We’re winding up our trip around Iceland’s Ring Road. We started off in Reykjavik and nearby attractions, made our way down and traveled across the South Coast and then headed up north towards the Diamond Circle route. Let’s continue our exploration of North Iceland by visiting “Capital of the North” Akureyri, newly-built pagan monument Arctic Henge, Dalvík, home of the island’s best skiing, and an Icelandic hot pot overlooking the stunning north fjords. Let’s explore the main stops on Iceland’s Ring Road in North Iceland.
Arctic Henge – A New Pagan Monument to Rival Stonehenge
About an hour and a half northeast of Húsavík lies the small, remote village of Raufarhöfn. It is here that you’ll find Arctic Henge, Iceland’s answer to England’s famous ancient monument Stonehenge. Much like its British predecessor, this collection of monoliths serves as both a sundial and a pagan worship site. The Ásatrú, Iceland’s pagan disciples, are followers of the Neopagan movement in Europe. There are 72 large stones which have been laid out according to precepts dictated from old Norse mythology. There are also four gates which represent the four seasons.
Akureyri: Iceland’s Second City and Capital of the North
Akureyri is a small town resting at the foot of Eyjafjörður glacier in North Iceland. Its population is 18,000 inhabitants, making it the next largest municipality in the country after Reykjavik. There are several interesting sites and activities in “Iceland’s Second City”. The contemporary Akureyri Art Museum, the beautiful botanical gardens along with the town’s Lutheran church are top sites to visit. The church was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, the same famous architect responsible for Reyjavik’s renowned Hallgrímskirkja. He was also the mastermind behind the main building of the University of Iceland, the National Theatre of Iceland, and the Landakot Roman Catholic Cathedral in Reykjavík.
Dalvik: Iceland’s Ski Capital and Home to the Summer Fish Festival
Dalvik is great at any time of the year. If you come during the summer, aim to be here on the second Saturday of August. This when the town’s annual Fish Festival takes place. You get free samples of the fresh catch of the day from fish producers and locals alike at this outdoor seafood buffet. If you come in winter, you’re in for a real treat. The town may be small, but it’s located close to mountains known for fresh snowfall and fluffy powder. As the unofficial home of skiing and snowboarding in Iceland, this is one winter destination where you are sure to have a good time. You can walk to the slopes from town and rub shoulders with the professional winter sports athletes who train here. The Tröllaskagi peninsula actually has three ski resort in the area, but this one is no doubt the best.
Hofsós Hot Pot
Hofsós is a heated swimming pool located on the banks of the Skagafjörður fjord. It’s a nice escape from the crowds of places the like the Blue Lagoon. The infinity pool overlooks some of the most peaceful, stunning scenery you will come across in Iceland.
Main Stops on Iceland’s Ring Road: North Iceland
With the attractions on the Diamond Circle route, towns like Akureyri and Dalvik, the Hofsós geothermal pool, and the mysterious yet very cool Arctic Henge, it’s clear that the North has a ton to offer. The South Coast may be more famous and get more attention. But you’ll definitely miss out if you spend all of your time there. Keep going around the Ring Road, and you’ll discover the jewels of the North. We’re almost finished circumnavigating the island. Join us next time as we finish up with our final installment: West Iceland.