Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri

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We Explored The Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri

On our Nordic Cruise with Oceania Cruises, we explored the sights in North Iceland from Akureyri. We saw the first of the waterfalls in Iceland at Godafoss. And learned more about the volcanic and geothermal nature of Iceland as we wandered around the Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters, Dimmuborgir Lava Fields and Namafjall Geothermal Field.

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Landed At Akureyri

After a great day in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands, we headed north. It was a calm trip across the North Sea to the north coast of Iceland. Our first stop in Iceland was in Akureyri.

We travelled along the Eyjafjörður Fjord to reach the port. This fjord was one of the longest in Iceland. Clouds lay low on the sides of the hills. It reminded us of our travels along the fjords of Norway earlier on this trip.

Akureyri was a small town. But still the largest town in the north and an important port and fishing centre. We were docked in town. So it was easy to leave the ship. An early departure heralded an exciting day as we explored North Iceland from Akureyri.

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Thundering Godofoss Waterfall

Iceland was the land of stunning waterfalls. So it was perfect to start our day at the Godafoss Waterfall.

It was less than an hour to drive from Akureyri to Godafoss. Godafoss was an Icelandic word that meant “Waterfall of the Gods.” Folklore said that 1,000 years ago an Icelandic chieftain threw statues of the Norse gods into the water to symbolically demonstrate Iceland’s conversion to Christianity.

We were dropped off at the information centre. And had about 90 minutes to explore on our own. We heard the waterfall roar in the distance and headed that way. Godafoss fell over 40 feet (12m) and covered a width of about 100 feet (30m). That first view was quite amazing.

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We took in the view. And then David wandered down the steep path to the lower levels under the waterfall. It was a great spot to really feel the roaring water. It was a bit strange to get so close without a safety barrier.

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Godafoss Waterfall - Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri.jpg

As we walked along the Skjalfandafljot River, we saw the water as it continued to move fast through the craggy valley.

Skjalfandafljot River Godafoss Waterfall - Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri.jpg

Skjalfandafljot River Godafoss Waterfall.jpg

Skjalfandafljot River Godafoss Waterfall - Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri.jpg

We must admit that we were a bit jaded when it came to waterfalls. Niagara Falls in Canada was an amazing waterfall. And an easy day trip from Toronto for us at home. But it was still fun to see the thundering Godafoss Waterfall. A great first stop as we explored the sights in North Iceland from Akureyri.

Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters

Iceland had extensive volcanic and geothermal sights. Our stop at the Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters gave us our first view.

We saw the ring of craters when we arrived. The coastline around these craters was a National Monument. These Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters were formed by steam explosions when burning lava hit lakes or wetlands.

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Dressed for the rain, we walked around the closest pseudo crater and got a closer look. Grass covered much of the crater. And small flowers thrived in the volcanic soil.

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Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters - Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri.jpg

Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters.jpg

Our stop at the Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters was interesting. And yet another view of North Iceland from Akureyri.

Dimmuborgir Lava Fields

We continued on to our next stop to see another volcanic area. The lava formations at Dimmuborgir were created more than 2,000 years ago. The large eruption in the Þrengslaborgir and Lúdentsborgir crater row created this area of hardened lava lakes, natural arches, pillars and craggy grottoes.

The visitor centre at Dimmuborgir Lava Fields was above the main attraction. So our first view of the full volcanic field from above was quite stunning. In the distance, we got a view of the the Hverfjall volcano crater.

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There were a series of walking paths through the Dimmuborgir Lava Fields. The main path was paved. But smaller, more difficult hiking paths were marked. The soil was highly subject to erosion and the rocks were quite brittle. So it was important to not wander off the paths.

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Dimmuborgir Lava Fields - Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri.jpg

Dimmuborgir Lava Fields.jpg

We only had time to take the easy, short path. The pillars of lava towered above us. In places we saw caves and arches. It was a fascinating walk.

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Dimmuborgir Lava Fields - Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri.jpg

Dimmuborgir Lava Fields.jpg

The Dimmuborgir Lava Fields were an interesting addition to our view of the extensive volcanic sights in Iceland. And definitely something we were glad we saw as we explored the sights in North Iceland from Akureyri. But there was much more to discover on the longer hikes.

Namafjall Geothermal Field

Our final stop this day provided our first view of the geothermal activity in Iceland. The Namafjall Geothermal Field was a barren field of gurgling sulfur cauldrons and boiling mud pits. In contrast to the black volcanic fields of our early stops, the view before us was a colourful mix of textures.

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The temperature of the water exceeded 400℉ (200℃) deep in the earth. But the water was still very hot when it bubbled up. The fumarole gas that came with the steam resulted in that characteristic rotten egg smell. As we moved about the site, we tried to stay upwind of the steam plumes.

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Namafjall Geothermal Field - Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri.jpg

As we returned to the bus, we were treated to the sight of a rainbow over the hills. A great way to finish our tour of the sights of North Iceland from Akureyri.

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A Second Northern Port Stop At Isafjordur

Our second stop on the northern coast of Iceland was the next day in Isafjordur. There were several excursions available for this port.

