Set your focus on the north of Iceland and discover a truly special place, known for its diverse, otherworldly landscapes and incredible photo opportunities. This is an official Arctic Coast Way tour!
North Iceland Coastal Charm is an official Arctic Coast Way tour, perfect for exploring Iceland’s first scenic byway! Stay in three amazing areas: Akureyri, the Troll Peninsula and Myvatn. Each area is filled with activities and culture so you can enjoy North Iceland’s brand of outdoor fun, spectacular scenery and local charm just south of the Arctic Circle. Discover amazing places such as Asbyrgi Canyon, the whale watching town of Husavik, history rich Skagafjordur, and scenic Siglufjordur. It’s easy to see why Lonely Planet rated the Arctic Coast Way as a Top European Destination in 2019.
- Want to experience the Arctic Coast Way scenic wonders with a Ring Road itinerary?
- Arriving from Copenhagen? This package is a great fit with Niceair flights to Akureyri!
- Traveling from Germany? Condor Air offers weekly flights from Frankfurt to Akuryeri!
What is The Arctic Coast Way?
The Arctic Coast Way opened in June 2019 as Iceland’s first scenic byway. Lonely Planet chose the Arctic Circle Way as one of its Top 2019 Destinations in Europe. This 900 km (559 mile) route follows the North Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic Circle and is ideal for people who enjoy taking their time while travelling.
- Discover the unforgettable natural wonders and dramatic scenery and charming villages of the Arctic Coast Way scenic byway
- Visit three charming towns, each with its own character and unique activities to enjoy: Husavik, Akureyri and Siglufjordur
- Discover the charming coastal culture of Eyjafjordur, Skagafjordur and the Troll Peninsula with stunning views of the sea and mountains that give you the sense of being on the edge of the earth
- Take amazing photos of impressive natural wonders such as Godafoss, Asbyrgi Canyon, Drangey Island, and the volcanic Lake Myvatn area
Inclusions & Extras
- Accommodation in a standard room for 5 nights
- Icelandic-style breakfast (except arrival day)
- Rental car for 5 days with unlimited mileage, CDW, theft protection and VAT
- Free in-car unlimited Wi-Fi to help you navigate with your personal mobile device
- Car pick up/drop off at Keflavik International Airport
- Authorization for two people to drive the rental car during your trip
- Our unique Iceland Travel App
- Customer care service during office hours
- 24-hour Iceland Travel emergency line assistance while you are in Iceland
- Service fee and taxes
- Breakfast on arrival day
- International airfare
- Airfare to/from Akureyri (bookable through Icelandair or Niceair)
- Hotel nights in Reykjavik (Iceland Travel can help arrange these for you)
- Transfer between accommodation and Hertz car rental on Day 2
- Personal travel insurance (highly recommended)
- Tolls (tunnels, roads and other route tolls), unless specified. More information here.
- Admissions, ski rentals, and activities other than those noted in itinerary
- Beverages, snacks, lunches, dinners unless otherwise noted in itinerary
- Guaranteed early check-in (check-in time for most hotels in Iceland starts 14:00 (2:00pm) – 16:00 (4:00pm)
- Guaranteed late check-out
- Any service not specifically listed under “Included”
Day 1 | Welcome to Akureyri!
Arrival in Akureyri, Iceland’s northern capital. (Flights to/from Akureyri are not included. Icelandair offers flights from Reykjavik. Niceair offers flights from Copenhagen. Condor Air offers flights from Frankfurt to Akureyri.) Transfer on your own to your accommodation in Akureyri.
If you arrive earlier in the day, you might enjoy a visit to the wonderful geothermal pool. The town’s pool features a variety of swimming pools and hot tubs, along with a steam room and swimming areas for children. It’s a great way to relax after a long trip, plus you’ll take part in a popular local activity. After your swim, do like the Icelanders do and enjoy a hot dog or an ice cream cone.
A great selection of restaurants and pubs makes Akureyri a great town for friendly nightlife.
Overnight in Akureyri.
