With new flights to Akureyri in Iceland from Norwich announced for February 2018, I was pleased when Superbreak gave me the chance to explore this amazing destination for myself.
Passengers booked on the Norwich departures have the luxury of a direct flight but I had to go down to Gatwick and fly via Reykjavik with IcelandAir. After a 3 hour flight to Reykjavik and then a 40 minute flight over to Akureyri, followed by a short transfer to The Kea by Kea Hotel, I finally arrived at our destination,
Centrally located in Akureyri, The Kea by Kea Hotel was a perfect base for my short stay in Akureyri. It was just a short walk from the harbour, where from here you could go on numerous whale-watching trips. Although a small and quiet town, Akureyri has lots to offer in the way of shops and restaurants, giving you plenty of opportunity to experience its local cuisine, fish…and lamb!
My first night was supposed to have been spent out in the wilderness in search of The Northern Lights, however due a cloudy sky, our expert guides decided that the chance of seeing the lights tonight was very small so my trip was postponed until later in the week until the weather was better and a greater chance of seeing them.
After an early start the next morning and a plentiful breakfast, I was off to explore the wonders of Lake Myvatn on the excursion that Superbreak includes on their Incredible Iceland breaks. This is a full day excursion and I was lucky enough to go by Super Jeep. Iceland’s landscape is famous for numerous volcanic lava formations and it was easy to see why they call this ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’. Anton, my driver and knowledgeable guide, explained how Iceland was formed by volcanoes and then was sculptured by ice to become the country that we know today.
I was also taken to see two of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, Godafoss and Dettifoss, nicknamed by locals as ‘Beauty and Beast’ because at only twelve meters high, Godafoss is genteel and calm compared Dettifoss which is a staggering forty four meters in height and is considered the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
Finishing off our day, we ventured to the Geothermal Nature Baths in Myvatn itself. Here I had the opportunity to relax in the 36°c lagoon, just what was needed after a cold day exploring Iceland!
The following morning, I was due to go whale watching, but due to adverse weather this was cancelled. The weather in Iceland is known to be very unpredictable and it’s not unheard of to experience all four seasons in one day.
With the whale watching, postponed, the only thing left to do was to head off in search of the newly opened Beer Spa, about an hour’s drive from Akureyri. The concept sounded a little strange to begin but having experienced this for myself, I thoroughly recommend. Each room is compete with a wooden tub filled with beer, water, hops and yeast which is brewed onsite at their micro-brewery and here you can relax in peace and quiet for up to 25 minutes, and take full advantage of your very own beer tap. You’re advised to not shower after getting out of the beer bath as it is thought that there are a number of benefits to both your health and skin the longer you leave it without showering.
Superbreak also offers an additional excursion, ‘Culture and Cuisine’ and I got to experience the cuisine part, by visiting Baccala Bar and Restaurant, and fishmongers, to see for myself the process for their famous salted cod fish dish, to see how the fisherman’s catch of the day that morning made it to my plate. Also at this venue, I met the owner of the restaurant, Elvar, who is the self-proclaimed ‘King of the Salted Cod Fish’! You are also given the opportunity to become a member of a very special club, ‘The Rotten Shark Club’. To become a member of the club, you have to try the local delicacy, Rotten Shark; at this point I politely declined!
While away in Iceland, I was very privileged to stay for one night, at the stunning Siglo Hotel in Siglufjordur, the northern most town in Iceland. After a busy few days in Iceland, an evening spent in the outdoor hot tub was in order and it was at this point I caught my first glimpse of the stunning Northern Lights.
My last morning in Iceland was spent out on a rib boat, whale watching, and it was defiantly worth waiting for. The boat ride lasted a couple of hours and I couldn’t believe the number of whales that surrounded our boat and how close they came us. There were even reports that a dolphin had been spotted, but to my disappointment I was looking in the opposite direction.
As my flight home was again via Reykjavik, it allowed for a couple of hours wondering around the city itself. Although Reykjavik offers similar excursions to Akureyri, itwas a lot bigger and busier and felt very touristy compared to Akureyri.
Looking back on my 4 days in Iceland, there were so many highlights, I couldn’t pick my favourite. If only I had a little longer to experience all that this amazing country has to offer. I will defiantly be back!