6 Cities to visit in Iceland that aren't Reykjavik
The in-house travel experts from Travelade, the largest collection of personally-curated digital travel guides, offer their advice on the best of Iceland, beyond Reykjavik.
Ísafjörður is a small town, located by Ísafjarðardjúp Fjord in the relatively remote Westfjords Peninsula. It is nevertheless the largest town in the region, boasting a population of just under 3,000 people.
Ísafjörður is the most important cultural and educational hub in the region and the townscape is characterised by the contrast of awe-inspiring mountains and small quirky houses.
The best time of the year to visit is during Easter, which is also when the Aldrei fór ég suður music festival takes place. At this time of year, the population of the town doubles and there are music and various events everywhere.
Seyðisfjörður is a charming little town in the East Fjords of Iceland, famous for its thriving art scene and stunning natural surroundings.
In the minds of many, Icelandic artists say that Seyðisfjörður is the perfect place to visit to escape the busy city life. In our opinion, the summers are the best time of year to visit as, during this time, the sun barely sets.
Akureyri, sometimes dubbed as “the capital of North Iceland”, is the second biggest town in Iceland. It’s a little bit like a miniature version of Reykjavik, except the weather in Akureyri is normally much nicer—at least according to the locals!
On a nice day, we recommend that you stroll around the Akureyri Botanical Gardens, go for ice cream at the iconic Brynja ice cream parlour, and awaken your inner child on the water slides at the Akureyri’s swimming pool.
Húsavík has established itself as one of the leading whale-watching towns in Iceland, as sightings are very common in the area.
The scenery in this area is breathtaking and Húsavík has become even more popular after the "GeoSea" geothermal sea baths opened in 2018.
Ideally, your visit to Húsavík would consist of whale watching and soaking in geothermal water by the ocean. On winter nights, you may catch a glimpse of the northern lights. If you have time, drive to the nearby Tjörnes, known for its abundance of fossils.
Thanks to its laid-back atmosphere, Djúpivogur is the first (and only) town in Iceland that has been granted an international Cittaslow (Slow Town) status. The village epitomises the slow-paced way of life that used to be the norm in most small towns.
In our opinion, Djúpivogur is the perfect town to visit to unwind, relax, and escape from a stressful daily routine. The town’s biggest tourist attraction, apart from its tranquillity, is a rather impressive outdoor sculpture called The Eggs of Merry Bay by Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson.
If you want to visit an authentic Icelandic fishing village, Siglufjörður (on the Troll Peninsula in North Iceland) is a perfect choice. It used to be an important fishing town in the early 20th century but when the herring stocks started to decline in the seventies, the town’s population shrank significantly.
Today, the town only has around 1,000 inhabitants. Siglufjörður is a fantastic destination to visit in the winter, especially if you’re a keen skier. Make sure you don’t miss the Herring Era Museum, which is a very interesting museum dedicated to the times when Siglufjörður used to be a large town full of opportunities.
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