Cruise Port: Akureyri

Akureyri lies at the top of Iceland, quite near the Arctic Circle. With a population of 18,000 it is a major regional centre in Iceland. It is also very familiar with welcoming cruise ships! However, it is quite disconcerting how the ships appear to dock in a small body of water that could possibly be deep enough!

We arrived on a lovely sunny day and walked from the pier into town where lots of shops, restaurants and cafes await. There are also six or more museums and a botanic gardens to visit along with an impressive church.

As you walk the main street, you will meet Grȳla and Leppalūdi the mother and father of the Thirteen Yule Lads. The Icelanders don’t have Santa Clause but Christmas is a very strong tradition. The thirteen somewhat mischievous lads begin appearing one each day from 12th December and the children put out a shoe for them. The next morning they may find in their shoe a sweet or a piece of fruit – or a potato if they have been naughty. While the father Leppalūdi is said to be lazy, the mother Grȳla is hard working and is reputed to EAT naughty children!

Take a photo with Grȳla and Leppalūdi and buy some souvenirs at the store that presents them.

Jill had read of a Christmas House at Akureyri and was determined to visit. It is about 15 minutes by car outside of town. We went to the taxi station early but all the taxis were in use. After trying a couple more times we were able to secure a cab at around 12:30 and sallied forth to the Christmas House. The driver knew where to go and was happy to wait while we explored and shopped before taking us back. There is something special about a place where it is Christmas all year round!

After a very pleasant day exploring Akureyri we were treated to scenic cruising on Eyjafjordur as we sailed away – made even better with some glasses of Moet Ice Imperial champagne on our stateroom verandah.