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Highlights

Akureyri Botanical Garden

The Public Park was first opened in 1912 and the botanic section added in 1957. The park has been enlarged three times since 1912 and is now about 3.6 ha and lies at 40-50 m altitude at Eyrarlandsvegur road near midtown.

The aim of the botanical garden is to grow trees, shrubs and perennials in the demanding climate of Northern Iceland, which is characterized by pronounced seasonality of temperature and day length. Situated in the shelter of Eyjafjord, which is one of the longest fjords in Iceland and provides a favourable microclimate for plant growth. Beside the 430 native species the surprising number of 6600 alien taxa grow in the garden. The garden is an IPEN member and is active in seed-exchange, public information, educationand recreation.

The Public Park and Botanic Garden is open 1st of Jun eto 30 Sept. On weekdays from 08-22 and at weekends from 09-22. The garden facilities are closed over the winter, but visitors are welcome to come for a stroll, the gates are open.

Aldeyjarfoss

Aldeyjarfoss waterfall is considered the most beautiful one in the river Skjalfandafljot. The waterfall is framed with long, natural basaltic columns. It is located in the uppermost regions of the Bardardalur valley, on the Sprengisandur highland route. It is possible to drive almost all the way up to it..

Arctic Henge

Set in Raufarhöfn, one of the most remote and northernmost villages in Iceland where the Arctic Circle lies just off the coast, the Arctic Henge (Heimskautsgerðið) is under construction. Similar to its ancient predecessor, Stonehenge, the Arctic Henge is like a huge sundial, aiming to capture the sunrays, cast shadows in precise locations and capture the light between aligned gateways.

History

Heimskautsgerðið (The Arctic-Henge) has it s roots in the innovators Erlingur Thoroddsen's speculations about the possibility to use endless vistas, where nothing obstructs the horizon, and the midnight sun. The idea to use the dwarf names from the eddic poem Völuspá (Prophecy of the Seeress) and modernize some aspects of the old world of the Sagas, soon became a part of these speculations. The first version of the idea is from 1998 but in 2004 it was finalized, with allusions to mythology and folklore, designed to interact with the unique natural light. The designer of the project is Haukur Halldórsson.

No one has been able to explain the dwarfs in the Völuspá, apart from Austri (East), Vestri (West), Norðri (North) and Suðri (South), who carry the sky. By connecting the names of the dwarfs to the season, as for example Bjartur (Bright) Blíður (Sweet) and Svásuður (Gengle) to the summer, it is possible to fit the names of the dwarfs to a yearly circle of 72 weeks. The year-circle of the dwarfs becomes a kind of almanac, where each dwarf controls a five day period. All the dwarfs have been given a role and they have all have their own personalities. This means that the dwarfs can be connected to birthdays and people can connect to their personal dwarf.

Around this made up world rises the Heimskautsgerði (Arctic-Henge) on the Melrakkaás (Foxhill) in Raufarhöfn. The Heimskautsgerði is around 50 meters in diameter, with 6 meter high gates that face the main directions. Between the gates is a high wall with a small opening at the top. Inside the circle stands 10 meter high column on four pillars. The column will be topped with cut prism-glass that splits up the sunlight unto the primary colors. The opening between the pillar look towards the main directions, so example the midnight sun can be seen from the south gate through the middle column and the north gate. The play of light and shadow will follow the time of the day. The openings on the wall will let in the sunrays so when the building is completed a sundial can be set up.

Inside the circle are 68 dwarfs who stand around a circular dwarf trail. Inside the trail is the polar star pointer, and does exactly what its name says. There you can also find the throne of the sun that is meant to be a place where the traveler can sit down to have his picture taken. Also a hall of rays, which is a sort of sanctuary between high columns, with one seat, where the guest can empty his mind an renew his energy. An altar of fire and water, reminds us of the power of the elements, where events can be performed, for example weddings, oath-taking and so forth.

More information available at www.arctichenge.com

Getting There

It´s about 130 km from Húsavík, but good roads all the way, so allow 1.5 hrs.
Follow the road 85 northeast out of Húsavík, past Ásbyrgi, taking the 874 road junction east just before Kópasker. Once in Raufarhöfn, you can´t miss the stones, looming impressively on the hill above the town. There is a short track to drive up, or you can walk if you prefer. Here is the route.

Ásbyrgi canyon

Ásbyrgi is one of the wonders of nature, a well forested horse-shoe shaped canyon in Oxarfjordur. Asbyrgi is a part of Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, within the Vatnajökull National Park. The Jökulsárgljúfur site of the National park reaches from highway 85, by Ásbyrgi south to Dettifoss, covering an area of 120 km2. Informative visitor's centre, shop, golf course and camping site are located by Ásbyrgi.
Many hiking tracks are in the vicinity of Ásbyrgi. Ásbyrgi canyon is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle https://www.northiceland.is/diamondcircle.

Askja

Askja is a 50 km2 caldera in the Dyngjufjoll mountains. The mountains emerged in eruptions under an Ice Age glacier cap. Askja itself was formed, for the most part, at the end of the Ice Age in a major ash eruption which caused the roof of the magma chamber at the heart of the central volcano to subside.

Askja is a part of Vatnajökull National Park.

The caldera contains several volcanoes, including Víti (explosive volcanic crater). Water has accumulated in the crater, its temperature is variable - it is around 30°C on average. Víti is a popular bathing site, but if you intend taking a dip, please be aware that the sloping path is very slippery in wet weather.

The road to Askja goes from road 1 to road 901 and onto mountain road F905. Onward to F910 to Drekagil. On this route there are two fords to cross, usually small. From Drekagil goes mountain road F894 (8 km) to the car park at Vikraborgir.
Another option is to go from road 1 to mountain road F88 via Herðubreiðarlindir to Drekagil. On this road ther are fords on the rivers Grafarlandsá and Lindá that need to be crossed. The fords can be difficult or even impassable for small jeeps.

