Driving into Iceland’s ‘northern capital’ Akureyri in November is like arriving at some sort of fantastical winter wonderland.
Here, a small city sits on the shores of fjord surrounded by snow capped mountains. There are children in puffy onesie snow suits and mittens looking like little marshmallows, red heart traffic lights and decidedly Scandinavian homes all boxy with white rimmed windows and colourful exteriors.
It’s a little bit lovely…
Our party of four arrived in Akureyri just before sundown (about 4:30pm when we visited in early November). Although it didn’t give us much daylight to explore, we were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset.
Our accommodation for our two nights in the north was a super-stylish cabin, just across the Eyjafjörður from Akureyri, high on a hill. We got the most stunning views over Akureyri, all twinkly and lit up.
Adam, who’s been a keen northern lights watcher for years, had been keeping his eye on a special app that tells you when the aurora borealis may possibly be seen. We got lucky that evening and were treated to a five hour light show. My pictures really don’t do this amazing natural spectacle justice. Slightly green streaks across the sky appear and then gradually they light up, sometimes dancing and moving. It was utterly breath taking. The fact we watched much of the sky show from our own hot tub was really the icing on the cake. We must of looked a right band of clowns jumping in and out of the water to take pictures! It was truly a special night.
The following day, a big dump of snow was expected. We curtailed plans to drive the hour and half or so around to Mývatn (which was a bit disappointing, as it looks absolutely beautiful) to mooch around Akureyri.
We took a drive around the surrounding the area, marvelling at the snowy landscape surrounding us.
There was just enough time before the snow started to fall to have a wander around downtown Akureyri.
Our afternoon was spent watching the snow, reading, doing a puzzle and generally embracing the Scandinavian concept of hygge, which is easy when your accommodation looks like this!
Early the following morning we bid our lovely cabin goodbye. There’d been a significant amount of snow overnight and we had a long drive ahead of us. Watching the sun rise in the mountains was pretty amazing though and made the dark start to the day worth it.
We followed the same road we’d driven into Akureyri on, but now it looked completely different. It was a little slippery on the roads at time, but we managed to arrive at our next stop, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with enough light for a little sight-seeing.