akureyri, you have to pass through a 3-kilometre tunnel just to make your way into town, which makes a striking entrance.
Tindaöxl is the ski area in Ólafsfjörður, and contains one of the best slalom ski-trails. In addition, there is a cross-country ski trail that has lights along the trail and access is available to skier during the summer season as well.
Siglufjörður is an area of spectacular natural beauty. The mountains and the fjords are awe-inspiring and the opportunities for outdoors activities and recreation are almost inexhaustible. Travellers who visit Siglufjörður will not be disappointed.
The many hiking trails in the mountains and valleys around Siglufjörður is a popular attraction for the outdoors enthusiast. The nearly untouched and peaceful nature of Héðinsfjörður heightens the attraction for visitors to the area. In Iceland, different locations, and parts of nature have specific names and there are around 1300 place and nature names registered in Héðinsfjörður and Siglufjörður.
There are many interesting trails in Fjallabyggð that have been demarcated and plotted in recent years. These trails are of varying lengths and difficulty so that everybody should be able to find something to their liking. Maps and descriptions of these trails and hiking routes are to be found on Fjallabyggð’s municipality website, here.
Skagafjörður is beautiful fjord located in the north of Iceland. It is around 40 km long and 30 km wide and has three islands in the midst, Drangey, Málmey and Lundey. The steep Drangey is, without a doubt the most known, shaped like a fort and has a rich birdlife. It also plays a role in the Icelandic Sagas, as it was the refuge for the outlaw Grettir in the Grettis Saga. In fact, the whole of Skagafjordur has a rich and interesting history and five of the largest battles in Icelandic history were fought there in the 13th-century civil war. Culture is, however, not the only factor that characterises Skagafjörð, but it is also known for its beauty. Towards the end of the fjord is a beautiful wide valley surrounded by majestic mountains, grassy plains, blue lakes and glacial rivers. Although there is no volcanic activity in Skagafjörður, there is a lot of geothermal warmth, especially around Varmahlíð. There are around 4000 inhabitants that call Skagafjörður home, there as around 2500 of them live in the town of Sauðárkrókur.
Despite the seemingly small community, culture notably thrives in Skagafjordur. Culture and entertainment have been intertwined in regional get-togethers, often referred to as Sæluvika, or Happy Week. These meetings can be traced back to 1874 and have included everything from theatre and dances to debates and handicraft.
Horsemanship puts a significant mark on the everyday life and culture of Skagafjorður. In 1881 the county purchased the old episcopal property at Hólar to establish an agricultural school. Today, Hólar University College is a modern and popular university focused on horse breeding, agriculture, and tourism. Therefore, agriculture remains the largest economic factor in Skagafjörður.
Skagafjörður offers an abundance of all kinds of adventures and a rich cultural sphere visitors can enjoy while here. The district is an excellent place to enjoy the Icelandic nature. Skagafjordur has some of the best rafting rivers in the country, so rafting is a very popular attraction here, along with horseback riding.
Most travellers that are travelling route 1 or the Ring Road make a stop at Varmahlíð. The village developed around services for travellers and the oldest hotel and restaurant dates back to 1931. It’s a small village but does have all necessary services, such as gas station, restaurant, supermarket and an information centre. Varmahlíð has a lot of geothermal hot water which has resulted in locals building a number of greenhouses to cultivate tropical and sub-tropical fruits and vegetables.
If you are looking for a longer pit stop there is also a sports hall and of course a local swimming pool. We also recommend the walk around the forest growth at Reykjahóll towards the viewing platform and fully enjoy the magnificent view over Skagafjord. Activities such as horse rentals and river rafting are also available in the surroundings of Varmahlíð. Salmon and trout can be caught in the nearby rivers and lakes along with many places of interest can be found near the village. North of Varmahlíð you can explore an old renovated turf farmhouse at Glaumbær museum, giving visitors a good sense of the rural life of 18th and 19th century Iceland and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Sauðarkrókur is the largest town in Skagafjorður with the population of around 2600 people. Its name can be a bit tricky to pronounce but the direct translation would be ‘SheepRiver-Hook’, and it gets it’s name from the river Sauðá. The town provides a wide range of services such as accommodation, restaurants, shops, museums and exhibitions, sports facilities, skiing slopes and a local swimming pool. Unlike other settlements in Skagafjörður that focus on agriculture, Sauðárkrókur mostly relies on the fishing industry for livelihood although there are many kinds of industries to be found in the village, such as an insulation manufacturing factory, a fur skinning factory, creamery, shrimp factory to name a few.
There are loads of things to do and explore in Sauðárkrókur. We recommend taking a walk towards the cemetery that is located in the hills above the town. Nearby, you’ll find a viewing platform that provides wonderful views of the old town, the countryside and over the fjord. Sauðárkrókur has a lovely local swimming pool, perfect to relax in after a day of activities and the 9-hole golf course is considered one of the best in Iceland. In the nearby valley of Sauðá, you’ll also find Litli Skógur, or little forest which has lovely little trails through birch and beech trees and offers an excellent opportunity for picnics.