Bárðarbunga

Bárðarbunga, is a stratovolcano located under Vatnajökull, Iceland's most extensive glacier. The second highest mountain in Iceland, 2,009 metres (6,591 ft) above sea level, Bárðarbunga is also part of a volcanic system that is approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) long and 25 kilometres (16 mi) wide.

Dettifoss Waterfall

The Dettifoss waterfall is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, 500 cubic meters of water per second plunge over the edge. Dettifoss is 45 m high and 100m wide. A nice hiking trail, 34km, goes along the canyon from Dettifoss to Asbyrgi. Camping is possible in Vesturdalur.

Road 864 goes from road 85 past Dettifoss on the east side towards road 1. This is a gravel road and driving speed depends on road conditions each time. Road 864 is closed during wintertime due to snow or wet conditions (muddy road) and does not open until early summer (end of May).

For the biggest part of it, road 862 on the west side of Dettifoss has been paved but the construction of the road is still ongoing and will be finished in the summer of 2020. The parts that have not been completed are gravel. From May-September, the road is passable for normal vehicles from Asbyrgi to Dettifoss, with Vesturdalur (Hljodaklettar) and Holmatungur between. The conditions of gravel roads in Iceland can vary, so travelers are asked to be aware of road conditions at any time and adjust the driving speed to the conditions.

Road 862 is closed during wintertime, due to snow or wet conditions (muddy road) and does not open until late May or early June. This paved part of the road that goes from Dettifoss and to road no. 1 is not in service from January until the beginning of April. Dettifoss Waterfall is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle https://www.northiceland.is/diamondcircle.

Dimmuborgir

Dimmuborgir or Dark Cities is an area of randomly strewn lava rocks and cliffs, surrounded by vegetation such as low bushes and plants. Dimmuborgir is a place of surprises with its myriad forms and images, small caves and towering volcanic rock, pierced by natural apertures.

The most famous of these formations is the cave "The Church", aptly named for its dome-like ceiling.

It is not only in summer that Dimmuborgir exerts its charm; a winter visit is also an invigorating experience which must include popping in to see the Yule Lads (Santas) who have settled there and made it their home.

Drangey

The rocky island Drangey in the middle of Skagafjordur is a flat topped mass of tuff, rising almost 200 meters out of the ocean. The cliffs serve as nesting sites for around million sea birds and have been used throughout Iceland´s history for egg collection and bird netting.

Grettis Saga recounts that both Grettir and his brother Illugi lived on Drangey, for three years and were slain there. The island can only be ascended at one spot.

Over the summer months, 20.May - 20.August, we offer daily trips to Drangey from Sauðárkrókur at 10:00 am.

There are no scheduled tours during the winter months, but tours can be arranged on request.

Goðafoss waterfall

The Goðafoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters.

In the year 1000, the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After his conversion, Þorgeir threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall. Goðafoss Waterfall is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle

https://www.northiceland.is/diamondcircle.

Herdubreid

Mt. Herdubreid on the Oskjuleið Route is a 1682m high table mountain. It is the national mountain of Iceland and often called the "Queen of Icelandic mountains". There is a hiking trail to the top of the mountain, but due to loose rock it´s difficult and steep.

Hveravellir

The "hub" of the Kjolur Route, is a geothermal area of fumaroles, and multicoloured hot pools. There are two mountain huts with kitchen facilities and a nice hot pool just outside the hut.

Hvítserkur

Hvítserkur is a 15 m-high sea stack just off shore on the eastern side of Vatnsnes. Good seal spotting place at the estuary of the Sigridarstadir lake, south from the stack.

Námafjall

At the foothills of this spectacular volcanic mountain is an expanse of hot springs called Hverir that are known for their variety. You will also discover fumaroles, mud pools and mud pots that all seem to be boil with relentless energy. The pass Námaskarð is strategically located at a short distance from the Krafla volcano system as well as other interesting geological spots like Búrfellshraun lava field and the desert Mývatnsöræfi.

Námaskarð earns its notoriety chiefly because of its sulphurous mud springs called solfataras and steam springs called fumaroles. Though you will scarcely find any pure water spring in this wonderful geothermal site of Iceland, the beauty of the colourful minerals defies all comparison. The gigantic size of the mud craters is what makes you go 'wow' at the sight of them.

The other thing that is sure to strike you about Námaskarð is the sheer lack of vegetation. The constant emission of the fumes has made the ground utterly sterile and acidic, unfit to sustain any floras and faunas. You must bear in mind that the fumes can be harmful for humans as well.

Vatnajökull National Park - north part

Vatnajökull National Park is vast in size and covers more than 13% of Iceland. Despite a large part of the national park being underneath the icecap of the glacier Vatnajökull its landscape is diverse, predominantly due to the interplay of volcanic activity and glaciers.

Jökulsárgljúfur is an area that takes its name from a canyon carved out by river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Within this area is Ásbyrgi; surrounded by horseshoe-shaped cliffs and also the location of Ásbyrgi visitor centre and a large camp site. Also within Jökulsárgljúfur are waterfall Dettifoss and crater plugs Hljóðaklettar, both a must see for every visitor in the north.

Central volcano Askja and highland oasis Herðubreiðarlindir are further up in the highlands. To get there requires a 4x4 transport. They are best accessed by road 901 and then F905. Two small fords need to be crossed on this way. Alternative route is through road F88 but then two fords that need extreme caution need to be crossed.
More information about the National park is at the webpage: www.vatnajokullnationalpark.is

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 Eyjafjarðarsveit 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