Highlights of Akureyri

There are countless of stunning things to see and experience in a town such as Akureyri, whether you like nature, adventure, wildlife or culture. Here we’ve listed some of the highlights of the town that of course come highly recommended!

Hlíðarfjall

For nearly 50 years the mountain Hlíðarfjall has been one of the prime skiing areas of Iceland. The hallmarks of Hlíðarfjall are high quality snow, extensive cross country trails and exciting ski slopes with breath-taking views of Eyjafjörður. Equipped with snow making machines and fully floodlit main runs, Hlíðarfjall promises great conditions all through winter, open from the end of November till early May, and is a must-visit spot during your winter break to Akureyri.

The Botanical Garden

The garden is one of the northern most botanical gardens in the world, and is equally popular both with locals and visitors. The Public Park was opened in 1912 but the Botanic section in 1957. Currently there are about 6600 foreign species and over 400 native species, which makes the Botanic Garden an excellent choice for those wishing for a break from the daily stress.

The Old Town

If you take a stroll from the Akureyri’s central towards south you will walk through the history of early Akureyri, past the old Theatre, the old Primary School , and the Old Hospital built in 1827, the first two-storied house raised in Iceland and the oldest building in Akureyri the Laxdalshús built in 1795. You will also have the possibility to visit several museums such as Nonni’s House and Sigurhæðir.

Akureyri Church

The Akureyri church is one of the most recognizable symbols of the town, with the church steps being a particular highlight. Walking the steps is one of the things everyone should do when visiting Akureyri. This Lutheran church was designed by renowned architect Guðjón Samúelsson, while the bas-reliefs on the nave balcony are by sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson. The church is considered one of the most beautiful landmarks of Akureyri.

Akureyri geothermal Pool

One of the most popular attractions of Akureyri, the Akureyri Geothermal Pool is a great stop for everyone – be they individuals, couples, families or groups. With a wide range of facilities and features, this is your one-stop place for relaxation as well as action. The 4 hot tubs, two 25m outdoor pools and waterslides, ensure here everyone can find something to their liking.

Kjarnaskógur

South of Akureyri is Iceland’s most visited forest Kjarnaskógur. The recreational area has more than 1 million trees of many species planted within the last 50 years. The area has a 7km lighted trail in addition to a vast network of backcountry trails, as well as a 10km long designated mountain bike trail. There are two playgrounds, picnic areas, barbeque facilities a volley ball course and of course restrooms, making Kjarnaskógur a perfect outdoors area for everyone.

Bird Watching

Many good places for bird watching are within Akureyri and its surroundings. Four bird watching cabins are available for birdwatchers in the area, three within the town itself and one in the island Hrísey which also belongs to Akureyri. These cabins  are placed in the following areas, Naustaborgir, Krossanesborgir, at the estuary of river Eyjafjarðará and in the island Hrísey.

The Arts Alley

The centre of cultural life in Akureyri is on Kaupvangsstræti, which curves through Grófargil in the middle of Akureyri, nicknamed the Arts Alley. For a long time, there were extensive industrial operations there that gradually moved elsewhere, freeing up a lot of housing that perceptive people saw was ideal for all kinds of art activities, including: Akureyri Art Museum, the Akureyri School of Visual Arts, smaller galleries, the multipurpose Deiglan and Ketilhús and more.

Glerárdalur & mt. Súlur

The mountain Súlur is the Town-mountain of Akureyri, rising above the town in south-west. There is a popular walking path up to the peaks, which take about 5-6 hours forth and back. The starting point is from a parking lot in the valley Glerárdalur. The peaks are two; the highest one reaching about 1213 meters. The peaks are mainly made of light rhyolite (liparit) which is a volcanic material, created during volcanic eruptions around 8-9 million years ago.

Krossanesborgir

Krossanesborgir was made a sanctuary in 2005. It consists of rock formations, made of basalt which is about 5-10 million years old. Most of the rocks are formed by the icecap covering the area during the ice age about 10 thousand years ago. Between the rocks one can find moors and ponds. Vegetation is rich in the area and consists of around 200 different plants. The area also has a variated birdlife, over 27 different birds or about 35% of all Icelandic birds nest in the area.

Hearts of Town

All over Akureyri, you will find hearts—in the traffic lights, in the windows in people’s homes and other peculiar places. The hearts appeared following the financial crash of 2008, when there was a need for positive thinking and to put an emphasis on what really matters.

Gamli skóli – The Old School

Or “Old School.” This beautiful wooden house is a part of Menntaskólinn á Akureyri (Akureyri’s Junior College) and was built in 1904. Today it houses the faculty members of the school, classrooms and the old music hall. If you’re headed to the Botanical Garden it’s almost right in its back yard!

hof cultural center

Akureyri’s newest landmark is a popular choice for various events such as conferences, parties and exhibitions. It has also been used for theatrical events as well as meetings and receptions. Inside you’ll find the ever important tourist information center, as well as a bistro and a design shop, for those looking for some cool Nordic design. It’s located only minutes away from downtown and its unique design will give it away once in sight.

Akureyri