Akureyri Iceland Cruise Port Guide, Things to Do, Excursions

Welcome to Akureyri cruise port, one of Iceland’s most visited cruise ports together with Reykjavik. Nestled in the scenic landscapes of northern Iceland, Akureyri stands as the country’s second-largest city, also known as Known as the “Capital of the North,”. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and fjords, Akureyri offers a picturesque backdrop for visitors exploring its botanical gardens, historic architecture, and the iconic Akureyri Church.

The port of Akureyri is located within a short walk from Akureyri downtown. In this article, I give you an overview of Akureyri cruise port and the 7 best things to do (including the popular shore excursions) in this beautiful port of call!

Akureyri Cruise Port

Akureyri is nestled at the southernmost end of Eyjafjörður, a 70-km-long fjord that ranks among the most stunning fjords in Iceland. Sailing into the Akureyri harbour is a spectacular experience, so get your camera ready as the sceneries are truly breathtaking!

Akureyri cruise terminal is located on Oddeyrarbryggja pier, a stone’s throw from the small town center that you can access in a 5-10 minute walk. The terminal itself features basic facilities such as free wi-fi, and within a short walking distance, you can find a small souvenir shop, a tourist information center (400 m), car rental (Europcar), and independent tour operators with clearly displayed prices.

Helpful info:

  • Akureyri city center is compact, everything is close by so you probably won’t need public transportation. There is a local Hop on Hop off bus (AkurinnBus) that starts at the pier and makes a 45-minute tour around the city center, with 11 stops at popular landmarks such as downtown, Akureyri Church, the Botanical Gardens, and the Old Town (by Akureyri Museum).
  • If you are planning to explore outside the city, booking a guided shore excursion is highly recommended, or renting a car. If you choose the second option, you should rent a car in advance (check the online deals) as the only car rental agency near the port is Europcar and their offer may be limited. Keep in mind that renting a car in Iceland can be quite pricey. Taxis are also available outside the terminal and official prices are displayed as well.
  • The official currency in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK) but euros are accepted as well. 1 USD equals 137.61 ISK. 1 EUR equals 149.51. You can pay almost everywhere by credit card. See the currency converter
  • The high season in Akureyri typically occurs during the summer months, from May/June to September. For useful cruise packing tips, have a look at my article What to Pack for a Cruise – Top 55 Cruise Essentials
  • Book a private transfer to/from Akureyri cruise port
  • The major cruise lines sailing to Akureyri include Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Celebrity Cruises.

7 Best Things to Do in Akureyri Cruise Port

As the vibrant “Capital of the North”, Akureyri boasts a rich variety of culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes. Here are the best things to do in Akureyri!

1. Akureyri Old Town

While it may not be as extensive as the old towns in some European cities, Akureyri’s Old Town is a delightful place to explore and a charming testament to Iceland’s rich history. On your stroll through the city, you’ll discover the town’s unique architecture, with colorful buildings adorned with intricate details and traditional Icelandic designs.

The main landmarks include the Akureyri Art Museum, Hof Cultural Centre, and the iconic Akureyri Church (Akureyrarkirkja), situated on the hill overlooking the harbour, only a 15-minute walk from the port. Kaupvangsstræti (aka Art Street) and Hafnarstræti are two main shopping streets in Akureyri, located close to each other. Here you’ll find a variety of boutique shops, galleries, and cafes, so take some time to browse through local crafts and art, and maybe sample some Icelandic treats to top off your visit!

Explore Akureyri Old Town tours and activities

Akureyri Old Town
Akureyri Old Town (Akureyri Church is perched above the town). Source: Pixabay.com

2. Akureyri Church

Perched on a hill overlooking the picturesque town, the Akureyri Church (also known as Akureyrarkirkja) stands as a symbol of architectural elegance and spiritual grace. Designed by the Icelandic architect Gudjon Samuelsson, who also designed the iconic Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, the church features an imposing structure, characterized by a combination of neo-Gothic and art-deco architectural styles.

The highlight of this sacred place is the church tower which you can climb for an additional fee, from where you can admire an even more spectacular panoramic view of the town, surrounding area, and the magnificent Eyjafjörður fjord.

Akureyri Church
Akureyri Church. Source: Pixabay.com

3. Akureyri Botanical Garden

Nestled about 2 km/1.3 miles (a 35-minute walk/5-minute drive) from Akureyri cruise port, the Akureyri Botanical Garden is a lush oasis set against the stunning backdrop of Iceland’s northern landscapes. Established in 1912, the gardens spread across 3.6 hectares and showcase a diverse collection of plants, both native and international species.

