*In collaboration with Icelandair & North Iceland
North Iceland may just be the most enchanting place I’ve ever traveled to. As I’ve noted earlier this year, travelling to Iceland is like travelling to another planet and this thought only got stronger. We flew from Helsinki to Reykjavik with Icelandair and connected to Akureyri on Air Iceland.
There is so much to see and explore in North Iceland, but here are the ten most unforgettable experiences from our trip to this fabulous part of the planet.
1. Whale safari in Dalvik
Iceland might just be the best place for a whale safari and the rumor has it there is no place like Dalvik. Arctic Sea Tours took us on a little adventure on rib boat around the Atlantic shore. Riding the waves on the rib boat was already fun enough, but nothing takes your breath away like suddenly being surrounded by a pod of 15 humpback whales.
In Dalvik it’s pretty much 100% that you’ll see some whales on your safari and we were lucky to spot close to 50 on our tour. In addition to humpback whales, we also spotted some white arctic dolphins. If you are really lucky, you may also encounter pods of wild orcas.
There’s seriously nothing more beautiful than seeing whales in their natural habitat.
2. Goðafoss waterfall
Iceland is known for its fabulous waterfalls and the Goðafoss waterfall might just be one of the most amazing sights of the country. The water falls from Skjálfandafljót river, 12 meters high and 30 meters wide. The name of the waterfall means the waterfall of gods. And if these photos don’t already explain it to you, take a look in here. Based on the photos behind the link, the waterfall might be at its best during the coldest winter days.
3. Horseback riding tour
As a horse girl, riding an Icelandic horse is the top priority on my bucket list. Unfortunately, after a severe horse riding accident in 2008, I am no longer able to get on a horse. BUT, I’m on a mission to heal enough to get back on the saddle in a year and then hope to finally cross this experience off my list!
Luckily though, on this trip, we still got to visit a horse farm and I got to cuddle with these fluffy things at Lýtingsstaðir horse farm.
4. Hofsós infinity pool at sunset
Do you know those little moments in life when you just stop and wonder how did you even get here? As the sun was setting over the mountains on the coves of the Atlantic Ocean and I was laying in an infinity pool among the mountains – I could not even believe my eyes. Across the cove swam a humpback whale, followed by a white arctic dolphin jumping its way through the sun rays dancing on the clear blue sea. It was like a fairytale.
The pool itself is rather average, but the view at sunset perhaps the most stunning one out there.
5. Beer spa
Is there anything better after a long day than a bucket of beer? Well, I’m more of a wine person but would never say no for a beer spa. Located in Árskógssandur, the beer spa only opened its doors this summer. The facilities were stylish and modern, out in the wilderness of nature. First, we jumped into our personal beer buckets in private rooms and got to drink as much beer as we wanted from our tabs next to the tubs. I mean, what more can you ask of life? Not much more. Apparently, the yeast in beer is really good for your skin and they don’t even recommend you to shower for a few hours after. So casually soaked in beer, we moved upstairs in the relaxation room before continuing our journey onwards.
6. Deep in the canyons: Hljóðaklettar
Hljóðaklettar is a cluster of columnar rock formations standing at the entrance to Vesturdalur. This landscape reminded me more of a set of The Land Before Time movie and I was expecting to spot some dinosaurs along the way – without any luck, unfortunately (or fortunately?).
The road (862) to Hljóðaklettar is closed in winter.
7. The most powerful waterfall in Europe: Dettifoss
Dettifoss is 45 meters high and 100 meters wide and also known as the most powerful waterfall in the whole of Europe. And boy can you sense the power standing right next to it. There is a great 34 km hiking route that starts from Dettifoss and goes onto Asbyrgi.
8. The clean local flavors of North Iceland
The food in Iceland tastes so fresh and pure that in just a few days I feel like I’m loaded with nutrients for the rest of the year. The food from the untouched nature and local organic meals are out of this world. Iceland is all about fresh fish, but this trip came with some unexpected flavors – such as rotten shark, foal, and puffin.
How about some baby horse for lunch? The lunch at KK was unreal.
9. Námafjall and its mud pots
Námafjall is a volcanic mountain in Hvevir. The geothermal area at the foothills of the mountain offers an experience similar to travelling in Mars (not that I’ve been recently). Námaskarð and its mud pods and craters are out of this world. As North Iceland website describes it; “Námaskarð earns its notoriety chiefly because of its sulphurous mud springs called solfataras and steam springs called fumaroles. Though you will scarcely find any pure water spring in this wonderful geothermal site of Iceland, the beauty of the colorful minerals defies all comparisons. The gigantic size of the mud craters is what makes you go ‘wow’ at the sight of them.”
10. Northern lights and The Herring Era Museum at Siglufjörður
At first, I did not get too excited when I knew we will be visiting a herring museum in Iceland. As a person who is not interested in museums, the idea was as boring as it gets. But who knew, The Herring Era Museum in Siglufjörðuri was the most exciting museum I’ve visited – and I have been to a sex museum in Amsterdam, I’m just saying.
We spent the night at a Sigló Hótel in Siglufjörðuri and got to enjoy northern lights at night.