Cruise to Akureyri, Iceland: Explore the European Arctic

Akureyri is one of the most beautiful and serene places in Northern Europe. Enveloped by snow-capped mountains, it sits on the edge of Iceland’s largest fjord and is considered Iceland’s “Capital of the North.” With its ice-free harbor, the town is a popular port and fishing center. A cruise to Akureyri is a wonderful alternative or complement to a trip to its southern sister city, Reykjavík.

Akureyri boasts a temperate climate, thanks to its unique geography, so it won’t get as cold as other towns at similar latitudes. Plus, this is an awesome place to see the Northern Lights.

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Top Attractions and Things to Do in Akureyri


The town is a haven for museum lovers and some highlights include the Akureyri Art Museum, Aviation Museum, and Nature Museum. One of the top things to do in Akureyri is to visit the Botanical Garden, which houses 7000 species of Icelandic plants across 3.6 hectares. The city center itself will leave you breathless with its small-town charm and whimsical buildings.

whale tail

Whale watching tour

A cruise to Akureyri wouldn’t be complete without a look at the Dettifoss and Gođafoss waterfalls and the Ásbyrgi Canyon. The city offers something to do in every season too. During the colder months, check out the Christmas House, go skiing, or take a Bjórböđin (beer bath). In nicer weather, try a horseback ride or whale-watching trip.

Best Akureyri Tips

Be sure to check out Lake Myvatn and the Nature Baths, where you can go for a dip in a geothermal lagoon. Also, the Akureyrarkirkja basalt church is nearly 80 years old and boasts a 3200-pipe organ and an old ship suspended from the ceiling.

A couple of must-try restaurants include Bautinn, where you can get traditional Scandinavian soup, and Götubarinn, a friendly pub that the locals frequent. While you’re there, treat yourself to Brennivin, the Icelandic schnapps. A cruise to Akureyri is a must-have on any Northern European cruise itinerary and will delight you any time of year.