If you’re exploring the wonders of Iceland by rental car, you couldn’t do much better than the trip from Reykjavik to Akureyri. Don’t miss these sights!

If you want to really experience the wild nature of Iceland’s landscapes and sights, there is no better way than a road trip across the country. Complete independence allows you to spend as much or as little time wherever you see fit with total freedom as to what spots you visit on your way. Driving across Iceland couldn’t be easier, but you might be in need of some inspiration.

To get you started on planning your road trip, we’re here to help. A popular trip for adventurers of all ages is the journey between Reykjavik and Akureyri. The journey will only take between 4 and 5 hours if the weather is good, meaning you are free to stop as much as you wish along the way with ample time. Read on for our ultimate guide for things to do and see on the road from Reykjavik to Akureyri.

For tips on how to remain safe on your journey, Sadcars provide all the advice you need to be safe in Iceland.

Where to Stay Between Akureyri and Reykjavik

Where to stay will depend on your personal itinerary and what you plan to see on your trip between Akureyri and Reykjavik. You should research your route and check places that are likely to be on this route - popular towns for stops and stays include Staður, Borðeyri, and Hvammstangi, which are all around halfway on your journey, making them perfect places to stay between Akureyri and Reykjavik. 

If you are looking to start a different trip around Iceland, check out our blog with the best road trips to take in Iceland.

 Road through Iceland landscape

Near Reykjavik

Most people start their Icelandic adventures or road trips from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. Reykjavik is a hub of activity, with plenty to discover in the way of nightlife, restaurants, museums and galleries. A list of our top things to do near Reykjavik follows:

  • National Museum of Iceland: The museum has a huge array of objects on display from the settlement age up to the present day, telling the story of the country’s Viking past.
  • Sun Voyager: This enormous boat sculpture is iconic to Reykjavik and is a stunning addition to the city’s coastline.
  • Hallgrímskirkja: This church is one of the best known Icelandic landmarks. As the largest church in the country, it is visible across the city and offers stunning views from the top of the tower.
  • Kermóafoss: Though Kermóafoss is close to Reykjavik, there is no sight of the city when you are standing at the waterfall. Hiking around this valley is stunning and one place not to be missed on your road trip.

Rocky outcrops in white sand beach of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Snaefellsnes Peninsula

It’s hard to miss the Snaefellsnes Peninsula as you track the west coast of Iceland on your way from the capital of Reykjavik to Akureyri. While a small area, this peninsula contains a wealth of stunning views and attractions to stop at on your journey. We recommend driving along road numbers 54 and 56 for some stunning views from the car with plenty of opportunities to get out and explore. Below are just a few of these to get you stuck in Iceland’s nature.

  • Snaefellsjokull National Park: This National park, one of 3 in Iceland, extends right to the shoreline and includes numerous attractions full of folklore stories. Not to mention Snæfellsjökull itself, a glacier measuring 1446 metres tall sitting on top of a 700,000-year-old stratovolcano. 
  • Ytri Tunga beach: The black sand beaches of Iceland are left behind at Yrti Tunga beach. The golden and the colony of seals make for a gorgeous sight in the summer sun.
  • Kirkjufell mountain: Kirkjufell mountain is known as one of the most beautiful mountains in the world and the most photographed in Iceland. You may even recognise this iconic mountain if you watch Game of Thrones.
  • Lýsuhólslaug Geothermal pool: Take a relaxing soak after a day of adventure in the delightfully warm and mineral-enriched waters of the Lýsuhólslaug geothermal pool. 

 Mountain region covered in snow in Iceland

Snaefellsnes Peninsula to Akureyri

The clockwise Ring Road to Akureyri from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is also home to various attractions and stunning views. As a lesser-driven part of the country, you will find you often have the roads and the vistas to yourself, so make the most of the privacy. The following attractions make great additions to this leg of your journey:

  • Icelandic Seal Center: You will find the Icelandic Seal Center in Hvammstangi, just a short detour from the Ring Road. Learn about Iceland’s different species of Seal and other wildlife in the area.
  • Bergárfoss: This small but stunning waterfall is another short diversion from the Ring Road not to miss. It is possible to walk behind the powerful waters for a magical experience, with beautiful nearby hiking opportunities.
  • Þrístapar: Three small hills are given the name Þrístapar and mark the site of the last execution that took place in Iceland in 1830. 

 Sunny view of an Icelandic landscape near to Akyreyri

Near Akureyri

For a small town like Akureyri, there is a surprising amount to keep you and your family busy. Whether you’re looking to wander around the charming buildings or venture further afield for some more of Iceland’s breathtaking natural landscapes, Akureyri is the perfect place to do either or both. The following sites and attractions are easily accessible from the town of Akureyri:

  • Mývatn Region: The geology of this region is totally unique, with violent eruptions having created stunning lava formations and volcanic craters.
  • Akureyri Botanical Gardens: Thousands of species of plants can be seen in this 3.6-hectare park in Akureyri, fit with a cafe for tired legs.
  • Detifoss: While a short drive east from Akureyri, the most powerful waterfall in Europe is a must-see for all adventurers.

Now you know where to go, all that’s left is to book your rental vehicle! Browse our range of rental cars today to find the perfect model for your Iceland adventure.