Day 2 | The Volcanic Wonders of Lake Myvatn
105 km / 65 miles
Waterfall of the Gods – Volcanic Wonderland – Mysterious lava formations – “Martian” landscapes
Today you’ll start your exploration of North Iceland! On your own head to Akureyri airport to get your car. Transfers are not included, but cabs are plentiful. Begin with a drive through beautiful alpine scenery en route to Godafoss (the Waterfall of the Gods). Here glacial water thunders around surrounding lava to create a beautiful half-circle shaped cascade. Travel to the unforgettable Lake Myvatn area, a geological wonderland that includes the peculiar lava formations at Dimmuborgir, and the pseudo-craters at Skutustadir. Some of the most bizarre attractions in the region are the bubbling mud pits and vibrant colors of Namaskard geothermal area (it’s like walking on another planet – perhaps even Mars?) Looming over the area is Krafla, the volcano that created this bizarre wonderland and whose energy provides power and hot water to the region. Myvatn’ s fantastical landscapes have made it a filming location for the popular HBO Game of Thrones series, as well as several Hollywood movies (Star Wars, Oblivion, Fast and Furious).
A great evening activity is a visit to the Myvatn Nature Baths where you can relax in the azure blue waters in a tranquil wilderness setting. Restaurants in the area offer local specialties such as arctic charr, locally smoked lamb and geothermally baked rye bread.
Overnight in the Lake Myvatn area.
Please Note: The Ring Road route today contains a toll tunnel.
Husavik Silent Whale Watching (Carbon Neutral Tour)
Whale Watching from Husavik
Big Whale Safari and Puffins in RIB boats (from Husavik)
GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths in Husavik
Day 3 | Husavik – Asbyrgi Canyon – Akureyri
250 km / 155 miles
Whale Watching and Ocean Spa – Ancient Canyon – Magnificent Fjord Setting
We suggest you start your day with a visit to Husavik, a charming fishing town known for its great whale-watching opportunities (March – November). In addition to whale watching, you can enjoy Husavik’s relaxing GeoSea Baths. The baths are healthy and soothing geothermal ocean water, and the view over the Arctic Circle is beautiful. Most recently, the town gained international fame for its appearance in the 2020 Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. There is even a museum in town dedicated to Eurovision and its Icelandic performers.
Drive around the Tjornes peninsula to northern Vatnajokull National Park, where you can visit Asbyrgi, a magnificent horse-shoe shaped canyon. A series of trails leads to the canyon’s lake and scenic overlooks. (We also recommend visiting the park’s visitor center, which has great interactive information about the park and updates on the trail and road conditions.)
After your visit to Husavik and/or Asbyrgi, head back to Akureyri, the largest town and “capital” of North Iceland.
The rest of the day is open to enjoy Akureyri and surroundings. This town has gained an international reputation for its combination of small-town charm and a great cultural scene. Take a stroll down the art gallery street and catch the vibes of North Iceland’s creative culture at a coffee shop. Enjoy outdoor fun just on the town’s doorstep, including Ziplining, hiking trails and horseback riding.
The surrounding Eyjafjordur area has a nice focus on local food culture with microbreweries, family-run bakeries, ice cream shops and a cafe located on a dairy farm. Several farms in the area also offer guided farm visits where you’ll meet Icelandic sheep, goats and horses and even visit a reconstruction of an old-fashioned turf stable.
We definitely recommend visiting the enchanting Skogarbod (Forest Baths). These geothermal pools are surrounded by the soothing nature of Vadlaheidi. Relax in the warm water and enjoy the lovely views out over the forest and Eyjafjordur fjord.
Overnight in Akureyri area.
Late May/early June – Sep: If you have a vehicle 2.0 or higher, you might also consider visiting Dettifoss, Europe’s largest waterfall, by taking Roads 864 and 862. Visit Dettifoss, Asbyrgi Canyon, then head to Husavik via Road 85 and then on to Akureyri.
Roads 864 and 862 open in late May/early June, subject to weather conditions. Please note Roads 864 and 862 are gravel roads, and you must heed warning signs in the area if road conditions are not ideal for driving.
Please Note: The Ring Road route contains a toll tunnel.
Whale Watching from Dalvik
Day 4 | The Troll Peninsula
155 km / 96 miles
Scenic Coastal Roads – Charming Villages – Troll Peninsula – Historical Siglufjordur
Breakfast at your accommodation. You will be following scenic and winding coastal roads. Remember to listen to the weather forecast and take the driving at a slow pace, both to enjoy the view and to be safe. Drive along Eyjafjordur Fjord and to Trollaskagi, the Troll Peninsula and Siglufjordur Fjord overlooking the North Atlantic and nearby Artic Circle. Enjoy the views of steep mountains and the Arctic Ocean as you drive past through charming fishing villages en route to Siglufjordur. This town is considered one of Iceland’s most beautiful, with carefully preserved old houses and new buildings cleverly constructed to blend in with the historical architecture.
