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Useful information for excursions in Akureyri
Below you will find information on the most beautiful sights, a map of the cruise port as well as many useful tips and information for your cruise trips in and around Akureyri.
The most beautiful sights in and around Akureyri
The city, located in north of Iceland’, just 50 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, is called Akureyri. Approxiamtely18,000 inhabitants have settled here, which inhabit the second largest city in the country. The so-called “Gateway to the North” lies at the foot of the fjord Eyjafjörður. While on the way to Akureyri with the cruise ship, you will cross the 60-kilometer fjord and the first highlight that this place has to offer begins. Small fishing villages and high mountains are among the beautiful fjord landscape around the water.
Despite the manageable size, there is much to see in the “Capital of the North” as locals dub the place. In addition to the Botanical Garden and the Akureyrarkirkja, the surrounding area enjoys great popularity, as it is blessed with natural spectacles like the famous waterfall Godafoss. However, the “Waterfall of the Gods” is not the only place of magic sprayed, even the thermal springs, where the hot and cold complement each other, truly enchant their visitors. Pure relaxation, pure nature, pure adventure – discover Iceland a completely different kind of cruise destination.
The city centre of Akureyri is characterized by a lively atmosphere, which is a true rarity in Iceland. In addition to Reykjavik, here in Akureyri are some cozy shopping streets, museums, small restaurants, parks and other attractions that make the cityscape.
One of the highlights is the Akureyrarkirkja. The Protestant church is the unmistakable landmark of the city and was built as early as 1940’s. It contains a large organ with a total of 3200 pipes and a unique interpretation of the crucifixion of Jesus. The long stairways, which gives the church a dramatic aspect, takes you to the architecturally impressive work designed by Guðjón Samúelsson. In addition to Akureyrarkirkja, the architect also designed the University of Iceland, the National Theatre and many other buildings on the island.
A good starting point is still the Botanical Garden, which was opened in 1912 and has a size of 3 hectares. It served as a place of relaxation for the locals over the period of its existence, as well as for research: here it was proven that different flowers and trees survive even in an environment so close to the Arctic Circle. This aspect is a real treat, as the colourful town of Akureyris is one of the most northerly botanical gardens in the world.
The Godafoss waterfall
One of Iceland’s largest and most impressive waterfalls is the Godafoss. Like some of Iceland’s other attractions, it likes to be dramatically rewritten as the ” Waterfall of the Gods.” Legend has it that the name derives from the fact that around 1000 AD, the Icelandic chief Þorgeir casted statues of gods in the waterfall to prove that they have no power. He believed that Iceland should accept Christianity as the state religion. Other sources claim that the natural spectacle was referred as such due to its godlike beauty.
The water, which plunges 12 meters into the depth, rises from the river Skjálfandafljót, which flows through the dark lava landscape, which was created more than 7000 years ago. The waterfall is also 30 meters wide and crashes down mighty cliffs. A rock divides the stream of water in the middle and at a certain water level further waterfalls are created, which makes this place an increasingly unique spectacle.
The museum court Laufas
In order to gain insight into the time of Christianization and to learn more about the living conditions in past centuries, you should visit the museum yard Laufás. Only a few kilometres from Akureyri, it lies east of Eyjafjörður fjord. Here lied the only church in Iceland at the time, which still exists! The farm was the home of the district pastor and his servants. On a tour, you can dive in deep in the history and discover how the last inhabitants lived. Since much is well preserved and the individual rooms of the courtyard still have their original furnishings, the discovery is very impressive. Not only is the living room, working and sleeping area of the house available, but also the old kitchen, the weaving room and the living room.
The design of the houses is very exciting to look at, since they are mainly made of stones and sods, due to the lack of wood at that time. The little houses and their kind of edification belongs to Iceland and are a piece of history.
Lake Myvatn & its sights
To the east of Akureyri is Iceland’s fourth largest lake and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the north of the country. If you come here, you can look forward to beautiful lake views, hot springs and steaming geothermal fields, spectacular waterfalls, caves and craters – a unique Icelandic natural spectacle. Lake Mývatn makes the city of Akureyri a sightseeing competition. The area is a nature reserve and provides interesting plants and bird life. With its 36.5 km 2 Mývatn has about 50 small islands.
Lake Mývatn is best known for its pseudo-craters of Skútustaðir, which pile up at various points in the lake. They look like ordinary volcanic craters from the outside, but they are created in a completely different way. Hot lava flowed over the water underneath, explosively hot steam was created and blasted the craters into the still liquid lava.
