Venturing the 241 miles (388 km) from Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik to the "capital of the north," Akureyri, can be done either by self-driving or flying via domestic airports. The northern city offers much by way of cultural and outdoor experiences, including some of the best whale watching in the world. It's also possible to arrange for a private or group transfer, though it's not the most flexible or affordable choice.
The route north to Akureyri offers abundant adventure spots like Kolugljúfur canyon and waterfall, and the natural rock formation, Hvitserkur, an impressive coastal stop. Akureyri is a solid base for venturing to the Laufás turf houses and Arctic Botanical Gardens too. Check out this seven-day itinerary for more ideas on Iceland's Western and Northern Highlights.
Duration: 7-9 hours
Driving will allow visitors to venture off the Ring Road (Route 1) to explore many natural attractions along the way. A straightforward journey would take approximately five hours, however, it's wise to allow for extra time. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Glymur waterfall hike, and the lesser-known Westfjords (if you have a few extra days) are all possible spots for exploration. Once in Akureyri, there is ample opportunity for wildlife watching. Popular options include the island of Hrísey offers birdwatching galore, and horseback riding in addition to the well-known whale watching excursions.
Duration: 1-2 hours
The short, direct flight from Reykjavik's domestic airport (RKV) to Akureyri takes about 45 minutes and provides a good option for travelers looking to base themselves in the northern city and short on time. Travelers already in the city will have just a 5-10 minute taxi ride to reach the domestic airport.
For visitors arriving internationally into Keflavik (KEF), you'll have to transfer the 45 minutes to RKV just outside of the city, in order to catch the flight to Akureyri. If the weather is clear, you'll be treated to amazing views over glaciers and the highlands.
By Private or Group Tour
Duration: 10-12 hours (Private); Multi-day (Group)
Hiring a driver to make the private transfer from Reykjavik to Akureyri is possible. This will allow travelers to customize their stops along the way.
A group tour leaving from Reykjavik would likely require a multi-day itinerary. These tours often include the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the trip north to Akureyri, including featured attractions on the way and in the surrounding area.