Xuenou > Featured > ‘I found rotten shark, Eurovision village, beer spa and 21 hours of daylight in Iceland’
‘I found rotten shark, Eurovision village, beer spa and 21 hours of daylight in Iceland’
'I found rotten shark, Eurovision village, beer spa and 21 hours of daylight in Iceland',A town in Iceland that famously has 21 hours of daylight is also a great setting for a beer spa, lava fields, and Northern Lights safaris - one reporter went to see if it's worth the trek

‘I found rotten shark, Eurovision village, beer spa and 21 hours of daylight in Iceland’

Let there be light – and in northern Iceland there is certainly an awful lot of it!

Akureyri is capital of the “light nights” which makes for a memorable destination for a break. During our summer visit to the Land of Ice and Fire there was only around two to three hours of darkness.

READ MORE: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's tourism boost to Wales calculated – and it's massive

However, there’s payback in winter as daylight only lasts around three hours – but your chances of seeing the northern lights increases hugely. We took advantage of the long days to pack in the activities, travelling west and then east along the Arctic Coast Way.

A short hop east of Akureyri – which will be easier to reach from the United Kingdom from October, see panel, right – is the magnificent Godafoss, known as “The Waterfall of the Gods”.

Viewing platforms offer fine views of the water which thunders past on the way to the Atlantic from the snow-capped mountains.

(Image: Getty Images)
Read More
Related Articles



  • Cruise passengers warned they can face hefty fines for drinks package mistake

    (Image: DAILY MIRROR)

    The tasty lava bread, a local speciality, is baked using the heat from the underwater springs, the source of natural heat which supplies Iceland’s National Grid.

    Heating the typical detached family home here is about £50 a month, enviable for cash-strapped Brits. Otherwise, the cost of living is very high; a two- or three-course dinner will set you back between £30 and £50, a beer around £7 for half a litre.

    Yes it is pricey, but Iceland offers some unforgettable holiday experiences. We tried another one of them, a tour in a 4.5 tonne six-door 4×4 called Moby Dick with huge tyres to conquer the rugged terrain.

    They kicked up mud and ice on the barren landscape en route to the flat mountain tops. When winter bites, try a snowmobile safari, search for the aurora, and wrap up for more icy adventures.

    The pretty village of Husavik, just along the coast road, could not be more different. The multicoloured wood-panelled homes featured in the 2020 Eurovision-themed movie The Story Of Fire Saga. Starring Will Ferrell, the musical comedy inspired the Eurovision museum in the village, a winning medley of costumes, kitsch and cocktails.

    It tells the story of the hit comedy-musical and Iceland’s Eurovision record (they have come second twice, in 1999 and 2009). Sipping a cocktail on the sun terrace is a very fine way to while away some time (eurovisionhusavik.com).

    Heading west to Siglufjordur took us to a salted codfish plant, and the Rotten Shark Club (ektafiskur.is/en). Its president Elvar Reykjalin, a dead ringer for Pierce Brosnan, has a restaurant by a black sandy beach.

    He has installed hot tubs with an honesty box for the £6 charge and field for campers and caravans.

    (Image: DAILY MIRROR)

    His hilarious one-man factory tour includes gutting a giant cod (he puts the eye in his mouth to scare his guests) and tasting the fabled Hákarl, which is Greenland shark, stored underground for weeks to ferment before it is ready to eat. As they say, an acquired taste! A fisherman since 1967, he invites tourists to take part in a welly-throwing contest with a difference… the rubber boot has to be held between your legs, and go over your back to fly over the top of your head.

    You can recover with salted cod on the Baccala Bar’s Viking veranda before heading for nearby Siglufjordur, where the Herring Era Museum takes you back to Iceland’s “Gold Rush”.

    For a period from around 1906, herring meat and oil were exported around the world, thanks to generations of “Herring Girls” working round the clock to top and tail the fish before putting it into barrels.

    Overfishing saw the herring population collapse back in 1969 and sadly put an end to the riches (sild.is/en).

    Bjorbodin’s nearby beer spa – next to the Kaldi micro brewery – offers a bath in brewer’s yeast, a mix of young beer, hops and fresh mountain water. Handily, there is a beer tap for a relaxing beverage while you bathe.

    (Image: DAILY MIRROR)

    Afterwards, visitors are encouraged to lie down, cocooned in a blanket, in a relaxation room, and to avoid any showers to get the maximum impact of the vitamin B-rich bathing waters. A brewery tour includes beer tasting.

    Iceland had a Prohibition-style booze ban until 1989. Before that, some of the island’s 366,000 inhabitants were reduced to making their own moonshine (bjorbodin.is/eng).

    We rounded off our two-day trip with a visit to the superb Forest Lagoon spa in Akureyri, where you can sip on yet another beer – or cocktail – while enjoying the 41C heat of its waters (forestlagoon.is).

    The spa was created when workers hit water as they dug a nearby tunnel through the mountain, to produce a brand new experience in an idyllic setting. A happy accident that made for the perfect end to a magical trip.

    Flight fantastic

    New direct flights to northern Iceland will start in the autumn.

    EasyJet will become the only UK airline to operate to Akureyri when it takes off from Gatwick, starting on October 31.

    Visit North Iceland tourism chief Arnheiður Jóhannsdóttir said Brits’ trips would be “filled with exciting activities and tranquil moments in unique nature, experiences ranging from relaxing geothermal spa visits to thrilling super jeep tours, whale watching, or northern lights hunting”.

    Book the holiday

    EasyJet holidays offers three nights on room only at the Kea by Keahotels in Akureyri, North Iceland, from £399 per person with 23kg baggage and flights from Gatwick on November 4. easyjet.com/en/holidays.

    • Tours and excursions can be booked via Musement at experiences.easyjet.com/uk.

    You can also get more information at visiticeland.com and northiceland.is.