Car Hire from Akureyri Airport
North Iceland is a land of extremes. With lush farmland to volcanic deserts, rugged mountains and picturesque fjords, it’s the natural landscapes that draw visitors to this area of the country. However, North Iceland’s towns also provide a wealth of activities, with their many museums, arts venues and wonderful restaurants. Hiring a car from Akureyri Airport is one of the only ways to get around in this isolated part of the country and a great way to see far flung destinations on the must see list.
Where to hire a car at Akureyri Airport
Avis, Budget, Europcar, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty all offer car hire facilities from Akureyri Airport. Their offices are located in the car rental area at the small terminal building.
Petrol Stations near Akureyri Airport
If you need to return your hire car with a full tank of petrol, you’ll find a petrol station less than 10 minutes’ drive from the airport. It’s a Shell garage located in Akureyri on route 1 before you reach the 821 road heading directly to the airport.
Driving around Akureyri Airport
Akureyri Airport sits on route 821 which travels south towards Hrafnagil and north towards Akureyri. Northbound, the road joins route 1, a bigger road travelling almost completely around Iceland’s perimeter. To the east you’ll come to Laugar and Ranga while to the west there’s Bakki and Blonduos.
Driving around Iceland is a relatively straight forward affair. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you keep to the rules and stay safe. Drivers always need to use their dipped headlights, even when travelling during the day, and should ensure their car has winter tyres if they’re travelling between November and April.
The main route 1 ring road around Iceland is well-maintained but there are sometimes closures due to weather conditions. It’s always a good idea to check highway information before travelling. Beyond route 1 and particularly in the highlands, many roads are little more than gravel tracks. For this reason, you may want to consider hiring a 4WD.
Getting to your destination
Flying into Akureyri Airport and hiring a car, you’ll find a number of incredible destinations within easy driving distance. Here are a few of them:
Akureyri is referred to as Iceland’s northern capital. It sits on the edge of a picturesque fjord and is home to a number of museums, art galleries and the impressive botanical gardens. The city acts as a base from which to explore the surrounding countryside and make trips to see the northern lights. There’s a great selection of local villages and national parks to choose from and lots of outdoor activities including hiking, horse riding, golf and fishing.
The city of Akureyri is less than 10 minutes’ drive from Akureyri Airport, taking route 821 north along the edge of the fjord. Street parking in the city is free but time limited, varying from just 15 minutes to several hours depending on how centrally you park your car. You’ll need to pick up a parking clock from a local petrol station or tourist information. Set the clock to the time of your arrival and put it in your windscreen to avoid getting a ticket.
Lake Myvatn was formed thousands of years ago by a volcanic eruption. Around the lake, visitors will find some spectacular scenery including waterfalls, bubbling mud pools, caves, natural hot springs and massive volcanic craters. There’s some great birdlife and lots of outdoor activities to enjoy. Hiking, cycling and horse riding around the lake are all popular options. If you visit in the winter when the lake has frozen over, there’s also the opportunity to go go-karting on the lake itself.
It takes just over an hour to reach Lake Myvatn from Akureyri Airport. Drivers should take route 821 north and then pick up route 1 east, crossing to the opposite side of the fjord. There are car parks available around the lake, many acting as the starting points for great hiking routes, and close to the major attractions.
Husavik is Iceland’s whale watching capital. It’s just a short boat ride from Husavik harbour to the open Greenland Sea and visitors are almost guaranteed to get a look at majestic humpback, minke and blue whales. There are also a number of museums in the small town, horse riding excursions and a range of beautiful nature spots in the surrounding countryside.
Husavik is around 70 minutes’ drive from Akureyri Airport, taking route 821 north, route 1 east and then picking up the 85 to head further north to the coast. The town is small and easy to navigate with plenty of on street parking available.