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North East Iceland Tours

Small Group Guided Tours to Iceland’s North East

Northeast Iceland is an incredible place to visit. Out here, life is quiet and peaceful. Iceland’s Northeast is known for its volcanic landscapes and abundant wildlife. The region is an absolute winner when it comes to whale watching with a 98% chance of making a sighting. And that’s just the beginning of all the different things to do in the Northeast!

Northeast Iceland is a sparsely populated area between Akureyri and the East Fjords. Even though it’s one of the  prettiest places in Iceland, only a small number of travelers visit this remote region. This means you’ll have Iceland’s wildest landscapes all to yourself!

The main centers are Akureyri (the capital of North), Húsavík, and Dalvik. Major highlights are Lake Myvatn Geothermal Area, Europe’s most powerful waterfall of Dettifoss, Ásbyrgi Canyon, and Dalvik, the whale watching hub of Iceland. The area is also a fantastic place to spot puffins.

Explore the many charms of Iceland’s Northeast on our small group guided tours. Browse our one-day and multi-day tours below. 

Day Tours to North East Iceland

Join our expert guides on a day tour to explore Iceland’s northeastern region, where you have a 98% chance of sighting whales or dolphins! You can expect to see minke whales, harbour porpoises, humpback whales, white-beaked dolphins, and even enormous blue whales.

Multi-Day Tours to North East Iceland

Want to spend more than one day exploring the remote and wild areas of Iceland’s Northeast? Browse our selection of multi-day tours to see truly amazing volcanic landscapes, roaring waterfalls, and whales in their natural habitat.

Guide to Northeast Iceland

Northeast Iceland consists of three stunning peninsulas: Tjörnes, Melrakkaslétta, and Langanes. The site’s brilliant sea views, majestic waterfalls, and steaming volcanic vents make it a magnificent place to visit.

Don’t forget that you’re almost in the Arctic Circle in the northeast of Iceland. The region barely gets dark in summer and is often sunnier than South Iceland. In winter, days are just a couple of hours long but offer the chance to see the Northern Lights.

Read this guide to Northeast Iceland to discover the best things to do in this magical place!

Must-See Places in Northeast Iceland

Northeast Iceland is full of awe-inspiring places. Check out the most popular attractions in the Northeast and get ready for your next trip!

Lake Mývatn Geothermal Area

Lake Myvatn Geothermal Area

Lake Mývatn and its surrounding area is one of the most amazing geological sites in Iceland. The lake was created by a volcanic eruption about 2300 years ago. As a result, Mývatn is surrounded by lava fields, volcanic craters, and hissing hot springs.

The pseudocraters at Skútustaðir and the rock pillars of Dimmuborgir are among the highlights we recommend to explore. If you’re traveling in summer, keep an eye out for seabirds. During the season, you can see more species of ducks at Mývatn than at any other lake in the world!

Close to Mývatn you’ll find Hverfjall Crater and Námaskarð Geothermal Area.

Hverir Hot Springs

Hverir Hot Springs

East of Myvatn find Hverir, a breathtaking geothermal hotspot. With bubbling mud pools, steaming vents, and hissing geysers, the area looks like it’s out of this world. Wander among swelling clouds of steam and feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a secret portal.

Mývatn Nature Baths

Myvatn Nature Baths in Iceland
After a day spent exploring Northeast Iceland, a visit to Mývatn Nature Baths is an excellent choice. Often called the Northeast’s answer to Blue Lagoon, Mývatn Nature Baths receives fewer tourists than its famous counterpart in the South. Soak in warm waters whilst admiring the awesome views of Lake Mývatn.

Godafoss and Dettifoss Waterfalls

Godafoss and Dettifoss Waterfalls

The majestic Godafoss and Dettifoss Waterfalls attract visitors every year. Often called  “The Niagara of Europe,” Dettifoss is Europe’s most powerful waterfall. The water thunders over a 45 m (148 ft) cliff. This mighty waterfall can be heard miles away! According to the World of Waterfalls, Dettifoss is among the 10 Best Waterfalls of the world.

