Besides its not-to-be-missed stops and hidden gems, the North of Iceland provides a wide range of activities for every taste and in every season. In winter, the region turns into a white wonderland, a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts, while the soft lights of Summer nights make the possibilities nearly limitless. On your itinerary, do not stick to the traditional route, and leave room for Adventure, Wildlife, Relaxation, Culture and History for a full insight of the region and memories that will last a lifetime.
We offer a selection of tours and activities in the area, of which you will find below a few of our favourites.
Take a Dog sledding tour in Mývatn
What about adding some excitement to your holiday and hop on a wooden sled pulled by 6-8 Siberian Huskies? The musher’s passion and the dogs’ energy and power are truly infectious and make for an exhilarating day. Add to that some wild Nature and white landscapes as far as one can see, and you experience a unique mode of sightseeing, still a mode of transport and moving goods in some cultures. One of the highlights of the trip is the visit to the kennel after the ride, where you get to give the dogs some well-deserved cuddles and belly rubs.
Go kayaking and rafting in a glacial river
White-water sports in Iceland are on the bucket list of all adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. Deep in North West, the river Jökulsá-Austari comes straight from the glacier Hofsjökull and has the reputation of being one of the best rivers of Europe for river rafting and kayaking. In addition to the thrill, travel downriver provides epic scenery through a spectacular colourful canyon, sometimes narrow passages, and a waterfall just a few meters away to top it off. Families and first-timers can have equal fun on the calmer portion of the river, that flows through hot springs and raw nature.
Cowshed tour at Kaffi Kú
How often do you get the opportunity to sneak behind the scenes of a cowshed? Kaffi Kú, 10 minutes away from Akureyri, opens its doors to visitors to share their passion for their animals and their concern for cows’ welfare. From the restaurant, you can see what is going on in the farm in real time and witness various farming activities, from the milking to the cows massaging. Yes, you read right. The perks of being a cow in Iceland are obviously the wonderful surroundings provided by the Icelandic countryside! Get rewarded by a glass of fresh milk, and greet the calves.
Be a farmer for a day at Stóra -Ásgeirsá
For those seeking for something more, something different on their trip across North Iceland, this cultural immersion won’t disappoint. Stóra-Ásgeirsá is a working farm with various animals, in addition of being a horse rental and farm zoo. Passionate and hardworking, Magnus and Rannveig invite you to take part of all kinds of daily farm activities with the seasons. A good place to know the locals, try your hand at farming and spend hours among horses, sheep and the rare Icelandic goat that went close to extinct. At the end of the day, you may end up finding your true calling and extending your stay.
Seal Watching in Hvammstangi
When they look at you in the eyes, you understand why they are often referred to as the puppies of the ocean. Most of the time, seals turn to be as curious as we humans are, playing an endless game of hide and seek, impressive by their speed and agility in the water. The next second, they shine by their particularly slow, somewhat lazy, way of climbing the closest rock to rest before casually rolling back to sea. One of the largest colonies lies, literally, in North West Iceland, where you can join a seal watching boat excursion from Hvammstangi and watch them evolve in their natural environment.
Whale watching in Dalvík and Hauganes
North Iceland is one of the favourite environments for the whales that keep coming back every year during the breeding period, offering great opportunities to spot them. If Húsavík has become over the years the Capital of Whale Watching, other tours are available from Dalvik, and Hauganes. Humpback whales are the most common - yet extraordinary – sight, but they are often accompanied with such sightings as white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises, Minke whales, and even the mightiest of all: blue whales. Once they appear, everything around goes silent, and all you can hear is their blow and fin slapping.
Horseback riding in the countryside at Skjaldarvík
You haven’t experienced Iceland until you have met and spent time with the iconic Icelandic horse. Sure thing. The purest breed, the surest foot, the more gaits, the Icelandic horse is never short of superlatives, being one of the biggest National prides. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, there is a horse waiting for you out there, ready to take you on a ride into Icelandic wilderness. Jump on the saddle at Skjaldarvík, and ride along the paths of the beautiful Eyjafjörður fjord. Every season offers great riding opportunities, but you won’t resist how fluffy the horses are in Winter time. You wouldn’t mind a relaxing bath over the mountains afterwards?
Witness the Midnight Sun on the longest day of the year at Hofsstaðir guesthouse
Visiting Iceland in June ensures you the unique experience of the Summer Solstice, when one can witness the so-called Midnight Sun. The phenomenon is even more marked in North Iceland, that experiences the longest daylight in all Iceland, and therefore an amazing show. Hofsstaðir is a cosy traditional farm stay in North Iceland, and the ideal location for lovers of the great outdoors, the winning combination mountains/sea, and the peacefulness of the Icelandic countryside. At that time of the year, foals bring landscapes to life. Visiting in winter? Then be on the hunt for Northern lights!
If you want to learn more about North Iceland you should check out our articles about the top 10 experiences in the area, and our guide to discovering the hidden gems.