On the way, you might indulge in a visit to the one-of-a-kind Beer Bath Spa with a skin-soothing geothermal bath made from a mixture of beer, water, hops and yeast. Though this mixture is not drinkable, you can enjoy a glass or two of local craft beer while you bathe. (Please note the spa visit must be booked in advance). If you like quirky museums, visit Dalvik town’s wonderfully eclectic Hvoll Museum. Discover some local history, including the story of Iceland‘s most famous giant. Dalvik and the town of Hauganes are both great areas for enjoying a whale watching tour.
Siglufjordur is an excellent base to explore the area’s history and culture. The town’s award-winning Herring-Era Maritime Museum takes you back to the days of the early 20th century when a herring “gold rush” changed both Siglufjordur and Iceland. The town also offers an artisan chocolate shop, a family-owned microbrewery (Segull 66), and dining at several restaurants with a home-like ambience. If you’re into suspense and mysteries and saw the television series Trapped, you might recognize some of the buildings. Both seasons of the show were filmed in Siglufjordur.
After a day of unforgettable mountain views, return to Akureyri for the evening.
Overnight in the Akureyri area.
Day 5 | History, Heritage and Outdoor Fun on Top of the World
315 km / 196 miles
Peninsulas and Fjords – Saga Island – Local Heritage
Today is open for you to explore the Skagafjordur region, known for interesting historical sites and outdoor activities. If you’re interested in outdoor fun, you might enjoy horseback riding on a beach or in mountain-lined fields. Or perhaps you’ll like trying whitewater rafting on a glacial river.
If you enjoy history, we recommend Glaumbaer, an interesting turf manor house. Occupied between the 18th century and the 1940s, Glaumbaer is now a museum showing how rural Icelanders lived. The building was an inspiration for the manor farm in Hannah Kent’s famous novel Burial Rites.
We also suggest a visit to the 1238: Battle of Iceland exhibit in Saudarkrokur town. Innovative virtual reality transports you into the past and the fateful Battle of Orlygsstadir, part of a fateful civil war (The battlefield is located in North Iceland).
Drangey is the legendary hideout of the Viking saga outlaw, Grettir the Strong. Between mid-May and August, you can take a guided boat tour out to Drangey. The tour departs from Saudarkrokur town’s harbor. Take a boat to Drangey Island, then hike with your guide to the top of the island on a trail bringing you into good viewing of seabirds, including puffins (Puffins best seen mid-May to early August).
If you are interested in Icelandic handicrafts, the Tannery Visitor Centre is a unique Icelandic tannery (also in in Saudarkrokur) that includes fish skin among its quality products. The center is open weekdays 8:00 – 16:00 (8:00 am – 4:00 pm).
Holar community has interesting buildings of religious and historical significance reflecting 900 years of Icelandic history, including a beautiful church. Don’t forget to visit the Icelandic Horse History Center (Skagafjordur is known for its excellent horses).
If you want to enjoy a swim with a great view, visit the Hofsos Swimming Pool (the locals call it the “Infinity Pool.”). This public swimming pool is set up with an optical illusion. It seems to extend forever into the ocean and has fantastic views of Drangey Island.
After a day of explorations, head to Akureyri for a final evening in the charming northern capital.
Overnight in Akureyri.
Day 6 | Farewell to the North
Breakfast at your accommodation. Drop off your car at Akureyri airport before your flight. We suggest departing your hotel no later than 60 minutes before your flight.**
**Please note that the package price is based on 5 x 24-hour rental days starting at the time of picking up your car. If your flight to Akureyri arrives early on day 1 and departs late on day 6, you will be charged a supplement for the additional day.
We are more than happy to include a flight quote separately to your package so that you can decide if you would like to book with us or on your own. While booking flights can seem straight-forward, there are often hidden fees or classes of service that do not include seat assignments, meals or checked bags. We have been booking flights since 1985 and know the best routings and have great contracts that mean we often have better prices than what you will see online.
In Iceland, we generally try to book hotels that are at a 4 star level or higher. In some situations, we will book some 3 star or B&B properties but we do require them to be at a certain standard. We try to ensure a member of the team have stayed at each property in recent years or that we have done a site inspection.
Your first vacation quote, and up to two revisions, for trips of 9 or fewer days, and 45 days in advance of travel, are complimentary. If an itinerary requires further revisions subsequent to this, we will require a non-refundable deposit of $75 per person in order to continue.
If you are requesting a quote for a vacation that is 10 days in length, or with travel dates within 45 days, or to a non-core destination, a deposit of $75 per person will be required in order for us to begin working on your proposal.
Planning deposits can then be put towards the cost of the trip should you decide to proceed with the booking.