Walking on heavy snow, a cold and harsh wind on our backs, as we move closer to the rim of the half-frozen fall - we are surrounded by loud rushing water, and as we gaze in awe at the magnificent view of these primordial waterfalls, enveloped in the whiteness of snow… it is as we were on another planet, seeing this panorama for the very first time!
This is what you can experience in Iceland's second-largest city, and you might just prefer it over Reykjavik muchachos!
Akureyri? It's Iceland's Hidden Tesoro…
Offering a heavy diet of puffing volcanoes, glaciers, and waterfalls, there is no denying that tourism is booming in Iceland. With over 1 million tourists visiting every year, most of them go straight to Reyjavik or to natural attractions like the Pingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss Waterfall, or the Geysir Geothermal Area located in a place more popularly known as the “Golden Circle.”
Little do people know that further north is Iceland’s hidden gem – Akureyri, its beautiful second-largest, city. Akureyri (pronounced a-KU-ray) rests on the northern coast of Iceland and is surrounded by mountainous grasslands that attract horse riders, skiers, and hikers. Hit the streets and you will find vividly colored cafes, shops, and restaurants that serve a wide variety of food that makes you wonder why more visitors do not frequent the place.
If this is the first time that you are hearing about Akureyri, here are some of the reasons why you should consider visiting the “Capital of the North.”
Its Beauty is Far More than You Could Ever Imagine
Once you get to the capital of the north, you can already see the splendor of its beauty. Beneath the cloudy skies and majestic mountains, you can feast your eyes on the burst of colors of Akureyri’s houses lined up on Eyjafjörður’s bank in the southwest.
The crystal-clear water of this 60-kilometer fjord connects with the North Atlantic and is protected by mountains on either side such as the majestic Mount Sulur, with specks of snow that remain even in summer. Because of the location between the mountains, the weather here is very mild, even though the city is only 100 miles from the Arctic Circle. Their lowlands are not short of trails and farmland that is a haven for horse riders and hikers alike.
The Fjord is Never Short on Whales
You can see the clear blue waters of Eyjafjörður perpetually alive thanks to gigantic aquatic mammals that are in abundance below. Humpback whales are not rare, exhibiting their massive frames and spraying water up into the atmosphere before they descend. Catch more of them and other mammals like bottle-nosed whales and minke whales while they show their beauty and majesty during whale watching tours.
Take a Ride With Some of the Country's Finest Horses
Horses played an important role in the history of Iceland, and Akureyri’s meadows and trails by the side of the fjord are the perfect places to try and experience the city’s culture when it comes to riding horses.
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Their equestrian ancestors were brought to Iceland by Norwegian settlers between circa 800 to circa 900, populating the country with Norway’s finest horses. Horses in Iceland are famous for their exquisite looks, cartoon-like eyelashes, and flashy blond manes. And since there is no threat to their lives here, they are bold, fast, and carefree. The Skjaldarvik Guest House offers tours that will let you experience this one-of-a-kind horse-riding activity.
… a little town in Isafjardjardjup Bay in Westfjords, Iceland, and a perfect base for exploring the area. Read our travel guide on the best things to do in Isafjordur, including tips on how to get there, when to go, and where to stay.
Have you ever heard of Isafjordur in Iceland? We have a hunch that you haven't, but it does not mean this place does not have anything to offer for every traveler.
Isafjordur is located in a remote bay in Westfjords, and it comes with challenges.
For example, it takes time to get there. In winter, you might not be able to get here at all.
In summer, you will need a day to get there from Reykjavik.
However, traveling around this isolated region showed some of the finest Icelandic scenery.
Like most regions and places in Iceland, Isafjordur has an incredible setting.
It's located at the head of the fjord and surrounded by the astonishing scenery so typical for the Westfjords.
The setting is truly remarkable, and this is the main reason you should consider visiting Isafjordur.
It is not the city life, even though the town has a good atmosphere and is very picturesque. The bay, mountains, fauna, and flora make this place outstanding.