North Iceland is a bucket-list of must-experience majesty. As the capital of the north, Akureyri is Iceland’s second-largest city and provides a fantastic base from which to explore fjords, the Arctic Ocean, and the volcanic desert. Travelling to the northern tip of Eyjafjörður delivers you to the once-rich herring village of Siglufjörður. Head east on the Diamond Circle to visit cetaceanophilic Húsavík, the volcanic fantasia of Lake Mývatn, and the glacial waterfall Dettifoss. In summer months, you have great access to the Icelandic highlands with highlights of Hveravellir’s geothermal area and Askja caldera. The remote northeast is a coastal paradise for birdlife, well worth a visit for those craving rural beauty. To help you out, here’s the best museum in North Iceland and the runner-ups.
Snorragata 10, Siglufjörður
The only Icelandic winner of the European Museum Award, the Herring Era Museum in Siglufjörður is Iceland’s largest maritime museum. One panellist described The Herring Era Museum as “an amazing artwork, where you are tele-transported to the past and the excitement of the great herring rush in Sigló.” Another panellist enthused, “Awesome museum covering ‘the herring adventures’ that made this small town one of the richest in the world.”
Hafnarstétt 1, Húsavík
The Húsavík Whale Museum is the perfect partner to the town’s popular whale watching tours. The museum emphasises North Atlantic whale species through exhibitions on whale evolution, biology and ecology. There is also the option to learn about the history of the whale industry in Iceland.
Kaupvangsstræti 8-12, Akureyri
Refurbished last year during its 25th anniversary, this world-class art gallery features contemporary exhibitions by local and international artists. In 2019 and 2020, Iceland’s Venice Biennale representative Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (a.k.a. Shoplifter) will exhibit work here. Akureyri Art Museum is also home to A!, an annual international performance art festival.
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