With a population of almost 19,000, this breathtaking northern city is the second biggest one in Iceland. Akureyri is the perfect destination because some of the best attractions in Iceland are near this area. So it’s a great idea to spend 24 hours in Akureyri and its environs. Here are some recommendations to make the most of your time without having to run around in a hurry. I will also talk about the best activities you can do during winter and summer.
Summer Activities in Akureyri
Let’s start this list off with The Beer Spa. Wait, a beer spa? Yes, you read that right. There is a beer spa in Árskógssandur, a cute little village located about half an hour northwest of Akureyri. This magical and unique place has seven tubs filled with beer and hops (humulus lupulus). You will be able to soak in these tubs for 20 to 25 minutes and you can either do it on your own or accompanied by someone.
The benefits of soaking in beer are amazing for your skin, and your health in general. The amber liquid contains a large amount of vitamin B, which helps to improve and activate the immune system. It’s also said that it stimulates the circulatory system. It helps to battle aging of the skin and improves elasticity. This can help the appearance of wrinkles. Do not get me wrong though! They won’t disappear, but they will be less visible.
For younger visitors, bathing in beer is fabulous to make your acne disappear! With the natural, anti-bacterial properties of this popular drink, those annoying pimples will dry up, and they will stop using your body as their home sweet home. When visiting The Beer Spa, it’s recommended to avoid showering for at least an hour afterward in order to have the best results.
Whale Watching in Akureyri
Akureyri is a harbor city, so it is the perfect location to depart from and start your adventure! North Iceland is also the area of the island that many different species of whales frequent, including other cities like Húsavik. The wonderful Akureyri whale watching tour takes place within one of the longest fjords in Iceland (Eyjafjörður).
Whale watching is one of the most breathtaking experiences you can ever have. Spotting the biggest mammal on earth is just incredible. To enjoy this tour, simply visit any tourist information kiosk, and you will have plenty of options. The tours usually last 2-3 hours, and they can either take place on a regular boat or a speedboat.
Bird Watching and Puffins in Akureyri
You may have heard of the puffins, those cute little birds that look like a mix of penguin and duck (in my opinion). There are many places in Akureyri and its surroundings to go bird watching. There is easy access and plenty of beautiful trails that will lead you to their habitat. This lovely city is the perfect home for these little seabirds, as the Eyjafjörður fjord sits right in front of Akureyri. There is no age restriction for this tour so everyone can participate. It’s the perfect activity for a variety of tastes.
Winter Activities in Akureyri
Iceland’s Waterfall of the Gods – Goðafoss
This majestic and enormous waterfall is about 12 meters (40 feet) high and 30 meters (98 feet) wide. It’s located 30 minutes away from the harbor. It’s really something you shouldn’t miss, so grab your rental car and head towards the waterfall of the gods. This place is an integral part of Icelandic history and the story behind the waterfall’s name plays an important part in the country’s official conversion to Christianity. It became the official religion of Iceland in the year 1000.
Jólagarðurinn – Akureyri’s Christmas Garden
To finish out your 24 hours in Akureyri, nothing better than experiencing Christmas at any time of the year! I mean, who doesn’t love Christmas? Walking into this beautiful garden will conjure up all of those memories about the most special holiday of all.
The house is fully decorated from top to bottom. Everything is filled with the holiday spirit. There is music, lights; it even smells like Christmas! The owner is basically Santa, or at least that’s how I see him. He’s adorable, kind and magical. It makes you feel like you are a kid again!
You can also bring home some decoration and ornaments, that way next Christmas will remind you of your vacation to this magical Island.
A Stopover in Akureyri: Travel to Iceland’s Northern Capital
As you can see, there is a lot to do and see in Akureyri. A limited schedule will not stop you from enjoying this charming town. From stunning landscapes, wildlife and astounding waterfalls to countless amazing activities that are just around the corner. At the end of the day, with your heart filled with joy, you will be thankful you’ve spent 24 hours in Akureyri. It’s an experience that you will never forget.
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