Godafoss Waterfall (Waterfall of the Gods) is another spectacular cascade with an interesting story. In the year 1000 CE, the Icelandic law speaker threw his statues of Norse gods into the falls after he made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. Hence the name “Waterfall of the Gods.”

Arctic Henge

Arctic Henge stones

Located in the village of Raufarhöfn, Arctic Henge is a striking stone structure reminiscent of Stonehenge in England. Arctic Henge comprises four stone arches that represent the four seasons and it acts as an enormous sundial. The monument stands 52 m (170 ft) in diameter.

Asbyrgi Canyon

Ásbyrgi is a mighty canyon surrounded by extremely high cliffs. According to a legend, Ásbyrgi is a hoof print left by Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of Norse god Odin. Scientifically speaking, geologists believe Ásbyrgi was formed by massive glacial flooding a few thousand years ago. The canyon is one of the best hiking spots in Iceland. Come to soak up the natural beauty of Ásbyrgi for yourself!

Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon

Jokulsargljufur Canyon

Jökulsárgljúfur is a broad canyon through which runs Iceland’s second-longest river Jökulsá River. Jökulsárgljúfur means “Glacial River Canyon” in Icelandic. The canyon is best known as the home to the spectacular Dettifoss Waterfall. It also happens to be a very popular hiking destination. Here you’ll find a good camping ground.

Askja and Víti Volcanos

Askja lake with mountain view

The Northern Highlands are home to the famous Askja Caldera and Viti Crater. The area is not accessible until the middle of June, but is nevertheless highly sought after by travelers.

With its otherworldly landscapes, Askja is like nowhere else on Earth. No wonder astronauts including Neil Armstrong trained for the moon landing in the area. Don’t miss Möðrudalur, the highest inhabited place in Iceland at 469 m (1539 ft) above sea level.

Keep in mind that the staggeringly beautiful Askja can only be accessed in a 4WD vehicle. If you want a hassle-free trip, join us on our exclusive Askja Caldera & Viti Crater Tour.

Things to Do in Northeast Iceland

Whale watching is by far the Northeast’s most popular attraction. Sighting a giant whale is a great thrill no matter how many times you do it. The waters of Iceland’s Northeast are home to humpback whales, minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, and even blue whales. So you have a good chance of seeing them whenever you’re cruising!

Speed boat whale watching Reykjavik

The best way to see whales is to sign up for a whale-watching cruise with a professional guide. Sail Eyjafjordur — the longest fjord in Iceland — in search of giant mammals on our whale watching tours from Dalvik.

Check out our top-rated Whale Watching tour from Dalvik and get your ticket to the whale watching trip of a lifetime today!

Other popular activities in the Northeast of Iceland include:

  • Sightseeing in the towns of Akureyri, Husavik, and Dalvik
  • Hiking up along Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon
  • Visiting museums of the Northeast (Husavik’s Whale Museum and the Exploration Museum, and Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum by Lake Myvatn)
  • Birdwatching at Lake Myvatn (with 13 species of ducks) and the stubby Tjörnes Peninsula (one of the best places to spot puffins in Iceland)
  • Bathing in Mývatn Nature Baths (the Northeast’s answer to Blue Lagoon)

North East Iceland – Self-Drive

Car on a ring road road

Traveling through the north of Iceland with your own wheels is an unforgettable adventure. The main roads are in good condition, though not always paved. This means you’ll need a 4X4 vehicle. Since the region is sparsely populated, don’t forget to fuel your tank whenever you can!

Route 85 will take you to the main highlights of the Northeast. However, keep in mind that road conditions can be rough even in summer. Strong winds and sandstorms might dramatically affect driving conditions. In winter, some roads are closed due to heavy snowfall.

