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More info on the Arctic Coastway

The Arctic Coast Way is an exciting tourism project which develops a new attraction to promote the North Iceland as a unique destination. Tourist routes are an established tool in global tourism to guide visitors along defined roads to specific areas. The Arctic Coast Way covers the entire coastline of North Iceland from Hvammstangi in the West to Bakkafjörður in the East. It´s the umbrella for 17 communities, 21 villages and all local providers along the defined roads who will confirm the membership criteria.

Why have a tourist route?
The overall objective of the Arctic Coast Way is to provide better opportunities for local providers to sell their products under an umbrella trademark and thus reach better visibility in the national and international markets. The route is also a tool to distribute visitors to more peripheral areas besides the well-known touristic magnets in the North. By developing experiences along the route, the project wants to contribute to achieve longer dwelling times in the North and to expand the season. The Arctic Coast Way aims to offer responsible travel options to visitors who give themselves time to connect with the unspoiled nature along the Northern coastline and to discover the coastal villages and its people, whose stories and culture are formed by the life at the ocean close to the Arctic Circle.

Who can take part?
The whole project has a strict focus on the coastline of the North. This focus is the core element of the promise we plan to send out to the visitors. To guarantee this promise and ensure a clear and credible brand of high quality we will have a membership- and operation criteria, which define how the trade is to be organized under the trademark of the Arctic Coast Way. These criteria probably will be published in February 2018. Until we publish the criteria no trade under the name of Arctic Coast Way is allowed.

When does it start?
Getting the project right will take time and this is not something that the project management and Markaðsstofa Norðurlands can achieve on their own. The whole project is a vibrant development process which will be conducted in close participation with the communities, providers, and locals.

We will announce the coming Arctic Coast Way on the Vestnorden 2018 in Akureyri and 2019 we will launch it on the World Oceans Day on 8th June.

The whole project is planned to be a long-term process. Once the Arctic Coast Way is launched there is still a continuous improvement of the infrastructure and experiences along the route to permanently enhance the visitor's experience and so the reputation and publicity of the route.

Infrastructure and signage planning
In summer 2017we started with the infrastructure- and signage planning and focused on data collection of existing infrastructure (parking options, rest areas, toilets, information panels) and discussing the planning-strategy with Vegagerðin and the municipalities.

Between November-December 2017 we collected in public regional meetings inputs for important infrastructure regarding the specific the needs of travelers along the Arctic Coast Way. The results will influence the planning to get an overview of what is existing and what additional infrastructure needs to be planed.

Why do Experience Development?
Even though the project is a tourist route, we plan to have the Arctic Coast Way as an Experience Brand. The defined roads, the route itself, is meant to be the magnet to guide the visitors to the areas along the coast. But the aim is to provoke visitors to spend more time out then in the car and to connect them to the places to reach this way longer dwell times.

The brand of the Arctic Coast Way sends out a promise and evokes a set of emotions which set the Arctic Coast Way apart from all other destinations. With the experience development, we ensure this all comes together for our visitors. “A product is what you buy – an experience is what you remember,” says the Canadian Tourism Commission, which explains best what an experience means.

The experience-development is the process to deliver a consistent message and promise to the international travel market that inspires visitors through their travel experience and gives them tools to tell their stories. This involves creating these experiences that will engage visitors with all their sense, immerse them actively, fill their souls and hearts and connect them to the places, to the locals and their life and culture at the coast of North Iceland. These experiences will create the memories for a lifetime and strong stories our visitors want to take back to their family and friends motivating them to be our next visitors and return after and after themselves.

At the end of the process, we also will provide a toolkit which helps providers to develop their individual experiences on the brand promise and the defined core experiences of the Arctic Coast Way so it is easier to sell it on the national and international market.

Who is behind the project?
The project is hosted by Markaðsstofa Norðurlands and the project manager and the steering committee run the project. The steering committee currently comprises 17 members, covering the entire project area between Hvammstangi and Bakkafjörður. After successful applications for further funding in Uppygingarsjóður NV and NE and Grasrótarstyrkur NV and NE, the Arctic Coast Way started in June 2017 into the second phase of the project. We appreciate the strong support and positive feedback which we get from the municipalities along the Arctic Coast Way, but also from Stjórnstöð ferðamála and Íslandsstofa.

North Iceland

Towns & Villages

Society and the economy have many faces. Whereas agriculture is the mainstay of rural areas, the towns depend upon fishing, industry, trade and a range of services, with each village having its own characteristics though they all prove hospitable hosts. 
The availability of food and accommodation and the possibilities at every location for recreation and entertainment make hopping between the villages informative as well as fun.   
In every case, the residents are lively and ready to celebrate.

Explore map with pictures

Map Akureyri Hrafnagil Grímsey Raufarhöfn Kópasker Þórshöfn Bakkafjörður Húsavík Mývatn Laugar Svalbarðseyri Grenivík Hjalteyri Hauganes Árskógssandur Dalvík Hrísey Ólafsfjörður Siglufjörður Hofsós Hólar Varmahlíð Sauðárkrókur Skagaströnd Blöndós Hvammstangi Laugarbakki Borðeyri