The area around the lake lies on the border between the American and the European continental plate and therefore the most diverse varieties of volcanic phenomena can be observed up close.
The Solfatare of Hverarönd are located below the volcanic ridge Námafjall and they are one of the most famous attractions in Iceland. Solfatars are sites in the soil where water vapor, hydrogen sulphide, elemental sulfur and other minerals escape. On partly paved paths, you will come very close to the sulfur springs, the violently boiling mud pots and fumaroles. Be sure to be careful where you go and be prepared for a strong smell of sulfur!
The lava field Dimmuborgir is a labyrinth of several solidified black lava columns, which can be explored on numerous circular routes. The lava field is about 4 km 2 large and accommodates a lot in this area, thing that are worth discovering along the circular routes is a so-called “church”, a vault in the form of a triangle, caves, archways, bridges, and sculpture-like forms. The bizarrely shaped rock formations of the lava field are reminiscent of ruins of castles and towers. In addition, it is home to numerous elves and trolls – be prepared to be left curious!
The Tuffring Hverfjall, is located next to Dimmuborgir and can be climbed over two paths and wandered around on the crater rim.
Map of the cruise port in Akureyri
The port of Akureyri is located at the end of the 60-kilometer Eyjafjörður fjord, which you cross by boat before reaching the capital in the north. In addition to the terminals Oddeyrarbryggja and Tangabryggja there are still some berths for smaller cruise ships. The big ships, however, usually dock at the Oddeyrarbryggja terminal, where there is space for two mega lines at right angles. If necessary, tender boats will also be available for cruise passengers to use.
Close to, Strandgata 12, just a few meters away from the moorings, you can also find a modern tourist information office in the Culture & Conference Center.
Due to the manageable size of Akureyri, you do not have to worry about transferring to the city center. The harbor is less than a kilometer away and can easily be reached on foot on your own.
Worth knowing facts about shore excursions in Akureyri (Iceland)
Shipping companies and routes
Amongst others, the Brilliance of the seas fleet of Royal Caribbean and other shipping companies such as Celebrity Cruises, MSC, Silversea, and P&O Cruises are all heading for Iceland.
The routes are all different, Iceland is combined with different locations depending on the route and which specific cruise line you take.
For example, Iceland can be reached directly from Southampton with P&O Cruises. This shipping company offers Iceland on its routes not only with Torshavn, but also with Dublin.
Entry and visa
Für Ihren Kreuzfahrt-Aufenthalt in Akureyri wird kein Visum benötigt, sondern lediglich ein Personalausweis oder Reisepass. Diese können auch vorläufig sein.
Es ist zudem immer ratsam, sich bei der Kreuzfahrt-Reederei nochmals über die jeweiligen Einreisebestimmung zu informieren, um sicher zu gehen.
The national currency is the Icelandic crown (ISK). 1 USD equals to around 118 ISK and 1 GBP equals to around 115.00 ISK.
The benefits of credit cards are common in Iceland and it is accepted in supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, petrol stations and car rentals. If you also want to have cash with you, we recommend the exchange on site. In Iceland it is cheaper to exchange money.
Taxi and public transport
The cruise terminal is not far from the city centre so the paths can be walked on foot. Also, within Akureyris the sights are within walking distance. Individuals that tend to explore the city in this manner are likely to discover most of the city.
However, taxis that are waiting at the port and can also be used for round trips. Usually, the prices of the two- to six-hour trips are on the appropriate signs. Taxis that are waiting outside also visit destinations like the Godafoss, which should cost you approximately 200 euro. If you prefer to explore the surrounding area on your own with a rental car, you can rent a car from companies such as Europcar, Avis or, in the summer, at the harbour, you can rent from Icelandcar.
To avoid footpaths, it is possible to take one of the public buses. The city buses are free and depart behind the Culture & Conference Centre. You can also choose hop-on hop-off buses for city tours, which depart every 30 minutes and make eleven breakpoints and in total need about 45 minutes for a round trip. Again, the Hof Culture & Conference Centre is the pick-up and drop off point here.
Iceland is known for its cool summers and mild winters. The more suitable travel time for an Iceland cruise is the summer, as the winter months, face a higher rate of rainfall and the days are much shorter. In June, July and August, however, most hours of sunshine and temperatures are between 12 and 15 degrees Celsius.
The main season for cruise ships is from May to October.
Website Port Authority and Tourism Organization
- Official website Akureyri: Visit Akureyri
- Official Website Iceland: Visit Iceland
- Official harbor side: Port of Akureyri
Online Travel Guide: Guide to Iceland
Video: Impressions of Iceland
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