If you don’t feel confident driving alone, we advise joining a guided tour with an expert guide.

See the best of North East on our 3-Day Mývatn, Akureyri & Northern Iceland Tour!

Where to Stay

Fosshotel

The Northeast of Iceland offers travelers convenient accommodation options from hotels and guesthouses to good camping grounds. Most of the hotels are located around Husavik and Lake Myvatn. Farther away, services are spread thinly, but you’ll still be able to find great lodging options. In summer booking ahead is highly recommended.

Find the best places to stay in Iceland’s Northeast below.

Hotels, Hostels & Guesthouses 

  • Hotel Dalvík
  • Dalvík HI Hostel
  • Fosshotel Húsavík
  • Tungulending Guesthouse
  • Eldá Guesthouse
  • Fossholl Guesthouse
  • Ytra Lóni Farm Hostel

Camping

  • Husavik Camping Ground (open from May to September)
  • Bjarg Camping Ground on the shore of Lake Myvatn (open for summer months)
  • Ásbyrgi Camping Ground (open for summer months)

FAQs

1. Are tours visiting Northeast Iceland also available from Reykjavik?

Yes, we offer various multi-day tours to Iceland’s Northeast departing from Reykjavik. Visit all the main highlights of the Northeast on our 3-Day Mývatn, Akureyri & Northern Iceland Tour. If you wish to add more bucket list favorites, take our epic 6 Days Around Iceland Adventure.

Find all our multi-day tours to Iceland’s Northeast departing from Reykjavik here.

2. What’s the best time to visit Northeast Iceland?

Women teamed up with Northern Lights

The best time of year to visit Northeast Iceland is summer. During the season, the region enjoys the midnight sun. This means the sun barely sets below the horizon and you’ll have plenty of time for sightseeing.

Whale watching seasons runs from February to December, and peaks in June, so plan your trip accordingly.

In winter, the Northeast is a perfect place to see the Northern Lights because the Northeast is located almost inside the Arctic Circle. Go hunting the great aurora and see majestic whales on our exhilarating Whale Watching & Northern Lights Tour!

3. Can I travel to the northeastern areas of Iceland on my own?

Yes, you can travel to the Northeast in your own car. However, keep in mind that road conditions might change dramatically due to unpredictable Icelandic weather. In winter, some roads are closed due to violent winds and heavy snowfalls. Always check road and weather conditions on en.vendur.is and www.road.is.

If you’re not an experienced driver, we advise joining a tour where professional guides will take you to the places you want to visit.

4. What car do I need to drive to the northeast of Iceland?

You’ll need 4X4 wheels because some of the Northeast’s attractions are accessible only by unpaved roads. When driving in Iceland, four-wheel-drive is always the best and safest option.

5. What cities are located in the Northeast?

Sea boats in Husavik town

The major cities in the Northeast are Akureyri, Husavik, and Dalvik. All three cities are known as fishing centers where you’ll find interesting museums, tempting cafes, and various sightseeing routes. We operate our whale watching tours from Dalvik.

Smaller communities such as Kópasker on the quiet Melrakkaslétta Peninsula, Iceland’s northernmost town of Raufarhöfn, and Þórshöfn on the remote Langanes Peninsula will give you an insight into daily life in the far north of Iceland.

6. What clothes should I bring when visiting Iceland’s northeastern parts?

Iceland’s weather is highly unpredictable and you might experience all four seasons in one day. When traveling in Iceland, layers are key! Here is a handy list of what to bring:

  • Thermal underwear
  • Warm outdoor clothing
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Wool socks
  • Bathing suit for swimming in Mývatn Nature Baths

If you’re traveling in winter, don’t forget to pack a warm hat, scarf, and good gloves.


North East Iceland Attractions

Known for its stronger arctic characteristics, the northeastern part of Iceland is a paradise for all wildlife and nature lovers. Find more about popular attractions located in the North East of Iceland below.