This comprehensive tour of Akureyri visits its marquee attractions, including Santa's House, where you'll discover the usual customs behind Iceland's Christmas celebration.
Depart from the pier and enjoy a leisurely drive through Akureyri, a town of 17,000 nestled at the end of Iceland's longest fjord. Surprisingly, this area of the country boasts a warm microclimate where plants thrive, as you'll see in the Akureyri Public Parkland Botanical Garden, the world's most northern botanical garden. Strolling the grounds, you'll delight in the riot of colors and fragrances from thousands of native and exotic species.
From here, it's on to the Nonni Museum, the childhood home of famed children's book author and Jesuit priest Jón Sveinsson, whose nickname was Nonni. Built in 1850, it's one of Akureyri's oldest houses and has become a museum dedicated to the life's work of one of Iceland's most beloved figures.
Next, you'll explore another truly Icelandic attraction: Santa's House, a store devoted to all things Christmas. Inside the gingerbread-style building, you'll find Christmas decorations from around the world and learn how Iceland celebrates the holiday through 13 different Santas, a group affectionately known as the Yuletide Lads. Children in Iceland will leave a shoe in the window the 13 nights before Christmas for each of the Yuletide Lads to leave a gift in.
Finally, you'll explore downtown Akureyri starting at the Artists' Alley, the center of Akureyri's cultural life, followed by a stop at a Lutheran church whose modern design has become a symbol of the city. Afterwards, transfer directly back to the cruise ship pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of moderate walking/standing and there are about 20 steps at the Santa's House. Some locations require negotiating rough pathways and can be muddy. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing that should include a water/wind proof jacket; cap; sunglasses; and comfortable, flat walking shoes with a non-slip sole are recommended.