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Top 13 Things To Do in Northern Iceland: Full Itinerary + Map

Do you want to explore the stunning landscapes and vibrant culture of Northern Iceland? Then look no further! Discover Northern Iceland's iconic attractions, such as the basalt columns at Dimmuborgir, or unearth hidden gems like Mývatn Nature Baths.

This guide unveils the best things to do in Northern Iceland. With a full itinerary and Map, all that's left is for you to pack your bags and start exploring this breathtaking region! So read on if you're looking for an unforgettable experience in one of Europe's most unique destinations.

Northern Iceland

The Best Things To Do in North Iceland

Iceland's north coast has plenty of hidden gems for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers. From glacier lagoons to thermal hot springs, the region offers an array of unique attractions and activities that will make your trip unforgettable.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed getaway, Northern Iceland has something for everyone! From surfing and whale watching in northern Iceland to snowmobiling and dog sledding, here are some of the best north Iceland attractions.

1. Go Whale Watching in Northern Iceland

To experience the beauty of Iceland's animals, head out on a whale-watching tour. The waters around Northern Iceland are teeming with:

  • Humpback whales

  • Orcas

  • Dolphins

From the comfort of a boat, you can watch these majestic creatures splash and play in the sea. Whale watching in northern Iceland is a one-of-a-kind experience and a must-do activity in the region.

northern iceland whale watching

2. Experience the Thrill of Extreme Sports

Experience the thrill of extreme sports in Northern Iceland, where the stunning landscapes offer endless possibilities for adventure. From glacier climbing to ice caving, these heart-pounding activities are among the top things to do in Northern Iceland. Push your limits and immerse yourself in the raw and captivating beauty of this remarkable region.

Extreme Sports in Iceland

3. Observe Charming Puffins Up Close

If you're wondering what to see in northern Iceland, make sure to add puffins in Iceland to your list. These charming birds are a common sight along the north coast of Iceland. Visit one of the region's puffin colonies to see these feathered friends up close. It's a great chance to appreciate the wildlife of this remarkable country and snap some beautiful photos.

Puffin watching

4. Enjoy Hiking in Northern Iceland

Discover the beauty of Northern Iceland through hiking. Explore diverse terrains, from cascading waterfalls to rugged lava fields. Hiking in Northern Iceland offers breathtaking landscapes and a sense of tranquility, rejuvenating the soul with every step taken in this outdoor paradise. Hiking in Iceland is an activity that should not be missed!

North iceland must see

5. Catch the Waves and Surf in the North Atlantic

Engage in thrilling activities in North Iceland by catching the waves and experiencing the exhilaration of surfing in Iceland. With its wild coastline and challenging swells, North Iceland offers surfers an unforgettable experience. Whether you are a beginner or an expert surfer, surfing in northern Iceland is something you won't want to miss.

Surfing in Iceland

6. Take a Dog Sledding Tour in Iceland

One of the best things to do in northern Iceland is to take a dog sledding tour. The sleds are pulled by Siberian Huskies, whose friendly and cheerful personalities make the tour even more special. This traditional form of transportation offers a unique way to explore the icy terrain of Northern Iceland. Dog sledding in Iceland is the perfect tour for adventure seekers and dog lovers alike!

Dog Sledding Tour in Iceland

7. Speed Across Snowfields and Glaciers on a Snowmobile

Experience the excitement of snowmobiling in Iceland, where you can speed across snowfields and glaciers. It's one of the must-try things to do in north Iceland, providing thrilling adventure and stunning scenery.

Discover the beauty of this region on a snowmobile tour of Lake Mývatn and the surrounding area. The tour is very popular, and bookings are highly recommended.

 Snowmobile in north iceland

8. Camp in Scenic Locations Amidst Iceland's Untouched Nature

Immerse yourself in the untouched nature of northern Iceland by camping amidst its scenic landscapes. It's a perfect choice when deciding what to do in northern Iceland, offering a unique connection with the environment.

Set up camp in picturesque locations such as the Dettifoss Waterfall or Lake Mývatn. Enjoy breathtaking views and peaceful tranquility in these awe-inspiring places. Camping in Iceland is a must-do activity for outdoor enthusiasts.

Dettifoss waterfall

9. Take a Dip in Mývatn Nature Baths

Indulge in relaxation at Mývatn Nature Baths, a must-visit Iceland spa and one of the top places to visit in North Iceland. Immerse yourself in the soothing geothermal waters, surrounded by picturesque landscapes. This tranquil oasis offers a rejuvenating experience, providing the perfect escape amidst the natural wonders of the region.

 what to do in northern iceland

10. Ski in Iceland's Mountainous Terrain

Experience the thrill of skiing in Northern Iceland, a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Hit the slopes of Mt. Akureyri and enjoy the adrenaline rush while surrounded by breathtaking northern Iceland attractions. Skiing in Iceland offers a unique combination of adventure and natural beauty, making it an unforgettable winter experience.

Ski in Iceland's nothern region

11. Enjoy Vibrant Music Festivals in Northern Iceland

Immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene of Northern Iceland by attending thrilling Iceland music festivals, one of the top things to do in Northern Iceland.

The Aldrei Fór Eg Suður Rock Music Festival is held annually in Ísafjörður, a town located in the Westfjords region of Northern Iceland. This festival celebrates Icelandic rock music and has been running since 2004.

