Reykjahlíð to Akureyri, North Iceland

In Europe, Far, Iceland, Our Journeys, Road Trips, Trip-Types by Janis0 Comments

Day Seven, the landscape is so rewarding

Today’s route is actually one of our shortest, so naturally, that means we’ll be taking some detours.

The view across Lake Myvatn from Skútustaðagígar, Iceland

Hopped into our trusty steed, we head back around Lake Myvatn (on the 848) as we wanted to catch it with the morning light.

The view from Skútustaðagígar, Iceland

The views from Skútustaðagígar were once again incredible, but boy the cold wind had picked up.

Goðafoss

Re-joining the Ring Road 1, we head onto to our first waterfall of the day, Goðafoss (you can never have too many waterfalls).

The full force of Goðafoss, Iceland

You could see it from the road it was so big, once closer, it almost appeared to be a double waterfall.

On top of Goðafoss, Iceland

It was incredibly icy around the waterfall & what amazes me is that nothing is stopping you going near the edge (not that I would, but some folks may).

Our Advice

Go for a 4×4 for the reasonable ground clearance it affords you. You can, of course, hire a 2-wheel drive vehicle, but you are not permitted to drive on ‘F’ roads and other tracks.

Our experience was that even access to certain Points of Interest along roads a regular 2-wheel drive wouldn’t get you there. Trust us.

Aldeyjarfoss or so we thought.

We decided to head down the 844/3 towards Aldeyjarfoss. The gravel road had beautiful views as it guided you along the banks of the fast-flowing river next to you.

The gravel road alongside route 842, Iceland

Unfortunately, the waterfall that we were trying to visit appeared to be down an impassable road. But hey ho, some you win, some you lose.

Looking across Svartárvatn lake, Iceland

However, we did reach Lake Svartárvatn, and in the distance, you could see the northern tongue of the glacier, Vatnajökull, which we had seen while in the south of the country.

On a need to know basis

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.

Mirror Lake

We more or less double backed on ourselves and headed up the 842, along the other side of the river.
 
Returning to the Ring Road we are then greeted by Ljósavatn Mirror Lake, another astonishing view.

Ljósavatn Mirror Lake, Iceland

Perhaps when the ice has melted, it lives up to its name.

Detour

It wouldn’t be the same if we stuck to the route. Branching north off the Ring Road we head up a gravel road to Grenivik. The roads are unbelievably quiet and clear of snow.

The harbour at Grenivik, Iceland

Grenivik, is a small working fishing village, with not much evidence of tourism, which makes it appealing.

Why not?

Start creating your own Icelandic adventure and discover the Northern Lights yourself, easyJet & British Airways are just a couple of options.

Laufás

We decided to go a slightly different route back south, heading in the direction of route 1.

The Laufás ancient farmhouse just outside Grenivik, Iceland

However, before getting there, we came across Laufás an ancient manor farm and rectory and now a museum.

Laufás, Iceland

Although the museum was closed, you were still able to wander around the grounds. The turf houses were fantastic, the buildings would have been for just one household and included their farmhands.

The rectory at Laufás , Iceland

Tempted to?

Discover Iceland’s enchanting Ring Road with its rugged landscape or the waterfalls and geysers around the Golden Circle for yourself. You can do it all on a road trip, SIXT car hire covers all budgets and only a five-minute shuttle bus from Keflavik airport.

Scoping out

Back onto the Ring Road, we travel south to Akureyri. Akureyri is bigger than I anticipated. However, it is Iceland’s second largest town, so it isn’t surprising.

The Sigling sculpture at Akureyri, Iceland
Akureyrarkirkja,  Akureyri, Iceland

We’re hoping it’s going to be another good evening for the Northern Lights. So, we pass through Akureyri and head north, to scope out the landscape for later.

A boat moored up in Hjalteyri harbour, Iceland

 
We find some potential spots, but we also come across another interesting little fishing village of Hjalteyri.

Looking across the harbour at Hjalteyri, Iceland

In search of

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.

No, go

Unfortunately, clouds came in, and the KP Index for the Northern Lights dropped, so not too lucky this evening.

Instead, we headed into town and had some freshly cooked fish and chips

Our route

The route that we took today included a mixture of roads, with a few deviations off Route 1, to visit some fishing villages and waterfalls.

In total, our journey was about 275km (171 miles) and with all the stops took us about 7 1/2 hours.

Where we stayed

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 areas in town of Akureyri require a parking disc. The hotel gave us a disc; however, it works on time restrictions. 

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 7
 
Janis; I really enjoyed discovering the little harbour villages, which were off the beaten track.
Gary; For me; the frozen lakes we say along the route. Looked great under the blue skies.

Inspired to visit Northern Iceland?

Tour the waterfalls and lakes around northern Iceland and visit the little harbour villages?

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Reykjahlíð to Akureyri, North Iceland

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Reykjahlíð to Akureyri, North Iceland was last modified: April 19th, 2018 by Janis