Once you arrive, immerse yourself in the beauty of the garden, where meticulously landscaped grounds host a fascinating array of Icelandic and international plant species. Take a relaxed stroll along well-maintained paths, breathe in the crisp Icelandic air, and explore themed sections that showcase the diversity of flora, from Arctic plants to exotic blossoms. Admission is free of charge.

Check out Akureyri Botanical Garden tours and activities

4. Akureyri Art Museum

Discover the beating heart of Icelandic art and culture at the Akureyri Art Museum, nestled in the heart of Akureyri Old Town, only a 15-minute walk from the port. The museum provides an intriguing journey through Iceland’s cultural growth, from traditional paintings that capture the spirit of the country’s landscapes to contemporary artwork.

The museum often plays a role in connecting with the local art community, participating in cultural initiatives, and supporting emerging artists. Before planning a visit to the Akureyri Art Museum, it’s advisable to check for the latest information on opening hours, exhibitions, and any special events that may be taking place. This ensures a more enriching experience for art enthusiasts and visitors interested in a cultural exploration of this unique city!

Explore Akureyri Art & Culture tours and activities

5. Goðafoss Waterfall

Prepare to be amazed by the majestic beauty of Goðafoss, also known as the “Waterfall of the Gods.” Located in the stunning landscapes of northern Iceland, only 35 km/22 miles (a 40-minute drive) east of the port of Akureyri, this outstanding cascade is a natural marvel that captivates tourists with its pure beauty and cultural importance. Nestled on the Skjálfandafljót River, the waterfall is renowned for its horseshoe shape, where the water cascades over a width of about 30 m (98 ft) and plunges approximately 12 m (39 ft) into the gorge below.

Goðafoss also holds historical importance in Iceland’s conversion to Christianity during the year 1000. According to the saga, Thorgeir Ljosvetningagodi, a pagan lawspeaker, threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall, symbolizing the country’s adoption of Christianity. Surrounding the waterfall, there are walking paths and viewpoints that provide excellent vantage points to admire the scenic beauty.

Explore Goðafoss Waterfall tours and activities

Goðafoss Waterfall Iceland
Goðafoss Waterfall. Source: Pixabay.com

6. Lake Mývatn

Nestled 75 km/46 miles (a 1-hour drive) southeast of Akureyri cruise port, Lake Mývatn is a natural marvel celebrated for its unique geological wonders and diverse landscapes featuring volcanic craters, geothermal hot springs, and fascinating lava formations.

Indulge in the soothing waters of the lagoon-like Mývatn Nature Baths, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, or enjoy activities such as birdwatching, hiking through lava fields, or simply taking in the tranquility of the Icelandic countryside. The fans of Game of Thrones should know that Mývatn served as a filming location for scenes beyond the Wall.

If you are booking a guided tour, keep in mind that Lake Mývatn is often combined with Goðafoss Waterfall due to the proximity of the two locations, making it a perfect day trip from Akureyri port.

Check out Lake Mývatn tours and activities

Lake Mývatn Iceland
Lake Mývatn. Source: Pexels.com

7. Húsavík Whale Watching

Set out on an exciting journey to the charming town of Húsavík, located 76 km/47 miles (a 1-hour drive) northeast of Akureyri cruise port. Nestled on the north coast of Iceland, along Skjálfandi Bay, Húsavík is renowned as the whale-watching capital of Iceland, attracting visitors with the opportunity to see beautiful marine giants in their natural habitat.

Húsavík has a well-deserved reputation as a premier whale-watching destination, with a wide variety of marine species including humpback whales, minke whales, and even the rare blue whale. Both in Akureyri and Húsavík, you’ll find a selection of reputable whale-watching operators ready to guide you through the waters, providing expert insights into the marine ecosystem and ensuring a safe and environmentally friendly experience. Board a comfortable vessel equipped for wildlife watching and allow trained operators to transport you to the best viewing areas for observing whales and other marine species.

Besides the whale-watching tours, in the town, you can visit the Húsavík Whale Museum and the wooden Húsavík Church, go hiking, explore nearby lava fields, or indulge in the local cuisine that Húsavík is famous for.

Explore Húsavík Whale-Watching tours and activities

Husavik Iceland
Húsavík. Source: Pixabay.com


Visit also our cruise port guides to Reykjavik, Dover, Belfast, Cork (Cobh), Inverness, Holyhead, Glasgow (Greenock)

You May Also Like:

What to Pack for a Cruise – Top 55 Cruise Essentials

Western Europe Cruise Port Guides

Mediterranean Cruise Port Guides

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

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