We also recommend that you check out Borgarsand, a 4-kilometre long beach, ideal to spend time with the family, taking walking along the sea and playing with the kids. Bird lovers should not miss out on Ásthildarholtsvatn, where you can find a diverse birdlife along with signs that inform of the species that can be found there.
Hofsós is a cosy village that has a 400 year old history and was for a long time the main trade centre in Skagafjordur. In the old village surrounding the harbour many of the houses have been renovated, giving the village a unique ‘period’ look and atmosphere. Because of its rich history, Hofsós has some great historical exhibitions, including the Immigration Museum that focuses on the mass migration of Icelanders to North America in the late 18 century. Across the river, you’ll also find one of the oldest timber buildings in the whole country, a tar-coated and log-built warehouse (Pakkhúsið) that was built in 1772. A little out of the town, you will also find the remains of an old trading centre from 1835.
Hofsós is a lovely village to relax in and explore. As well as major services, Hofsós also offer a range of activities. There is a lovely walk through the old town, over the pedestrian bridge over the river Hofsós, or just stroll around the village and enjoy the unique and cosy atmosphere. The Hofsós swimming pool was renovated in 2010 and is complete must-visit when in town. It was voted the best swimming pool in Iceland in 2015, because of its amazing location and wonderful views over the fjord.
Swimming: You might be surprised to see how significant the Icelandic outdoor swimming pool culture is. Every small village in Iceland has at least one swimming pool and they are well sought by people of all ages, all year around. During the summer season, Skagafjörður offers seven geothermal swimming pools. Sauðárkrókur, Varmahlíð, and Hofsós pools are open all year round while the smaller ones are only open during summer. The smaller ones are located at Steinsstaðir, Bakkaflöt, Hólar and Sólgarðar. All the pool offers visitors the opportunity to sit, relax and unwind in a traditional hot tub after a day of activities in Skagafjorður.
Hiking: Skagafjorður offers a wide range of excellent hiking and walking trails, whether it’s a short and light outdoor walk or a longer and more challenging hike in the amazing landscapes of the fjord. For those who like climbing mountains, you’ll find endless possibilities such as Mælifellshnjúkur and Glóðafeykir along with other peaks in one of Iceland’s largest mountain range, Tröllaskagi.
You can obtain a map of hiking trails from the tourist information centres at Varmahlíð and Sauðárkrókur. One of the most popular hikes is on Molduxi, a mountain about 800 metres high and is located in the middle of a mountain range. This trail is a fairly easy one and is suitable for people of all ages. The way up Mt. Tindastóll is a bit more difficult but also a popular hike and offers magnificent views.
Bird Watching: The Skagafjorður region is home if a large variety of birds. The wetlands on the mainland are some of the most important bird habitats in Iceland. Parts of the marshland are protected and a reserve for birds. Miklavatn and Borgarskógar are even listed in Birdlife International as one of Europe’s most significant bird habitat. The bird life is maybe especially lively around the islands of Drangey, Málmey and Lundey where you’ll find thousands of seabirds nesting including the funny-looking Puffin, gannets, fulmar, guillemots and shearwaters to name a few.
Áshildarholtsvatn and Tjarnartjörn are also excellent spots for bird watching. The bird life around these lakes is unique and well worth observing. The number of recorded species there are amongst the highest in the region. The Áshildarvatn lakeside is partially protected resulting in a positive impact both on species diversity and bird numbers.
All this means that Skagafjörður is a paradise for bird lovers as the conditions for bird watching are also very good. You’ll find four bird watching centres near Sauðárkrókur with informative signs about the variety of birds found in the area. The nesting and migration time are probably the best time to visit for bird lovers. Around late May and through June, the migrant species have started nesting but they usually leave Iceland again through August and September. The 24 hour daylight during summer is certainly a big plus when it comes to birdwatching in Iceland. The birdlife during winter is more limited but you can still spot some interesting species, including the Snow Owl.
Icelandic Horse: The Icelandic horse is a unique breed that came to Iceland with the first settlers from Norway more than a thousand years ago. It is the only horse breed in the world with 5 gaits and has become very popular internationally. In Iceland, the Icelandic horse is used for farm work as well as for showing, racing and recreation. Horse riding is an excellent way to explore Iceland and its unspoiled nature as the horse can get you to places no car would. You’ll also get much closer and more connected with the environment on a horseback. It is truly one of the best ways to enjoy the panoramic landscapes.
Skagafjorður offers one of the best opportunities in Iceland for horse riding due to the rooted horsemanship culture in the region. A number of tour operators offer a variety of guided riding tours for riders of all experience levels. You can also visit the breeders to learn about the Icelandic horse and their history and influence on life in Skagafjorður, or attend one of the many equestrian events held in the region. The most popular one is the annual Laufskálarétt round-up, attracting around 3000 guests each year. The National Horse Festival is also held in Skagafjordur every few years and is without a doubt the most popular horse event in Iceland with attracting around 10.000 visitors.
The region also offers great opportunities for kayaking on rivers and the ocean, fishing, and hunting. You’ll also find boat tours that give you the chance to view some of Skagafjorður’s national treasures from the sea side. There is an excellent golf course, a shooting range and a paintball field in the region. All this, along with the local culture and the interesting history of the area makes Skagafjorður an excellent place fully enjoy and experience Iceland.