Akureyri stands strong as Iceland’s second largest city outside Iceland’s capital area. With only 18.000 inhabitants, it is a wonder how such a small town can generate so much buzz. It has cool and cosy cafés, superb restaurants, and a very decent nightlife considering the size of the town. With its relaxed attitude and extensive food and accommodation choices, it is the natural base for exploring North Iceland.
Akureyri is located at the bottom of Eyjafjordur, which is Iceland’s longest fjord (60 km long). Unlike many small towns in Iceland, Akureyri stays vibrant throughout the year. In summer, visitors, both Icelanders and from around the world shape the vibe of the town and it becomes especially lively as Akureyri is a popular docking place for cruise ships. During winter, lively winter festivals and some of Iceland’s best skiing provide plenty of low-season appeals.
The town serves as a centre of trade, culture, and services for the north of Iceland. It is closely associated with educational institutions and cultural events, all of those having strong traditional roots. It is an important port and fishing centre, and the growth of the tourist industry has now an important role in the life of the town.
It is worth mentioning that Akureyri topped Lonely Planet’s list of ten best places to visit in Europe in 2015. Read Lonely Planet’s full review here.
The Guardian made a list of top destination and highlights Akureyri saying it is a great destination in its own right, as well as a starting point for exploring some of the island’s most dramatic sights. See here.
- The Botanic Garden – most of the Icelandic flora as well as about 7000 foreign plants.
- The Art Museum and Arts‘ Alley
- Sundlaug Akureyrar –Two outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, play areas and water slides.
- Whale watching from the pier below the centre of town
- Restaurants – promoting local food
- Kjarnaskógur – wood, trails and playgrounds
- The old town – old houses and museums
- Golf course – The northernmost 18-hole golf course and the competition “Arctic Open”
- Glerárgil – canyon and trails
- Hrísey – small island, village, culture and trails
- Akureyri Town Festival – end of August each year
- Beer from Víking/Einstök and Kaldi – Local breweries
- Ice-cream – locals’ favourite in the store Brynja
- Akureyrarkirkja – church, design and interior
- Hlíðarfjall – The best skiing area in the country
- The hidden world of Akureyri – hidden beings, elves and dwarfs
- The Arctic Circle in the island Grímsey (25 min flight from Akureyri or three-hour ferry ride from Dalvík)