Reykjavík & Akureyri in 4 days
Explore and enjoy the two largest cities in Iceland: 4 day self drive
If you are planning a self drive in Iceland and need ideas for a route, then the northern coast is a lovely choice. You can either pick up your car at Keflavik airport or choose to fly from Reykjavik to Akureyri and pick up your rental car there. The northern coast has many gems so you could spend days there but here we suggest a 4 day self drive route of the area
THE 5 DAY ITINERARY
Day 1 – Arrive in Keflavik Airport, Overnight Stay in Reykjavik
When you arrive at Keflavik international airport, either take a taxi or the Flybus to Reykjavik where you spend the night. The domestic airport is in the city center and easy to get to. Here we suggest you fly from Reykjavik to Akureyri where you pick up your rental car but of course you can opt to pick up your car in Keflavik and drive from there to Akureyri (takes around 6 hours when road conditions are optimal and with 1-2 stops on the way).
They day you spend in Reykjavik, make the most of it and get to know the city a bit. Here you can find a few ideas what to see and do. There are many lovely restaurants in the center that we advice you to check out. Here is a list of our favorite places.
Day 2 – Depart from Reykjavik. Local Flight to Akureyri
In the morning, take a taxi to the domestic airport and fly to Akureyri where you will pick up your rental car.
When you arrive in Akureyri have have gotten the keys to your rental car, your adventure of the northern coast will begin. Akureyri itself has a lot to offer so we recommend you spend the day in the city, exploring and enjoying everything it has to offer.
In summer the Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to visit. There you will find a unique collection of Icelandic flora and fauna along with imported flowers, trees and shrubs. In winter it is also worth visiting on a nice winter day.
In Akureyri you will find various museums, such as the Akureyri Museum and the Aviation Museum. The Akureyri Museum contains will give you a good overview of the life and history of the area. There you will also find a garden that is a popular picnic spot among the locals. The Aviation Museum is where you will find the history of aviation in Iceland.
Gasir, a medieval trading place, is an interesting site to visit. It is where you can find the remains of a trading post from the Middle Ages. It was the main trading post in Northern Iceland before so here you get a true taste of history!
The church in Akureyri is a site worth visiting. It is symbolic for the town and is known for its many steps. It is a Lutheran church that has great architecture designed by Gudjon Samuelsoon. The stained glass in the center and the bas-reliefs on the nave balcony are just some of its great features that people look at.
Source: Jennie Faber
You spend the night in Akureyri at the end of day 2. You can find many nice hotels and guesthouses in and around the city. Just boo in advance as Akureyri is a popular vacation site among locals, both in winter and summer.
Day 3 – Skiing and relaxing
Akureyri is one of the most popular places for locals to go skiing. So if you visit in winter, the northern lights aren´t the only attraction. No need to mention but if you are in Akureyri during winter then you should for sure put aurora hunting on your list every night.
Eyjafjordur Fjord is one of the best places in the country to do downhill skiing. You can go to the skiing area of Mt. Hlídarfjall or Mountain Kaldbakur, and you can also opt to drive out of Akureyri to Trollaskagi or Dalvik where you will find splendid skiing sites. If you aren´t into skiing then you should do a tour of the area with an experienced guide or in summer simply just drive around and enjoy the amazing views.
Source: Michael Voelker
To go swimming is a must. All pools are heated by natural geothermal water and has various playing and recreation areas for everyone. You will find great pools in the area and it doesn´t matter whether you go during winter or summer, the water is warm so you don´t need to worry that you´ll get cold even though the pools are outdoors!
Day 4 – Sightseeing and Whale Watching
In the morning one option is to take the sightseeing tours, either by plane or helicopter, if you want to see Akureyri and surroundings from above. It is a nice option as you can see sites that aren´t always accessible on land, like Askja.
Source: Bernt Rostad
In the afternoon you can join a whale watching tour either from Akureyri or from Dalvík. The northern coast is optimal for whale watching but please note that the whale watching tours don´t operate during the winter months. If you want to go whale watching in winter, then you must depart from the harbor in Reykjavik. In the evening, fly back to Reykjavik.
Source: Julien Carnot
Day 5 – Blue lagoon and departure day
If your flight leaves in the afternoon, it is ideal to enjoy the morning in Reykjavik and then head to the Blue lagoon where you can soak and relax before you go to the airport. The lagoon is close to Keflavik airport so it is an ideal last stop on your journey.
This route is just an idea so you can enjoy in only a few days what those two cities have to offer. Of course you can expand the tour or make it shorter. Also add D-tours to the route, like Lake Mývatn, Ásbyrgi and Húsavík. What ever you decide to do, it is certain you will enjoy the wonderful two cities and their surroundings.