We really wanted to see the Dynjandi Waterfall with the seven cascades that caused it to be called “The Thunderer”. Our second choice was a trip to the island of Vigur to see puffins. But both of these tours were all booked up! So we booked a day trip to the abandoned village of Hesteyri. The trip along the Jökulfirdir Fjord was supposed to be beautiful with impressive, steep snow-capped mountains and quiet, secluded coves.

But we learned when we boarded the ship that the trip to Hesteyri was cancelled. So we booked instead to go whale watching for humpback and minke whales. But weather concerns caused that trip to be cancelled as well.

So instead we planned a quiet day onboard the ship. We looked off in the distance and saw the small town. With rough seas even in the bay, we chose not to take the tender boat to the dock in Isafjordur.

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Isafjordur Nautica Anchored - Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri.jpg

Our port stop in Isafjordur was a reminder that sometimes your plans changed a lot over the course of a cruise.

Happy We Saw The Sights In North Iceland From Akureyri

Our first stop to see North Iceland from Akureyri provided us with such stunning sights. It was a short introduction to the great waterfalls and volcanic sights we found as we travelled around Iceland.

We were sad we missed seeing more on our stop in Isafjordur. But we enjoyed a relaxing day on the ship.

We visited Iceland in mid-August and missed the chance to see the Northern Lights. We heard the first sighting happened a few weeks after we returned home. But it meant that we will definitely return to Iceland to see the great light show.

We left Iceland after our stop in Isafjordur. We had a few days at sea as we headed to our stops in Greenland. But after Greenland, we returned and found more stunning sights in Iceland. And on our stay in Reykjavik we explored so much more of Iceland than we expected to!

Have you explored the sights in North Iceland From Akureyri?  What did you see in that part of Iceland?

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Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!


  1. The Thundering Godofoss Waterfall looks pretty epic. I’d definitely want to walk to the bottom as well and feel the power of mother nature – but not get too close! Exploring the Geothermal Field would be awesome, once you can get past the sulphuric rotten egg smell. It’s always fascinating to imagine how the landscape looked thousands or even millions of years ago. Such a shame your last few tours were cancelled, but it’s just not worth risking it if the weather isn’t good.

  2. Only been to Iceland once, and it was the south side I saw. And I must say, it looked awfully like your north side photos. Waterfalls, hiking trails, and lava fields. The difference that strikes me is the lava formations seem much more dramatic in your photos than the more-flat southern fields. I also have never seen a Geothermal Field like you described – I wonder if geothermal activity is stronger in the north. One thing I must say—the waterfalls are more dramatic in the south, so next time I’ll go north and see the geothermal activity, and you go south and see the waterfalls. Cheers.

    • Tom, We were glad we got to see these sites in the North. They did inspire us to visit much more of the natural beauty of Iceland. But even with more days in the south, we did not see it all. Definitely need to go back! Linda

  3. As i scroll from top to bottom while reading eventually the colours of the pictures turned from blue to green to brown an interesting transition as i just observed. This is quite interesting to know about volcanic and geothermal nature of Iceland. Skjalfandafljot River looks so rugged and wild. Iceland definitely is mysteriously beautiful

    • Debjani, We were indeed fascinated by the vast colour differences between and within sites. All so rugged and beautiful. A great first stop for us. Linda

  4. Your article couldn’t have appeared at a better time. My wife and I have just been discussing going to Iceland for my 50th birthday so your article has provided me with even more motivation. I can’t wait to see all the amazing waterfalls and the black beaches. That was a bit of a shame you missed out on a second day on the island. Good luck spotting the northern lights on your return, we will definitely travel at a time when you can see them.

    • Matt, I am glad this post was timely for you. Iceland is a real treat and a great birthday trip. Watch the blog for the rest of our Iceland posts coming. We had an amazing 3 days out of Reykjavik and saw so much. But we still missed the Northern Lights. So we will definitely return! Linda

  5. This is the 2nd post on Fjords and Scandinavia that I am reading. And you can imagine how the urge to get there is getting stronger. I would love to see those stunning waterfalls like Godofoss Waterfall. Interesting to note the legend of them throwing away the Norse Gods there. The geo thermal fields are quite interesting to explore. In some way, it might have been a bit of a respite from the chill (or am I wrong here)

    • Ami, I do hope you get to schedule a trip to Iceland. It certainly was one of our treats last year. Our first visit here in the north certainly excited us to see more when we finally hit southern Iceland. The weather in August was cool but not cold. And we were dressed for it. The bigger issue with the thermal areas was staying out of the stink! Linda

  6. We didn’t make it to the north during our Iceland trip and reading this makes me want to return. The falls and the terrain are so remote yet picturesque. I really like the landscape at Isafjordur; it’s also amazing you got that magnificent rainbow in shot too!

  7. Godafoss has such a lovely meaning! I can totally understand why the waterfall is called so. It is breathtakingly beautiful. I enjoyed reading about your trip in North Iceland. I can understand your feeling about waterfalls after seeing the Niagara just near your home. But I love waterfalls and do wish to see the Niagara once in my lifetime. The Pseudo craters and lava fields looks interesting as well. Loved the photographs!

