Strategically situated and easily accessible by the Ring Road, Akureyri, is a city that you won’t want to miss! With a population of just over 18,000, you wouldn’t believe how much goes on in and around this little piece of heaven. No wonder they call it the “Northern Capital” of Iceland!
Located about 6 hours by bus, 4 hours by car and only 45 minutes by plane from Reykjavik and surrounded by unbeatable jaw-dropping landscapes, Akureyri is definitely worth visiting for a day or two. The town is bordered by beautiful valleys and mountains, and sits on the west side of Eyjafjörður Fjord.
Flying into Akureyri itself has its major perks: On a clear day, you have a birds-eye view of Iceland’s northern territory with its magnificent rock formations, glaciers, rivers and if you try hard, you can spot the volcano Holuhraun in the far, far distance. It is worth mentioning that the landing strip at Akureyri’s airport has water on both sides and therefore your landing will definitely give you a rush of adrenaline! The airport also offers daily flights to Grimsey Island, Iceland’s only territory extending into the Arctic Circle where you can spot puffins and if you’re lucky encounter the locals. Keep in mind that with its population of about 150 inhabitants the chance of spotting any form of human life during your visit is pretty slim.
Although quite small, Akureyri offers all the amenities and activities that any bigger city has: Within the city center, there are numerous restaurants, shops and hotels to suit all expectations and budgets. If you want take a dip in a pool for some exercise or just to use the hot tubs one of the best swimming pools in the country with inside and outdoor pools, hot tubs and children’s pools is just around the corner from the city center. Akureyri also has a lovely botanical garden, Lystigarðurinn, perfect for an afternoon stroll during the summer months. There is also a grand church located in the heart of the city that you can visit during a day out. If you’re more of a creative artsy soul, you can wander around downtown and admire some of the amazing street art and murals Akureyri has to offer. If you however feel even more adventurous, you could always opt to try one of the best rafting spots in Iceland or explore the tranquility of the countryside by horseback.
As previously mentioned Akureyri’s geographical location makes it a good starting or stopping point for various sightseeing outings. You will be stunned by the difference in landscapes, colors and formations that are only a bit of a stretch from each other: The fascinating Lake Myvatn area is only a couple of hours drive from the Northern Capital.
Dettifoss, considered Europe’s most powerful waterfall and Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods) are also in close proximity of Akureyri. The sulphur fields are another interesting attraction in the area providing a sight—and smell that will be hard to forget. If you’re looking for a quiet retreat, there are numerous geothermal rivers and hiking trails around the city that you could easily access by car.