by Janis / 0 comments

Day Eight, Circular trip from Akureyri

We were based in Akureyri, Iceland for two nights, so, having the extra night this gave us the opportunity to tour some of the northern peninsular and venture off of Iceland's A1 Ring Road for a while.

Back in the 4x4 we headed north out of Akureyri and picked up route 82, immediately the hustle bustle of a larger town has gone and we’re back on the quiet deserted Icelandic roads.

Iceland’s historical past has partially revolved around whale hunting, although nowadays the tracking of whales is mainly for tourism whale watching or scientific reasons. However, we came across a sculpture of a whale tail and had to stop.

 (You can pick-up any part of our Iceland Road Trip at the bottom of this post, along with a map of our route and the 'Highlight of the Day' for each of us.)

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For our accommodation in Akureyri; we stayed at Hotel Kea, in the centre of town which was very comfortable and included breakfast.
A lifesize whale-fin monument to Iceland's whaling trade against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains
A monument to the whale

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Northern Iceland

and its fishing communities
Small boats moored up in the clear waters of Dalvik harbour, Iceland
Dalvik harbour
In this part of Iceland as with many others, fishing is still a large part of the day to day life, and as we toured through the small communities such as Dalvík & Ólafsfjörður, it is very evident, that this continues.
An iron anchor memorial on the pavement next to the water's edge just outside Ólafsfjörður, Iceland
The view just outside Ólafsfjörður
We also stumbled upon was some great street art.
A mural of a troll on a wall in the north of Iceland with the hashtag #TrolledInIceland.
#TrolledInIceland

Where to stay in Akureyri

In Akureyri we chose to stay at the Hotel Kea.

We had a few essential requirements from each of our overnight stays in Iceland, which were:

Breakfast included or available nearby.
Scooby snacks along the way can be expensive.
Parking is a requirement, as this is a road trip after all.
Nearby cafés/eateries, or onsite restaurant for the evening.
Preferably a close-by fuel station; they can be few and far between en route.
Booking.com

Driving in Iceland

and then came the tunnels
Heading further north in Iceland we pick up route 76, and along here there are some very interesting tunnels, channelled into the sides of mountains, one was built as recently as 2010.
A section of Route 76 that leads into a tunnel through a mountain range in Northern Iceland
Route 76

Well, when I say ‘interesting’ Gary & I weren’t quite prepared that partially through the narrow dark tunnel, priority was for oncoming traffic and we had to pull over into a layby that was bored out in the side of the tunnels rock face.

There’s a first time for everything!

Useful tips for driving in Iceland

If you are planning a road trip around Iceland particularly over the winter months you need to be very aware of the ever-changing road and weather conditions.  During winter, parts of the Ring Road may be impassable, and you may not get to areas of the country you intended to.

Regularly check the conditions by using these useful websites and apps, believe me, they will come in handy.

We have also written a post packed with tips for driving in Iceland based on our research and experience than may be worth checking out.

Discovering Northern Iceland Towns

Siglufjörður
Nearer the most northern tip of the headland, we pass through the small colourful fishing town of Siglufjörður. Nestled along a fjord, its heritage during the 1940’s and 50’s was the buoyant herring industry.
The small town of Siglufjörður at the base of a mountain in Northern Iceland
The view towards Siglufjörður
The remains of a wooden jetty in the bay at Siglufjörður against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains in Northern Iceland
The bay at Siglufjörður
Although the herring are now gone, fishing is still a large part of this community, and you sense an element of pride within the town to maintain its picturesque upkeep.
Two halves of a herring boat flank the path to the russet red herring museum in Siglufjörður, Northern Iceland.
The Herring Era Museum, Siglufjörður
Boats moored up in the bay in front of the Sigló Hótel in Siglufjörður, Northern Iceland
The Sigló Hótel, Siglufjörður

A few good ideas for your Icelandic trip

Here are a few things we picked up ahead of our trip to make things a little smoother for us.  Simple stuff that may be helpful on your travels.  All from Amazon.
A good old paper map
A USB car charger
A USB rechargable tourch
A USB power bank
A water bottle

    Exploring Iceland

    As far as the eye can see
    We reach the furthest north, we intend to journey on this trip, and after travelling along mainly tarmac roads and an occasional gravel one, all that stretches beyond are blue seas as far as the eye can see.
    The orange Trollaskagi Lighthouse on a bleak outcrop of rock in Northern Iceland
    Trollaskagi Lighthouse
    With a glimpse in the far distance to the east is Grímsey, an Icelandic island straddling the Arctic Circle.

    Finding the right car for your Icelandic Road Trip

    Discover Iceland’s enchanting Ring Road with its rugged landscape or the waterfalls and geysers around the Golden Circle for yourself.

