Akureyri

Skjálfandafljót waterfall
Lake Myvatn’s waters
Skutustaðir pseudo-craters

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Akureyri

The defeat of Odin and Thor

When you set ashore from your cruise ship for a vacation in Akureyri, you should take an excursion to Lake Myvatn. To get there you will pass through Eyjafjördur, where you can enjoy a splendid view of the city port.
The first worthy stopover is in Godafoss, here the waters if the Skjálfandafljót form a 12 meter tall waterfall. According to the legend, in the year 999 or 1000, one of the Icelandic rulers proclaimed Christianity as the official religion of Iceland and hurled the idols of the Nordic gods (Odin, Thor and Freyr, to which probably the waterfall was previously dedicated) in its waters.

A stained glass window of the church of Akureyri (Akureyrarkirkja) depicts this legend. As you continue along the Icelandic wild nature, with its incredible variety of colours, varying from the bright green meadows to the red minerals erupting from the depths of the island, one reaches the pseudo-craters of Skutustaðir, generated by underground vapours produced by an eruption 2500 years ago.

From here one can reach Dimmuborgir, an incredible labyrinth of lava, where amidst peculiar formations rises the Kirkjan, a natural church with two pointed-arch portals and, inside, real chapels with altars. You can end your visit at the Viti crater, known also as the Inferno, one of the many mouths of the central Krafla volcano.

If you feel like tackling the steep climb from its internal lake, you can also enjoy a relaxing hot bath. Here you will also find the Askja, an immense caldera that extends for 50 sq.km., a desert of lava and the finest sand resembling moon dust: this in fact was where the astronauts of the Apollo 11 trained for their lunar landing.

Before returning to Akureyri, if you feel curious, you can stop to visit Santa Clause’s house, about ten kilometres south, a delightful Christmas toy shop, with the largest Advent calendar in the world.

Must see places in Akureyri

  • The craters at Skutustadir  or Lake Myvatn

    The craters at Skutustadir or Lake Myvatn

  • The Waterfalls of the Gods /Godafoss

    The Waterfalls of the Gods /Godafoss

  • Akureyri buildings

    Akureyri buildings

Discover our excursions

8 results found

  • HERRING HEYDAYS

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    AKU08

    On leaving the port of Akureyri, a comfortable coach will take you up along the scenic coastal road towards Iceland’s northernmost settlement, the small town of Siglufjörður, which was a boomtown for the herring industry in its mid-20th-century heyday. On the way, you will stop in Dalvik to visit the Hvoll Heritage Museum, after which there will be a photo opportunity in the scenic setting provided by Hédinsfjörður. Continuing via Ólafsjörður, you will then reach Siglufjörður for a delicious light lunch in a harbour-side restaurant. The award-winning “Herring Era Museum” is next for a chance to enjoy an entertaining and energetic demonstration of the ancient art of salting and packing herrings, as delivered by a team of highly dexterous “herring girls” under the watchful eye of the manager. Also on the itinerary is some enjoyable ring dancing to the lively sounds of accordion music, plus an opportunity to sample some traditional rye bread, local herring and a shot of authentic Icelandic schnapps. A short introduction to the history of the herring fishing industry will be followed by some time to explore the museum’s three buildings on your own. To cap off your tour, a stop will also be made at the island’s Folk Music Centre on your way back to Akureyri and your ship. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. Most of the sites have ramps for wheelchair users though they cannot visit all parts of the Herring Museum, the Folk Music Centre and the Hvoll Museum. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • Snack included

