Bring on the bling! Shorexpert pays homage to the Port of Akureyri’s most popular tour; the aptly named ‘Jewels of the North’.
Speaking as a licensed tour guide – this is one of those God-sent tours that are always such a pleasure to guide. You just know that everybody on your bus is going to have a great day; no matter how unlucky you might be with the weather. Perfectly timed stretches of the most gorgeous scenic driving, seriously impressive photo stops and short but ‘long enough to leave a lasting impression’ walkabouts amongst awesome surroundings. Not just that, but there are an adequate number of clean loos conveniently placed along the way. Happy Days!
One of the tour’s highlights is a visit to Goðafoss, the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’, one of Iceland’s better known waterfalls. (That alone being quite an accomplishment given that Iceland has over 10,000 of them!) The falls are easily accessed by way of well marked walking paths and guests are given just enough time to explore the area on foot and take a few photographs. Keep in mind that this is also a ‘comfort stop’ so be sure to allocate your time accordingly – especially if you want to include a quick visit to the well-stocked souvenir shop.
Please also take into consideration that the spray from the waterfall may make surfaces underfoot wet and slippery, so please go carefully.
Insider’s Tip: Always feel free to ask your tour guide for advice when taking photos, they will know where and how to get the best/most impressive shots. They often have ideas for some surprising fun ones too!
So, why the name Waterfall of the Gods? Legend has it local Viking Chieftain, Þórgeir of Ljostvatn, threw his collection of Nordic idols into the falls as a public declaration of his conversion to Christianity in the year 1,000. A window in the Church of Akureyri illustrates this scene.
You can expect to encounter a LOT of volcanic phenomena on this tour – ancient and recent. Especially at Lake Mývatn and surroundings. Lava fields and craters of varying type, size and age encircle the beautifully abundant Lake Mývatn – which sees an impressive collection of nesting birds flock to its shores to brood every summer. Just a short drive away lies the high temperature thermal field of Námaskard where, amongst otherworldly steamy surroundings, numerous pungent thermal steam vents relentlessly splutter, hiss and gurgle to the delight of visitors and their smartphones! It goes without saying that you need to be extra vigilant when using your camera or smartphone at any hot spring area. Please be aware of your surroundings at all times and always stay on the designated path ways. Accidents can and will happen.. Please stay safe.
Another of the tour highlights is a visit to Dimmuborgir (Dark Castles) – a natural lava labyrinth whose striking lava sculptures are one of the most popular natural attractions in Iceland. The lava field was formed in an eruption around 2,300 years ago and the dramatic black landscape with its characteristic hollows, caves and pillars was formed following the collapse of a huge lava lake. In Icelandic folklore Dimmuborgir is believed to be the place where Satan landed when he was cast from the heavens and created these so-called ‘Catacombs from Hell’. Easy to see why!
But the time to really let your imagination run riot, is as you witness the stark beauty of the Mývatn lunar landscapes roll by. This is the tour’s ‘set-jetting’ moment and as every credible Game of Thrones fan worth their weight will tell you, this is the area known in the popular series as being North of the Wall – so best keep up your guard up, there could be White Walkers around…
The ‘Jewel’s of the North’ and Lake Mývatn tour is a definite must for any first time visitor to Akureyri – Game of Thrones fans included!
But keep in mind that it is a best seller, so you should think about booking it very soon after you make your cruise reservation. You won’t regret it…
Your only regret might be looking into booking it too late and discovering that it has sold out.