As one of Iceland’s most ravishing but not often visited regions, Northeast Iceland has a multitude of exclusive experiences to offer.
Not only was Akureyri, a mini city in the north, voted Lonely Planet’s best place to visit in 2015, but the top end of Iceland is an area that’s far quieter than cosmopolitan Reykjavik.
Northeast Iceland is known for its lonesome landscapes and thriving wealth of wildlife, from whopping whales in Husavik harbour, to pleasant puffins on the Rauoanes point.
As an idyllic spot to experience nature in its freshest form, you’ll also find a peaceful pleasure in the murmur of the wild waves crashing against the craggy cliff-sides as you stroll past a few fishing villages, situated close to the shore.
The rawness of the environment reveals the rugged seafaring world that Northeast Iceland has historically been known as, and which will always be a cultural characteristic of the country.
The incredible Icelandic environs expand further in Northeast Iceland, with volcanic and geothermal areas encircling the enormous Lake Myvatn, fizzing mud pools at Namaskard, and loose-end lava formations at Dimmuborgir.
Natural baths beckon your arrival, bringing with it the benefits of beautification for your soul.
For the adventurers, we’ve listed the top 9 things to do in Northeast Iceland this year that will mellow your mind and satisfy your soul! Read on for some North-eastern epics!
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Visit the very lovely village of Seydisfjordur
Seydisfjordur, a stunning little suburb with a small population of only 700 inhabitants, is a perfect little paradise in Northeast Iceland where all the locals look out for each other.
With lots of little colourful houses against a backdrop of beautiful snow-capped mountains and wild waterfalls, this corner of the country has an aesthetic air of surrealism unlike any other you’ve visited before.
Seydisfjordur is also a historically significant place for Northeast Iceland because its port on the waterfront has been a booming trading centre since the early 19th century!
Another reason to visit Seydisfjordur is to see the awesome art scene, terrific trekking trails and have a bite of the brilliant and homegrown cuisine!
Join in with the geological journey at Tjornes and Asbyrgi
The Tjornes peninsula is a geological phenomenon in Northeast Iceland, renowned for its fossil layers which were formed at the end of the tertiary period. An interval of geologic time which lasted from 66 million to 2.6 million years ago!
These fossils included wood, fossilised crystalline, whale and shark bones, and lignite. From their physicality, scientists were able to trace changes in the climate, vegetation and marine life right back to the Ice Age.
Photo credit: “Asbyrgi Canyon” by Michal Klajban is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Close to the Tjornes, you will find the Asbyrgi Canyon, a horseshoe-shaped hole in Northeast Iceland, 50 miles east of Husavik along the famous Diamond Circle route.
The canyon is made up of huge, punctured magma rocks and you will feel inclined to sit back and swallow the sheer size and sensationalism of the formation. It’ll certainly be a part of Northeast Iceland that you’ll want to visit again and again!
Discover the rocks from planet Dimmuborgir
Dimmuborgir, meaning ‘dark castles’, is a strangely-shaped lava field in Northeast Iceland made of volcanic caves and bizarre rock formations.
These rugged crags and contorted towers of rocks are thought to have been created over 2000 years ago after a fierce and ferocious volcanic eruption!
Giant pillars, chimneys and tubes hang eerily over the lunar landscape, giving you an ‘other-worldly’ feeling as you trek and traverse across the field.
There are three different routes you can take within this maze of Martian-like lava formations. The straightforward hiking routes will each offer you an extravagant view of the natural wonder that Dimmuborgir is known to be in Northeast Iceland!
You’ll certainly want to capture some selfies with these Rockies from another planet!
Godafoss – Waterfall of the Gods
Godafoss, the wondrous ‘Waterfall of the Gods’, is known to be one of the most mesmerising natural marvels’ in Northeast Iceland.
Situated between Akureyi and Lake Myvatn, the ice-blue glacial water thunders out of a 12-metre drop from a 30-metre-wide semi-spherical arc. Creating, magnificent twisting turquoise patterns in the water beneath it while mixing with the surrounding lava.
Godafoss is also a great place to take selfies especially if you’re one of the lucky ones to experience the blinding beauty of the Northern Lights behind you. It can be absolutely spectacular!
Find out how Husavik will wow you with whales
Husavik, a picturesque coastal town in Northeast Iceland, is well-known as the whale watching capital of Europe.
Twenty-three species of these mammoth mammals have been seen in icy Iceland’s waters, the most popular being Humpbacks, Minke and Blue whales.
Humpback whales are said to be the most enjoyable to watch at sea because of their lively nature and the variety of acts they perform. You’ll probably get to see them feeding, jumping, slapping their flippers against the water, or dipping their heads in and out to see what’s going on!
To see any of these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is an amazing experience and worth a visit when you’re anywhere near Northeast Iceland.
There is also a Whale Museum in Husavik which has a fascinating collection of fossils and skeletons of these mammals which is both educational and informative for visitors.
Jump in the geothermal waters
When you visit the Northeast Iceland region, why not take a dip in the transparent, tepid, geothermal waters it is also famous for?
Surrounded by the surreal views of Lake Myvatn, you’ll be in a blissful heaven of heated waters, around 38-40 degrees, which will do wonders for your well-being as you gently unwind from a day of adventuring!
Any excursion to Northeast Iceland is not complete without a soak in these sensual waters!
Get to know Namaskard
Namaskard is a geothermal phenomenon of sulphuric, fizzing, mud springs, steaming hot springs, fumaroles and mud pits, which boil and sizzle ceaselessly, omitting an ‘other-worldly’ aroma. Yes, it has a far better view than smell 🙂
This part of Northeast Iceland owes its geothermal energy to the Krafla volcano which is also responsible for the myriad of majestic minerals and colours which decorate the area.
Take a trip to Namaskard to experience the powerful pull of Mother Nature on this part of Northeast Iceland!
Feel the thunder of Dettifoss
Dettifoss is a dashing waterfall which dominates its locality in the Northeast Iceland, and is said to be the most powerful of its kind in Europe!
Photo credit: “Dettifoss Waterfall” by Scoundrelgeo is licensed under CC BY 2.0
With a winning waterflow of 193 cubic metre per second coming from the nearby Vatnajokull glacier, it rumbles, jumbles and carves out a dramatic 20km Jokulsargljufur canyon into the landscape! You’ll certainly be astonished by the ferocity of the flow!
Dettifoss is truly one of Northeast Iceland’s natural wonders so make sure you drop by to have a wander when you visit!
Be amazed by the unearthly envisions at Lake Myvatn
Lake Myvatn is a magical volcanic lake, full of flora and friendly wildlife in Northeast Iceland.
At 36.5 km2, Myvatn is the Nordic nation’s largest lake in this varied and visually beautiful setting of hot springs, geothermal features, caves and moon-shaped craters.
If you visit the Northeast of Iceland, this beautifully scenic arena is a place that you’ll be overjoyed to journey into!
Northeast Iceland is Iceland’s hidden haven. Even though it is visited much less than the metropolis parts of the country, that doesn’t mean it has anything less to offer.
With its lonesome lunar landscapes, flourishing wildlife, and natural geothermal areas, Northeast Iceland is a geological journey of joy and jubilation, and one of the best places to visit if you want to relax, unwind, and absorb the abundance of culture and comfort that the country has to offer!