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      6 h

  • BEAUTY & LANDSCAPES OF THE NORTH

    NATURAL WONDERS

    AKU03

    Legends, lava landscapes and lakes… come and experience Iceland’s unique scenery of surreal volcanic fields and magical cascading waterfalls. Leave the pier and drive to Godafoss, the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’ to admire the impressive falls and learn about the history of this site. The origins of this spectacular spot date back to 1,000 AD when a senior chieftain, Thorgeir, upon converting to the Christian faith, was compelled to hurl his Pagan god carvings into the waterfall. More natural treasures are in store are Lake Myvatn, one of Iceland’s most geologically interesting lakes, due to its particularly shallow waters and rich nutrients that attract diverse flora and fauna. We will admire the craters at Skutustadir and the magnificent surrounding lava landscape with its strange formations, columns and arches. Another highlight of the tour will be the geothermal field, full of mud-pots, steam vents, sulphur deposits, boiling springs and fumaroles. Enjoy a short sightseeing tour of Akureyri before returning to the port. Lunch included. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. Water included in the lunch; additional drinks to be paid on the spot.
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      7 h

  • MYVATN NATURE BATHS

    NATURAL WONDERS

    AKU04

    Located in the heart of northeast Iceland about 105 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, Lake Myvatn and its surroundings are among Europe’s greatest natural treasures. You will admire the scenery around this exceptionally shallow lake which was formed by millennia of repeated volcanic eruptions which lend the area its surreal quality characterised by lava landscapes, crater formations and sulphur-streaked mountains. At the Myvatn Nature Baths, opened in 2004, you can literally immerse yourself in the scenery as you take a relaxing dip in the clouds of steam that rise from a fissure deep in the earth’s surface. The warm waters will soothe both your spirit and your skin, in what will be truly unique and reviving experience. On our return to Akureyri we will stop for photos at the spectacular Godafoss cascade, the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. For reasons of hygiene and in line with local customs, it is compulsory to take a shower without swimwear before entering the lagoon. Separate dressing rooms and showers for men and women. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made. There are ramps at the Nature Baths that lead down to the bathing area but no lifts available.
    • Possibility of swimming

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      5 h

  • THE WATERFALL OF THE GODS & LAUFAS MUSEUM

    NATURAL WONDERS

    AKU01

    Leave the pier for a short transfer to Godafoss, “the Waterfalls of the Gods”, which at 12 metres high is one of the most spectacular falls in Iceland. The origins of this legendary spot date back to 1.000 AD when a senior chieftain, Thorgeir, upon converting to the Christian faith, was compelled to hurl his Pagan god carvings into the waterfall. This is an ideal spot to take photos of the falls and the surrounding scenery. Next stop is the Laufas Folk Museum, originally as manor farm and vicarage and which dates back to 1866. The museum contains period domestic and agricultural tools. Return to Akureyri for a short visit to the Botanical Gardens that contain display of high-latitude and high-altitude plants from around the world. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

  • WHALE WATCHING EXPERIENCE

    NATURAL WONDERS

    AKU10

    Iceland has earned itself a rightful name as a prime European location for whale watching and the port of Akureyri is one of the country’s very best spots for sighting marine mammals who come to feed in its year-round ice-free bay. In addition to an abundance of seabirds such as puffins, bay visitors include minke, fin and blue whales as well as playful harbour porpoises and white-beaked dolphins who like to surf alongside boats and other watercraft. But the certain star of this bay-watch show are humpback whales, easily identified by their black and white flippers, lumpy snouts and huge fountain-like blows. Humpbacks are particularly known for their aquatic acrobatics, so watch out for common behaviours such as breaching, fluking, tail and fin slapping, bubble blowing and spyhopping during your exploration of Eyjafjörður, the fjord adjoining Akureyri bay. You’ll return to shore with a new appreciation of these majestic marine dwellers, complete with unforgettable memories to savour on board the ship. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. Wildlife sightings are likely, but not guaranteed.
    • Limited seats

