After a morning spent in the Lake Mývatn area in the north of Iceland, we decided to take an afternoon trip into Akureyri. When debating between going to Akureyri or Húsavík, one of our kids really liked the idea of Akureyri’s Aviation Museum, so our choice was made!
Our first stop after arriving in Akureyri was the Aviation Museum.
The boys loved it! There was one large plane that they could climb around in, and plenty of other interesting planes to look at.
Given the aviation interest in our family, it was a perfect museum for us. If your family has other interests, there are a ton of other museum options, after all, the is the second largest metro area in Iceland.
The next stop on our travel itinerary was downtown Akureyri.
After realizing that we didn’t have a clock card (you can pick one up in a gas station), we found that we couldn’t park in any of the time limited spots right next to the downtown. You are supposed to set the clock to the time that you arrive. If it is a 2 hour spot, it is easy for a policeman to see that you have exceeded your time and give you a ticket. No clock means automatic ticket.
So, we went up the hill and parked by the church, Akureyrarkirkja. It had a nice exterior and some beautiful stained glass on the interior.
From there, we walked down the hill into the main part of downtown. Since I collect cookbooks from each country that I visit, we popped into a book/tourist shop and found a lovely book that combined both Icelandic food with beautiful photography of the region.
More wandering, and then we walked back up to the church and toward the Botanical Garden.
Beautiful! If your family travels to Akureyri in the summer time, don’t miss a stroll through this delightful garden!
Unless you are planning to visit a lot of museums, there isn’t a lot to do in the actual town of Akureyri, so we decided to head back to our hotel in Mývatn. When taking a road trip along Iceland’s Ring Road, we discovered that while we loved our two nights in Mývatn, it may have made more sense to spend one night in Mývatn and one night in either Akureyri or Húsavík. It would have saved us an hour each way with back tracking.
In any case, you have two choices on how to get between Mývatn and Akureyri: the faster and straighter tunnel with a toll, or the scenic, but twisty, road over the mountain.
On our return, we chose to take the tunnel. There is no toll booth, so once you make your next stop, visit https://tunnel.is/ and pay the toll with your credit card. Make sure you get the license plate number correct or you will end up with a fine on top of the toll fee.
From there, we decided to get into nature and stop by the Goðafoss waterfall on our way back to Mývatn.
Beautiful! You will have a choice to park on the east or the west side of the falls. If you want the view in the picture above, park on the east. It is the entrance with the gas station (black building in the picture below).
The hike to the falls is quite short. You can either stay on the easy path and get a view from the top, or you can climb down some stone steps and get a view from the bottom. The sand does make the steps a bit slippery, but we found the view from the bottom to be the best.
What a wonderful day trip destination with museum, garden, and hiking options!