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Highlights of Akureyri

The Botanical Garden 

The garden is one of the northernmost botanical gardens in the world and is equally popular with locals and visitors. The public park was opened in 1912 and the botanical section in 1957. Currently, there are about 6,600 foreign species and over 400 native species, which makes the Botanical Garden an excellent choice for those wishing for a break from the daily stress.

Akureyri Church 

Akureyri church is one of the most recognisable landmarks in town. This Lutheran church was designed by renowned architect Guðjón Samúelsson and the bas-reliefs on the nave balcony are by sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson. The church steps are a particular highlight. Walking up the 100+ steps should be on everyone’s checklist of things to do when visiting Akureyri.

Akureyri Thermal Pool 

One of Akureyri’s most popular attractions, the Akureyri Thermal Pool is a great place to take your family, group, significant other or just yourself. Whether you’re relaxing in the warm water or splashing around with the kids, you’re bound to leave the pool feeling energised and refreshed. Recently renovated, the hot tubs, outdoor pools, and brand-new waterslides ensure everyone can find something to their liking.

Author Homes 

Akureyri has been home to many a respected poet and author in Iceland. Some of the more celebrated ones have earned the honour of having their homes preserved as a museum. They are Jón Sveinsson, better known as Nonni, author of autobiographical children’s books and Davíð Stefánsson, one of the most popular poets of the 20th century. Even if you’re not familiar with their work, their homes are still worth the visit for their historical value.

Hof Cultural Center  

The conference centre and concert hall known as Hof is Akureyri’s newest landmark. Its halls host everything from parties and exhibitions to theatrical events as well as meetings and receptions. Inside, you’ll find the tourist information centre, 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 means that you’ll recognise it as soon as you see it.

The Museum Church 

The biggest artefact in the collection of Akureyri Museum is the black-tarred church that stands on the hillside below the museum. The church was moved there from Svalbarð on the east side of Eyjafjörður fjord and was originally built in 1846. Very different from the architecturally impressive Akureyri church, this simple wooden church, with a lone white cross indicating that it is a house of worship, is a great example of churches built in the countryside in the 19th century.

Art Street

The street leading down from Akureyri church is colloquially known as Listagilið (Art Street) in Akureyri, since it’s home to several artist workshop and studios, as well as the newly renovated Akureyri Art Museum. The buildings that line the street used to house factories and industrial operations but have since been taken over by local artists and Akureyri Art Museum. Their work continues to enrich the vibrant cultural scene of Akureyri.

Hlíðarfjall

Hlíðarfjall is one of the best skiing areas of Iceland. The hallmarks of Hlíðarfjall are high-quality snow, extensive cross-country trails and exciting ski slopes with breathtaking views of Eyjafjörður fjord. Equipped with snowmaking machines and fully floodlit main runs, Hlíðarfjall promises great conditions all through winter, open from the end of November till early May.

Kjarnaskógur

South of Akureyri is Iceland’s most visited forest, Kjarnaskógur. The recreational 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 and cross-country skiing options. There are two playgrounds, picnic areas, barbecue facilities, a volleyball course and restrooms, making Kjarnaskógur the perfect outdoor area for nature lovers.

Krossanesborgir

Krossanesborgir nature reserve centres on rock formations, made of basalt, formed about ten thousand years ago, by glacial action during the Ice Age. With diverse birdlife in the area, Krossanesborgir is a bird-watcher’s paradise. Over 27 different birds or about 35% of all Icelandic bird species nest in the area, including a large number of ptarmigan. They can be viewed from a bird-watching cabin.

Glerárdalur & Mt Súlur

The mountain Súlur rises above the town in the southwest. Hiking to the peaks and back again takes about 5-6 hours and the hiking trail is popular with  locals. There are two peaks; the highest one reaching about 1,213m. The peaks are mainly made of light rhyolite (liparite) which is a volcanic material, created during volcanic eruptions around 8-9 million years ago.