    • Duration
      4 h

  • WHALE WATCHING FROM HÚSAVÍK

    NATURAL WONDERS

    AKU07

    Adventurous, entertaining, exceptional and educational are all adjectives that aptly describe this unforgettable tour, which combines land-based sightseeing with a seaborne opportunity to spot marine mammals in their natural habitat. After leaving the port of Akureyri and crossing lush, sweeping valleys dotted with picturesque farms, you will reach the place known as the “whale-watching capital of Europe”, the coastal town of Húsavík. Apart from minke, killer and humpback whales, you may also sight a large number of other marine mammals and seabirds when they come into the bay to feed. Examples include white-beaked dolphins, who will playfully swim alongside the boats, and puffins. The sea leg of the tour is followed by a delicious lunch served in a local restaurant and a visit to the award-winning whale museum, the Húsavík Whale Centre. The informative exhibits will tell you all you ever wanted to know about the lives these majestic ocean creatures lead in the frosty Icelandic waters. To round off your tour, a stop at the incredibly beautiful “cascade of the gods”, the Goðafoss Waterfalls – sporting a generous 30-metre breadth and a dizzying 12-metre drop – will give you time to take some memorable photos before you return to the port and your ship. Please note: wildlife sightings are likely, but not guaranteed. Limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair; the whale watching boats are traditional oak boats and not ideal for wheelchairs users.
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      8 h

  • GODAFOSS WATERFALL & AKUREYRI SIGHTSEEING

    SCENIC ROUTE

    AKU02

    The ‘capital of northern Iceland’, Akureyri is a beautiful town surrounded by majestic mountains and a unique blend of urban, rural and marine life. With a focus on seeing the best natural attractions in the area, we will combine travelling around the lovely landscapes with a trip to the spectacular Godafoss waterfall, a visit to the botanic gardens and a tour of lively Akureyri with its 16.000 inhabitants. We will admire the majestic “Waterfall of the Gods” which is an impressive 12 metre-high cascade and an ideal place to take photos. Driving through the historic district of Akureyri, the Danish influence is clearly visible here, a legacy of the country’s former rule by the Danish Crown. We will cross into the newer area of Akureyri and stop at the Botanical Gardens that hold examples of Iceland’s native flora as well as high latitude and high altitude plants from around the world. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will bein English only. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      3 h

  • AKUREYRI & SANTA’S HOUSE

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    AKU05

    The theme of childhood runs through this tour, so whether you want to relive your past or introduce younger passengers to some traditional folklore, this excursion to the home of a children’s author and to Santa’s House offers a lovely trip down memory lane! Akureyri is the cultural and commercial centre of northern Iceland; this small city boasts a flourishing art scene and a fascinating past. Iceland’s influence under the Danish Crown is clearly present here, displayed in the architecture and in some of the town’s more unusual cultural artefacts. Our first stop will be the Botanic Gardens with examples of indigenous Icelandic plants as well as high latitude and high altitude flora from around the world. We will then proceed to Nonni’s Museum, the childhood home of the renowned Icelandic writer and Jesuit priest Jon ‘Nonni’ Sveinsson. A children’s author, Sveinsson left Iceland aged just 12 and went on to give 5000 lectures around the world and pen 12 books about a character called ‘Nonni’, translated into 40 languages. Our trip continues the child-friendly theme with a stop at Santa’s House, a Christmas store selling festive items, open year round. We will end the tour with a short visit to Akureyri Church, the symbol of the town. Return to the port by bus or a walk through the town centre. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      3 h

The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
 
Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

Iceland

Fountains of lava amidst the ice

Fountains of lava amidst the ice

A vacation in Iceland is like discovering another world. Even if you’ve imagined it, this island will amaze you.
 Not many people know that Reykjavík, the Icelandic capital, has an intense artistic and social life. Nor that the Icelandic nature is so luxuriant because temperatures in the summer are incredibly mild or that in the winter, when the skies are painted by the colours of the northern lights, it’s not as cold as one might think.

Iceland is bound to attract you with its pools of boiling mud, the incredible geysers, the glaciers and the waterfalls, and more. Try indulging in bird-watching at Lake Mývatn, or take an excursion to meet the whales, Iceland’s sea is one of the best places in the world for watching these big cetaceans.
If you’re attracted to ice, visit Jökulsárlón, the largest frozen lagoon of the country which forms where the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier meets the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
And if you intend to relax, you should know that there are more than 170 geothermal pools in the country, like the splendid and therapeutic Blue Lagoon, about 40 km from Reykjavík, a large pool fed by a spring that pours out water at a temperature of between 37 and 39 °C, rich in minerals and with therapeutic properties.