Back in December, I was lucky enough to visit North Iceland for the very first time and honestly, I can’t wait to go back! Even after all the beautiful pictures I’d seen and the incredible stories I’d heard, I still didn’t know what to expect… but as soon as we stepped off the plane, it quickly became clear just how special this trip was going to be.
Within the first couple of hours, I realised that there’s so much more to Iceland than what you’d first think… Of course there’s the Northern Lights (which are stunning!) and the exciting Arctic conditions, but I really couldn’t believe what else you could do there.
So with the once-in-a-lifetime trip now sadly behind me, I wanted to share my best experiences… although it was hard, here are my top 5!
1. Beer Spa
About a half an hour drive out of Akureyri is the Bjorbodin Beer Spa. At first, I didn’t think it was possible to combine the two, but I was pleasantly surprised…
When we got there, of course, we went straight to the bar for a pint of their Kaldi beer! We then got changed into our swimming costumes and braced the cold outside before jumping in the hot tubs. Surrounded by snow-covered mountains and sat by the Fjord, we sat here until our beer baths were ready.
Once they were ready, we were taken in and told all about the spa – you have your own little tub to yourself and you’re even encouraged to bathe naked! Once you’re in, you’ll be able to relax into the beer and take advantage of the tap beside you, topping your glass up as you please. The water you bathe in is a mixture of young beer, live beer yeast and hops – it’s great for the skin and has positive effects on your health too, so you’re advised not to shower after, for a couple of hours at least.
Afterwards, you’ll be able to chill out in their relaxation room, which is the perfect ending to a truly unique experience.
2. Super Jeep Tour
On our second day, we were met by Ásgeir who works for Geo Travel, the luxury tour operator of North Iceland. He had what I can only describe as a BEAST of a vehicle… a Super Jeep made by two different cars, requiring a step to even attempt to get in.
He took us round the Lake Myvatn area of North Iceland which is truly breathtaking – a completely unique landscape with lots of different terrains from ice to snow, water and rocks. This was just a walk in the park for Ásgeir , with his top driving skills and the HUGE tyres on the Super Jeep.
With your tour guide’s local knowledge, you can get a proper understanding of everything from the history and geography of Iceland to silly trivial things, such as their favourite Icelandic bands and what they like to have for dinner… you’ll feel like best friends after the trip!
Taking you around the main sights of the area, you’ll also visit all the hidden gems that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own – it’s a real special addition to the trip. One thing you will see is the pure pride they have for their country and it’s easy to understand why.
3. Snowmobiling through Lake Myvatn
Continuing our Super Jeep tour through Lake Myvatn, Geo Travel took us on a snowmobiling experience. We were taken out to the home of their beautiful huskies, which is where they keep their snowmobiles and where the dog-sledding experiences run from. As we got our snowmobiles ready, we used the opportunity to take some snaps of the adorable pups…
Once we’d brought ourselves back down to Earth from husky heaven, we hopped straight on the snowmobiles and went on our way. This was the perfect way to explore the landscape of Lake Myvatn… the sun was setting and the moon was shining bright in the sky – it was a really surreal moment!
We almost felt like we were on a completely different planet all together. Before heading back, we stood looking out to the sunset over Lake Myvatn and just listened… complete silence!
4. Snow-shoeing down to Dettifoss Waterfall
Last on our epic Super Jeep tour was visiting the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss. After a long journey into the wilderness, we finally arrived at the waterfall, jumped out and got into our snow-shoes.
We didn’t take the easy way down to the waterfall, so these were very much needed… Sliding down massive slopes and treading through the snow, our journey down to the waterfall was another incredible experience – the area was practically untouched. The only prints in the snow were from the last group Ásgeir had brought a couple of days prior.
We got closer and closer to the waterfall until we could go no more and it was easy to see why people call it The Beast – it was HUGE!
5. Whale Watching down the Fjord
Feeling very much blown away by everything we’d done, we didn’t think there was much more we could do… We were wrong.
Just before heading back to Akureyri Airport, we hopped on a boat for a spot of Whale Watching. After about half an hour travelling down the Fjord, we jumped into our overalls, got ourselves one of their signature hot chocolates (with a shot of rum!) and headed outside.
With the help of the crew onboard, we were on the lookout for whales all around the boat and it wasn’t long before they came to say hello. We got surprisingly close to the whales as they came to the top to catch some air before heading back down.
After an hour of bracing the cold outside, we began our return before a surprise visit from a pod of beautiful dolphins – the whole thing was a truly unique experience and the perfect ending to a perfect trip.
Looking for more Iceland inspiration?
- Life in Hot Water – The Geothermal Waters of North Iceland
- North Iceland – Land of the Firsts
- The Filming Locations of Iceland