Welcome to Akureyri

There is something for everyone in Akureyri, a beautiful town nestled between mountains and the deep blue sea, large enough to offer a rich selection of culture and entertainment, yet small enough to be very personal and close to nature.

visiting akureyri

Upon arrival many things will surely catch your eye at once. The first thing to strike you will probably be how steep some of the streets are. Since it was built by the sea, as it grew it only had one place to go – uphill! The ocean view from the bottom of the Eyjafjörður fjord is an impressive sight, balanced by the town panorama bearing the church as a crown on top of its steepest hill.

Akureyri is the biggest town outside of the Reykjavík area, and boasts of plenty of cafés, restaurants and activities, while still being small enough to offer the quietude of the countryside. It has become a favourite among tourists, both foreign and Icelandic, striking a balance between a city and a town.

Akureyri at a glance

Situated in north-east Iceland, in one of the longest fjords in the country, Akureyri is a town surrounded by mountains, reaching up to 1000-1500 m. The Arctic Circle in only 60 km north of the town, but despite that the climate is mild, with summer temperatures up to 25°C and winter temperatures on average around 0˚C.

Akureyri is the second largest urban area outside the capital area of Reykjavík, with a population of around 18.000. The town is the centre of trade and services in northern Iceland, while also being a town renowned for culture and education, with a very strong and well recognized university, giving Akureyri an air of life and excitement.

Akureyri is a popular tourist destination both for short and long visits. The town offers a wide range of activities and interesting places e.g. notable museums, the world’s most northerly botanic garden, one of Iceland’s most popular swimming facilities, 18-hole golf course, the best skiing area in the country, good hiking trails and to top it off, the public bus system in Akureyri is completely free!

Visitors to Akureyri can choose between varied accommodation, from top-class hotels, to hip and trendy backpacker’s hostels, and the town features an excellent range of restaurants, many of which specialize in locally sourced food.

Lastly, Akureyri is great base camp for many of Iceland’s most beautiful natural wonders, such as waterfalls, volcanic areas and canyons, as well as numerous exciting activities, such as rafting, hiking, caving, whale watching and horseback riding. So choosing Akureyri as a base for travels in the north of Iceland makes perfect sense on many levels. You enjoy the culture and the bustling life of the town, while still being just a short drive from some of the most magnificent sights Iceland has to offer.

Walking through town

One of the first things you’re likely to experience in Akureyri, is a stroll through the quaint town centre. There you can get acquainted with the friendly locals and experience the real atmosphere of the town. The centre is also a great place to shop in one of the numerous stores, grab a bite at one of the many restaurants, or sitting down for a cup of coffee at some of the cosy coffee houses of Akureyri. From the centre you could stroll through the Botanical Garden which has in recent years become one of the town’s most popular sites. Once inside, you have the garden’s wide collection of flora, including almost every type of plant growing in Iceland, with a total of 7.500 local and foreign specimens.

Further south from the garden you can discover the “Old Town” – the oldest part of town and home to many of the museums and historic buildings. Return back to the town centre along the new walking path at the seaside or Pollurinn as the locals call it and enjoy the views over the fjord on the way.

"Lover's Lane" in Kjarnaskógur

the great outdoors

Akureyri is a great place for the lover of the outdoors. Those fond of hiking or cycling can enjoy Akureyri’s many trails and routes; Glerá river is a beautiful place for a walk, Mt. Súlur is great for a hike, and in winter, Hlíðafjall is one of the best places in the country to go skiing. Strolling by the harbour will give an invigorating breeze from the ocean while Kjarnaskógur forest will leave you filled with peace and serenity.

For more healing energy, Akureyri has two different geothermal swimming pools which are perfect for kids and great for striking up a conversation with the locals, in addition to which it’s possible to bathe in hot tubs at different spas and gyms in town. Finally the famous Mývatn Nature Baths are only a bit over an hour’s drive from town.

Did You Know?

Akureyri is in a prime position to experience the midnight sun, due to its northern position. The summer solstice (occurring around the 20th of June each year) marks the suns highest point in the sky, when the sun doesn’t even go under the ocean surface for the whole 24 hours. From the beginning of June till middle of July is thus a great time to experience the midnight sun.