 Festivals in Northern Iceland

12. Fish in Abundant Rivers and Lakes in Northern Iceland

Enjoy the thrill of fishing in Northern Iceland's abundant rivers and lakes, regardless of the weather in Northern Iceland. With its pristine waterways, the region offers a haven for anglers. Cast your line amidst stunning landscapes and embrace the tranquility of nature while indulging in the rewarding experience of fishing in Iceland.

 activities north iceland

13. Marvel at Basalt Columns in Iceland's Unique Geological Formations

The basalt columns in northern Iceland are among the most fascinating things to see in northern Iceland. These unique geological formations, formed by lava cooling and hardening into hexagonal shapes, can be found throughout the region. From the iconic Dimmuborgir to the dramatic Godafoss waterfall, visitors can marvel at these natural wonders.

Basalt columns north Iceland

Northern Iceland Itinerary: Experience the Best of Northern Iceland in 5 Days

If you're looking for things to see in north Iceland, this 5-day northern Iceland itinerary is perfect for exploring the best of this captivating region. Not only will you experience the best of Iceland's wonders, but you will also take part in thrilling activities and embrace the culture of this unique area. So if you're ready, here is what you can explore in North Iceland!

Day 1: Go Whale Watching off the Coast of North Iceland

Start your journey in Husavik, one of the best towns to visit in northern Iceland. Husavik is a seaside town known as the whale-watching capital of Iceland.

Take a whale-watching tour and see these majestic creatures up close. Whale watching in northern Iceland is an activity you won't want to miss! In the afternoon, head to Dettifoss Waterfall for an incredible view of the largest waterfall in Europe.

End your day by camping near the picturesque Mývatn Nature Baths. We also recommend sleeping at Húsavík Green Hostel, one of the best hostels in this part of Iceland.

  • Driving Distance: 147 km/91 mi

  • Travel Time: 2 Hours

Day 2: Explore the Lake Mývatn Region and Take a Dog Sledding Tour

Spend your second day in the Mývatn area, one of the top places to visit in North Iceland. Start by taking a dog sledding tour and exploring the icy terrain.

In the afternoon, visit Dimmuborgir and marvel at its impressive basalt columns. This is a north Iceland must-see and the perfect place to take photos. Then, head to Námafjall, known for its bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles.

Afterward, relax in the Mývatn Nature Baths and enjoy its therapeutic waters. For accommodation, we recommend staying at one of the hotels in Akureyri or one of the cottages near Lake Mývatn.

  • Driving Distance: 114 km/71 mi

  • Travel Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Day 3: Go Snowmobiling on Glaciers and Skiing in Mt. Akureyri

Explore the snow-covered terrain of northern Iceland and go snowmobiling on the glaciers. Spend your afternoon skiing in Mt. Súlur and take breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Next, head to the capital of north Iceland, Akureyri. This charming town is known for its quaint buildings and vibrant music scene. Before you end your day, make sure to visit the Akureyri Church and explore its vibrant artwork.

Stay at one of the hotels in Akureyri or book a camping spot at Hlíð Camping and Guesthouse near Lake Mývatn on the Icelandic ring road.

  • Driving Distance: 27 km/17 mi

  • Travel Time: 31 Minutes

Day 4: Fish in Abundant Rivers and Lakes and Visit the Akureyri Botanical Garden

Spend the day fishing for salmon and sea trout in the Húseyjarkvísl River or the plentiful lakes of North Iceland. Take in the peaceful atmosphere and admire the stunning views.

In the afternoon, visit Akureyri Botanical Garden and marvel at its exotic plants. This lush oasis, located in the heart of Akureyri, is a great place to take a leisurely stroll and admire the colorful flowers.

For accommodation, we recommend staying at Hótel Akureyri or one of the hotels in Akureyri.

  • Driving Distance: 95 km/59 mi

  • Travel Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Day 5: Visit the Westfjords and Attend A Music Festival

On your last day, drive to the Westfjords region and experience the beauty of this isolated part of Iceland. If you're going to Iceland during Easter, make sure to attend the Aldrei Fór Eg Suður Music Festival in Ísafjörður, a town located in the middle of the Westfjords. This festival celebrates Icelandic rock music and has been running since 2004.

In the afternoon, explore Latrabjarg Bird Cliffs, located on Iceland's westernmost tip. This is one of the best north Iceland attractions and a great place to view puffins and other seabirds. Afterward, relax at the Gjögur swimming pool and enjoy its natural hot springs.

We recommend staying at one of the hostels in Ísafjörður or opting for a cabin in Isafjordur, which is close to the festival.

  • Driving Distance: 389 km/241 mi

  • Travel Time: 6 Hours

Northern Iceland itinerary Map

A Captivating Escape: Discover the Beauty of Northern Iceland

Northern Iceland offers a captivating escape where natural beauty reigns supreme. From stunning waterfalls and geothermal hot springs to otherworldly landscapes and charming coastal towns, this region is a paradise for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike.

To make the most of your journey and explore the hidden gems that Northern Iceland has to offer, we highly recommend renting a car. With the freedom to chart your own course, you can effortlessly navigate the rugged terrain, discover remote locations, and immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness.

Renting a car in Iceland will unlock a world of possibilities, allowing you to create unforgettable memories as you uncover the breathtaking beauty of Northern Iceland.

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