    If you want to explore Iceland's F-Roads, you must have a 4x4, but we'd recommend one anyway for the improved driving position, and if the weather turns, you have a touch of added protection.

    We recommend Rental Cars as they search multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

    The best of North Iceland

    I’ll say it again
    Trying not to be too repetitive but once again the scenery is incredible. In the depths of winter, the small towns and villages must almost be inaccessible by land.
    A mirrored view of a mountain range in the frozen Miklavatn lake in Northern Iceland
    The view over Miklavatn
    We now continue our journey south down the 76 passing snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes. Jumping back onto Iceland's Ring Road, we then travel east and return to Akureyri.

    If you're tempted to tour the Land of Fire and Ice and would love to discover the whole country, then take a look at this  DK Eyewitness book. This Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide is invaluable, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.

    You can now grab the revised copy.

    A must try in Iceland

    Ice cream
    Now I know what you are thinking, there is one thing missing from a winter Icelandic road trip, yes ICE CREAM…
    Ice cream cones painted on the Brynaja ice cream parlour in Akureyri
    Brynja - The Ice cream shop, Akureyri
    I had read about the Brynja ice-cream parlour in Akureyri prior to leaving the UK, and I thought I must give it a try. After a brief conversation with the friendly lady behind the counter which mainly involved pointing, I managed to order a couple of ice creams.
    Janis tucking into he tub of ice cream shop in Brynaja, Akureyri
    Enjoying a Brynja Ice-cream
    A small tub of ice cream covered in sprinkles from the Brynaja ice cream shop in Akureyri
    Brynja Ice-cream, Akureyri

    Planning your trip to Iceland

    So you're planning a trip to the Land of Fire and Ice? There is so much to see and do in Iceland that you'll wish you were staying longer. To ensure you make the most out of your visit, head over to the official website of Visit Iceland for a little help and guidance.

    Have fun!

    A look around Akureyri

    Take a stroll
    We had a wander around the colourful fishing town of Akureyri, and discovered that Akureyri was first settled upon in the 9th-century. Not only is the town warming to the eye, but its traffic lights are also quite friendly too.
    The Blue Cafe, a charming Victorian-looking blue building with a red roof and two red turrets in Akureyri, Iceland
    The Blue Café
    A heart-shaped red traffic light in Akureyri, Iceland
    Love the traffic lights
    On our stroll we discovered Laxdalshús, Akureyri’s oldest house which was built in 1795. During the late 18th-century Laxdalshús was located along the shores of the fjord, which is where wealthy merchants were living.
    A black wooden home with a white picket fence that is Akureyri's oldest house from 1795
    Laxdalshús, Akureyri
    Just a little further along is Nonnahús, built in 1850 and was the home of Jón Sveinsson, "Nonni", who wrote children’s books.
    The signposted Nonnahús wooden home in Akureyri, Iceland
    Nonnahús, Akureyri

    In search of the Northern Lights

    If you are Northern Light hunting, you need to be aware of the sunset & darkness times and the KP Index for the evening. It also requires dark and partly clear skies.

    KP Index scale ranges from 0 to 9;
    0-2: Low
    2-3: Moderate
    4-6: A big solar storm is coming
    7-9: Highly unusual

    You can monitor this via the Icelandic Met Office which is updated around 6 pm.

    Our Iceland Road Trip

    The route
    The route that we took today included a mixture of roads, mostly around route 82 and 76 and then hopping back onto the Ring Road into Akureyri.
    In total, our journey was about 268km (166 miles) and with all the stops took us about 5 1/2 hours.

    Highlight of the Day

    Every trip Gary and I go on, whether it’s a mini-break near or far or a road trip we chose a ‘Highlight of the Day’, here they are for day 8.
    Janis; The scenery along the coastal route was amazing, and I love it that it is so peaceful.
    Gary; It has to be those tunnels - amazing to drive through. Along with Janis I agree, the scenery was stunning.

    Trips to try in Iceland

    Something from Get Your Guide?
    Why not check out what else is on offer through Get Your Guide.

    Where we stayed in Akureyri

    Our stopover

    For the two nights, we were based in Akureyri; we stayed at Hotel Kea, in the centre of town. The hotel was comfortable and had a broad range of facilities.

    The only issue was that it had limited parking on site and certain in town areas of Akureyri require a parking disc. The hotel gave us a disc; however, it works on time restrictions.

    Tomorrow we are heading to Laugarbakki, a total distance of 120 miles/200km; however, we will not be taking the most direct route.

    We have a number of points of interest before we reach Laugarbakki.  Why not check out the next part of our Icelandic road trip?

    The Complete Icelandic Journey

    Why not take a look through our entire 12-day Iceland tour? Staring as we left Kevflavik and continued anti-clockwise around Iceland

    * This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

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