disability cruising, Handicap, Traveling with disabilities

Disabled Cruisers Guide to Akureyri, Iceland

Akureyri, Iceland

The disabled cruiser visiting Akureyri will enjoy that it is a small town with paved streets and sidewalks. Most other towns you may visit should be fine as a lot of the roads are paved. 

In terms of natural sites, there will be limits to what you will be able to see. Some places are paved, others are gravel, still others expect you to jump over areas or climb wet rocks to really see what’s going on. Geysir will be navigable, jokulsarlon it will depend (lots of sand, lost of stoney areas), Gulfoss will not be able to go all the way. A lot of minor waterfalls or natural wonders might not be doable. It is possible to see many places from the car park.

Access for the Disabled Cruiser using bus service in and around Akureyri will need to be completely self-sufficient with getting in and out of the bus. Their traveling companion will need to help in taking out the ramp or ask bus driver for assistance. Unfortunately there is no access for wheelchairs on board the buses that operate outside the capital area.

Akureyri, Iceland

Akureyri is a town in northern Iceland, located in the Atlantic Ocean.

Attractions include Lake Myvatn and Myvatn Nature Baths, the Goðafoss waterfalls and the Akureyri Botanical Gardens.

Within the Akureyri town limits there are many recreation areas and hiking paths.

The Akureyri church is the symbol of Akureyri.

Gásir (around 11km away) is a medieval trading place and was the main trading post in northern Iceland during the Middle Ages. Archaeological digging has shown it was a trading post up to the 16th century.

The Northern Lights – also called Aurora Borealis, can frequently be seen in Akureyri and the surrounding area from September through April on clear and crisp nights.

Around 10 minutes drive from Akureyri, is the Jólagarðurinn or ‘Christmas garden’. Inside you’ll discover Christmas decorations from all over the world, along with traditional Icelandic Christmas items and selected local handicrafts.

There are many museums here including the Aviation, Akureyri and Art Museums.

Where You’re Docked

Cruise ships dock at Odderarbryggja pier which is around 1km from the center of town. Ships can also anchor and tender passengers ashore.

Car hire and a small number of taxis are available.

Good to Know

It’s not called Iceland for nothing; bring lots of layers, as well as a hat and scarf, because the wind can make the air feel much chillier than the temperature reads.

Getting Around

On Foot: Akureyri is extremely walkable. The town center is less than 10 minutes from the cruise port.

By Taxi: Taxis, located on the street across from the cruise terminal parking lot, are available for two to six-hour private tours. Prices are displayed on a street placard and include gratuity; Iceland is not a tipping culture.

By Car: The Lake Myvatn area has many sites you can visit on your own if you have a car. Europcar has a rental office within the cruise terminal, and other familiar brands are a short walk away. Reservations are recommended in the prime summer months (June, July and August).

Shopping

Shops are mainly concentrated in two places, the city center along the street Hafnarstæti and in the shopping mall Glerártorg by the street Glerárgata. Ceramics, woollen knitwear, glassware and silver jewelry are popular souvenirs.

Much of Iceland’s cuisine is based on fish, lamb, and dairy products, with little or no use of herbs or spices. Traditional dishes also include skyr, hákarl (cured shark), cured ram, singed sheep heads and black pudding. Puffin is considered a local delicacy.

Points of Interest

  • Godafoss Waterfall – The ‘Waterfall of the Gods’ is one of Iceland’s most beautiful and popular attractions. The rushing glacial waters of the Skjalfandafljot River its carved canyon. For the Disabled Cruiser the waterfall is very accessible from the parking lot. The paths to the viewing platforms are well paved and can accommodate wheelchairs. There are two parking lots which take you to either the east side or west side of the falls with different views.
  • Botanical Garden – This public park possesses samples of most of the Icelandic flora as well as about 7,500 plants from around the world. It’s a peaceful retreat where you can get away from the bustle of the town. The Disabled Cruiser will encounter smooth and flat pathways. The paths are small gravel and some area are cobbles.
  • Námaskarð Pass – Located near the still active Krafla volcano is a geologic expanse of boiling mud pools and steaming vents that exhibit the sheer power of the earth’s natural forces within.
  • Lake Myvatn – This area is Europe’s largest bird sanctuary where there is a magical mixture of lush vegetation set among the ethereal lava spires. See an amazing array of species indigenous to Iceland.
  • Laufas Folk Museum – Built in 1865, these well-preserved turf houses are now museum pieces that offer a glimpse of how people used to live in Laufás during the 17th century. For the Disabled Cruiser, most of the site is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Myvatn Nature Baths – Experience a dip in the geothermal natural baths that originate from fissures deep within the earth. Enjoy warm, soothing waters claiming to be beneficial for your mind and body.
  • Husavik Whale Center – This fishing village is famous for whale sightings, and its Whale Center features exhibits on Iceland’s whaling history, as well as the biology of these gentle giants.
  • Hrísey Island – Formerly a base for herring processing and export until the herring vanished in the late 1960s, now it’s known as an ideal vantage point to view the Midnight Sun in early summer.

Akureyri Accessible Excursions

Akureyri is the capital of the northern part of Iceland and serves as the gateway to an area full of stunning waterfalls. It’s also the place that Icelanders head when they want some sun. From here, it is a short trip to the magical and mystical Dimmuborgir area and its ominous black castles.

There are no organized accessible shore excursions in Akureyri. Disabled Cruisers are encouraged to use the handicapped accessible taxis for a private tour of Akureyri.

For Akureyri Accessible Excursions please click here.

Disability-Cruising.com

cjlphotos.com

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