Akureyri (Photo:Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock)
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Akureyri

The second-largest city in Iceland (yet still small, with fewer than 18,000 residents), Akureyri has become a regular stop for cruise ships visiting the island on a Norwegian fjords cruise, as well as those on transatlantic repositionings.

Located on Iceland's longest fjord, Eyjafjordur, Akureyri has been settled since Vikings arrived in the 9th century and has long been dominant in fishing, thanks to an ice-free port. Although cruise ships only visit during the summer, the town has a healthy winter tourism scene, with several ski resorts close by. Thus, you'll find many outdoor clothing stores, as well as restaurants, cafes and bars, in the city's downtown.

A call in Akureyri provides cruisers with a cute town to explore and makes a perfect gateway to northern Iceland's geothermal phenomena. Lake Myvatn, home to bubbling hotpots, thermal baths, craters and lava formations, is less than two hours away. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, consider a flightseeing trip over this geothermal wonderland; if an eruption is going on, you might even see lava spurting into the air (as tourists did in fall 2014, when a fissure developed in nearby Holuhraun).

Akureyri is also a good place to hire an independent tour operator for outdoor pursuits, such as whale watching, horseback riding, hiking and Jeep adventures. Or you can rent a car and explore the country's Ring Road. Make sure you wear layers and bring a raincoat; Iceland's weather is notoriously fickle even though Akureyri generally has warmer temperatures than other parts of the island.

About Akureyri


Pro

Con

Although Akureyri has its charms, it's better to book a tour of the wilds of Iceland than to spend all of your time hanging around town

Bottom Line

Akureyri is a fantastic port from which to embark on geothermal adventures in Iceland. Walk into town, book a tour and go


Find a Cruise to the Baltic Sea

Where You're Docked

Akureyri's cruise terminal is sheltered within Iceland's longest fjord, Eyjafjordur. The dock can handle up to three ships at a time.

Good to Know

It's not called Iceland for nothing; bring lots of layers, as well as a hat and scarf, because the wind can make the air feel much chillier than the temperature reads.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Currency is the Icelandic krona; prices are given in ISK (if you're from the U.S., you'll find them startlingly high, particularly for food). For updated currency-conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. Several banks, including Landsbankinn (1 Strandgotu) and Islandbanki (14 Skipagotu), have ATMs. Almost all shops and restaurants take credit cards.

Language

Icelandic is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn. But don't worry: Everyone in the tourist trade speaks English.

Shopping

Icelandic woolen goods are top rate (as they should be, given the extreme winds that can chill to the bone even in summer). Find the sweater of your dreams at The Viking (104 Hafnarstraeti) or at the upscale Icelandic clothing chain Geysir (98 Hafnarstraeti). Expect to pay several hundred dollars for a good quality sweater, although sales are common when cruise ships are in port. For purchases totaling more than 4,000 Icelandic kronas, you can also reclaim 15 percent in tax from representatives at the pier if it's your last stop in Iceland (or at the airport); make sure you keep your receipts.