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