Akureyri, 240 km (150 miles) north-east of the capital Reykjavik, is one of Iceland's oldest towns, and became a trading centre under the Danes almost 400 years ago when Denmark still had a monopoly over all trade with Iceland. It features picturesque historic houses set below snowcapped peaks, botanical gardens and several museums. It is the largest settlement outside the south-west of Iceland, and one of the country's largest cities. The name means "Meadow Sandspit" in Icelandic.
Situated at the lower end of Eyjafjördur, you can visit the villages of Dalvik and Hauganes along its shore, or the islands of Hrisey and Grimsey. Go inland to explore Lake Myvatn (lake of midges), a famous bird sanctuary and site of one of the world's largest concentrations of breeding ducks. En route to Lake Myvatn, you'll encounter amazing lava formations, pseudo craters, and the Grotagja fissure, once used as a public bath. Stop at Godafoss waterfall where, according to legend, the Nordic gods Odin and Thor watch over Iceland, before arriving at Myvatn, in an interesting and lush geological area where the bird and fish life is abundant. Explore the Krafla area, with its enormous lava fields. At Namaskard, marvel at the impressive sight of boiling sulfuric mud-pools and steam vents.
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