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Today you will explore Skagafjordur (Skagafjörður) and then make your way to Akureyri, which is Iceland's fourth largest municipality and the largest town outside the most densely populated area in Iceland's southwest.
Here is the map of the drive and attractions that you will visit on Day 2.
For more detailed information incl. links to google maps locations, more reviews, website links, etc., check out our Iceland Highlights Purple Guide.
For Pinterest users, here are some pins that you can use:
Our Iceland Travel Guide has detailed information about the individual destinations, links to their locations in google maps, reviews and websites (if available).
Please see the Backpack & Snorkel Travel Store for more information.
Here are more Iceland destinations to explore:
The Staðarbjörg Basalt Columns are a hidden gem which only few tourists know about and even fewer actually visit.
They are easily accessible but smaller than Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and have the advantage that you can access them for free and you may have then all for yourself. For the first 20min or so we were the only ones there and then came another family.
When you get to the parking lot, walk to the set of wooden stairs that go down the hill and make sure to hold the rope towards the right. This rope is the only safety precaution at the attraction. When you get down to the basalt columns, watch your step. There is nothing that will hold you should you stumble.
The view from the top of the hill on the fjord Skagafjörður and the basalt columns is fantastic. Once you get down the hill, you will see the columns up close and you can carefully walk on them.
The Icelandic Emigration Center tells the stories if Icelandic emigrants and the socio-economic reasons why almost 25% of the Icelandic population emigrated in the latter half of the 19th century.
It was founded in 1996 and has exhibits in three separate buildings that stand next to each other. Your admission fee is good for all three buildings.
While the majority of Icelanders emigrated to Europe and North America, the center also explores emigration to Brazil which was all the craze between 1863 and 1873.
If you are interested in Icelandic history, then you should not miss this museum.
The Herring Era Museum is Iceland's largest maritime museum and the only Icelandic museum which was awarded the European Museum Award.
It opened in 1994 in an abandoned salting station in Siglufjörður. Since then, 2 more buildings were added to the museum.
Siglufjörður used to be the center of Iceland’s herring industry which in turn was a very important factor for the country’s economy as it was responsible for up to 44% of Iceland’s export income in some years.
The Siglufjörður Folk Music Centre, or Icelandic Folk Music Museum, is not a must-see destination, but can be of interest if you are interested in folk music. It is located in Madame House which is one of the oldest houses in town.
Admission is free and you can tour the museum, and play on the two provided old-fashioned instruments, in 30min or less. If you are real interested in this music, you can probably spend a lot of time upstairs listening to the music samples on the computers.
Pastor Bjarni Þorsteinsson (1861-1938), who was Iceland´s foremost folk music collector lived here from 1888 to 1898. Besides collecting folk music, he was also a talented musician and a composer and some of his works are still sung in Iceland.
He collected folk songs at around 1880 and on 1906 he published the Icelandic Folk Songs book “Íslensk Þjóðlög” which contains hundreds of folk songs, from various parts of the country.
The Folk Music Center was officially opened in July 2006 on the 100 year anniversary of the publishing of Þorsteinsson’s book.
Besides being the priest of the town he was also a politician and he considered the “father of Siglufjordur”.
About 1,700ft (500m) after the roundabout from where route 83 branches off Route 1 is a black gravel parking lot to the left of the road and you will see water vapor coming from behind it. If you like, you can stop here and then carefully walk about 100ft (30m) down to the hot river. This are is frequented by locals and tourists who put their feet in the hot water or even lay down in it.
Located 10min outside of Akureyri, Hotel Sveinbjarnargerdi has beautiful views of, but no access to, the Eyjafjörður fjord.
We were upgraded when we arrived and we appreciated this very much – thank you very much.
Our hotel room on the second floor was clean rooms with a comfortable queen size bed, a small fridge, glass night stands, a glass table and wooden chair, couch, TV, basic shelf with hangers, blackout curtains, free wifi and a bathroom with a shower. Liquid soap and shampoo are in multi-use containers. Parking is free and the hotel has a small elevated outside pool.
Breakfast was included and plentiful and yummy! It consisted of sliced bread, sausages and cheese and a continental breakfast that you see in the US.
For everyone who, like us, got interested in the Tannery Visitor Centre that is advertised all over the internet, be prepared for a disappointment. It only exists as an online store anymore. There are other businesses at the advertised address and the second address that you may find is a private residence. People we talked to had never heard of the Tannery Visitor Centre.
Start you day with a walk along the shoreline of the fjord and then take the 30min drive east on Routes 75 and 76 to the town of Hofsós with the Staðarbjörg Basalt Columns.
Spoiler Alert: If you have ever dreamed of going to Northern Ireland to see the Giant’s Causeway, the Staðarbjörg Basalt Columns are basically the same, just smaller, and you can see them for free. No admission charged – no parking fee.
As a matter of fact basalt columns are a pretty common sight in Iceland and you will see more during this trip. The Staðarbjörg Basalt Columns stand out due to their easy accessibility.
Arrive at KEF airport and drive to your hotel in Skagafjörður; optional stop at Icelandic Seal Center
Grjótagjá Cave; climb up Hverfell; Explore Dimmuborgir; hike up Vindbelgjarfjall; swim at Mývatn Nature Baths
Jökulsárlón, Diamond Beach, Fjallsárlón, Vatnajökull National Park at Skaftafell,
Scenic Green Lava Walk; Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon that was shown in the Justin Bieber “I'll Show You” video
Fly home (alternatively, you can explore the Highlands today and leave on Sunday)