    • Amrita, I do hope you get to visit Canada one day and see Niagara Falls. Each time we visit we get another treat. It certainly prepared us for the amazing waterfalls we found in Iceland. Linda

  8. What a strange and eerie scenery! The colours and the rock formations are extraordinary. I intend to spend a bit of time in Europe in the next few years (when the borders open again…) and Iceland is firmly on my list. I hope to see the northern lights too!

    • Delphine, I hope you do get to visit Iceland. It was on our travel wish list for a long time. And it did not disappoint. More posts coming to tease you! Linda

  9. So much to love about Iceland, the waterfalls, lava fields and geysers are incredible. I missed Godofoss Waterfall. When I visited. It looks so powerful, Waterfall of the Gods is fitting for sure. Dimmuborgir Lava Fields looks interesting to me. I have not visited a lava field that has vegetation. It’s truly beautiful

    • Sherianne, We were fascinated by our first stop in Iceland. So much variety in the sights. It certainly prepared us to see more when we hit the south of Iceland. Linda

  10. Wow what amazing sights you had in North Iceland from Akureyri. Your first glimpse of the waterfalls in Iceland at Godafoss makes me mad for this place. I always knew Iceland had many volcanic and geothermal sights and that is why I am interested to visit this place as I have not been to such volcanic or geothermal sights. Your stop at the Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters looks wonderful. Though it looks silent & peaceful but so much thermal energy is stored here. And after that you saw so many wonderful rings of craters. Iceland is really gift of nature.

    • Yukti, Our day trip from Akureyri was certainly an amazing introduction to the outdoor beauty that Iceland offers. Each site was just a little different. But equally as interesting. I hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  11. I have been so jealous of the North Iceland pictures I have seen on Instagram recently and I now with your post, I have Iceland on my radar, possibly the first place I need to visit this Summer. The Thundering Godofoss Waterfall looks absolutely stunning. Any recommendation for a luxury hotel close to this place? I know you were on Oceanic cruise.

    • I hope you do get to visit Iceland this year when it opens up! There is so much to see in the north and the south. We did not yet check out luxury hotels for a return visit. If you do go and find one, send me an email and let me know for our future planning. Linda

  12. Iceland has been on my radar for quiet sometime now. With the pictures that I have seen on Instagram and reading your post, it is likely going to be the first place I visit when this travel ban is over. The Thundering Godofoss Waterfall looks absolutely stunning too.

  13. Iceland is high on my list to get to in both the summer and the winter! Godafoss has been on my list, but not the lava fields so I think I’m going to have to add them. Every time I’ve been on a cruise and one of my excursions was whale watching, it got cancelled due to weather, but I think that would be so amazing! How did you like the boat you were on?

    • Lia, I do hope you get to visit the north of Iceland. It was a great first stop. And prepared us for what we would see when we went south. We loved the cruise boat we were on. It was under 700 people. So tours in smaller places were manageable. And there was lots to see from the ship. Linda

  14. I have not visited Iceland yet. The sights of North Iceland look simply breathtaking. I love the picture of the Godafoss waterfall! I am bookmarking your blog for my future visit. 🙂

    • Jan, I hope you get to visit Iceland. It was on our travel wish list for some time. This first stop in the north just got me excited to see more when we finally hit the south of Iceland. So many amazing sights of natural beauty. Linda

  15. Iceland is such a beautiful country. Really hoping to get to visit in the next few years once we start doing some more international travel. The geothermal fields are such a unique place, so I’m penning them into our future itinerary.

  16. Such stunning pictures. This does look like a place of waterfalls. Godafoss waterfall looks gorgeous. North or South Iceland, everywhere it is blessed with natural beauty. The geofield activity has made me curious. And that rainbow was love. I would love to make this visit a part of cruise trip.

    • Manjulika, I hope you get to visit Iceland one day. This first stop in Northern Iceland was a treat. And really prepared us for our further travels in Iceland when we got south. More to come!! Linda

  17. I love Iceland’s diversity – it looks like such a great place! We keep talking about going, but haven’t made it yet. Its clear from your post that there are so many great things to see out in nature!

    • Jenn, We were so glad when we finally made it to Iceland. It was on our list forever. We started in this north spot and then moved south. So many awesome spots to visit. Hope you get to put it on the list. Linda

  18. Iceland is high on my bucket list, for sure! It’s a photographers paradise isn’t it! I hadn’t actually heard about the Namafjall Geothermal Fields before now! Although it makes sense that somewhere like Iceland would have geo activity like this! Thanks for a great read, as usual.

    • Roger, I am glad you enjoyed this blog post. We have a few more coming up so watch for those on the southern areas. I hope you get to Iceland when it opens up. It may be less busy so that would be great for seeing the sights. Linda

  19. What an amazing place! I am always fascinated by anywhere with volcanic activity, seeing the power of the earth in action just blows my mind! It is so alien to where I grew up near London. I am so sorry to hear that all the excursions on your second day were booked or cancelled as I wanted to hear about all of them! Clearly it was not to be & I always see this as a reason to return. I am hoping to get to this part of the world next year (should have been in May but cancelled), now I can’t wait!

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