Situated at the base of Eyjafjörður in the north of Iceland, Akureyri portrays scenes of Icelandic Christianity and diverse landscapes. It’s time to discover Iceland’s other city.
It’s quite easy to walk around Akureyri with many of the city’s main attractions within walking distance of each other, but there are buses and taxis around town as well.
Akureyri’s main attraction sits atop a hill in the heart of the city, Akureyrarkirkja, a Lutheran church. The church is characterised by stained-glass windows, a clock and a large pipe organ. Climb the stairs to the base of the church for beautiful views over the city and the fjord.
If you’re travelling around Iceland you’ll soon realise that there isn’t much in the way of trees and flowers with much of the landscape comprised of moss-covered lava fields. That makes Akureyri Botanical Garden a beautiful spot to stroll through. Opened in 1912, the park is 3.6 hectares large and is home to thousands of plants.
Walk along the water’s edge on Drottningarbraut which is the road that leads to Akureyri airport. Marvel at the beautiful fjord scenery during the day or watch for aurora activity in the night skies.
Walk down Hafnarstræti for shopping, restaurants and cafes. Iceland has many book store cafes where you can purchase a book and sit back and relax with a delicious coffee. There’s also a hot dog stand with outdoor seating along the road which serves a different variation of the famous Icelandic hot dog to the popular Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur in Reykjvaik.
If you’re shopping for something Icelandic, visit The Viking store where you can purchase Icelandic woollen jumpers on sale.
The best ice cream in Akureyri is at Ice Cream Shop Brynja. No matter how cold it is, it’s never too cold for ice cream, right?! We stumbled across Keilan Bowling Alley on a walk from the ice cream shop to the water. It’s like walking into a bowling alley of the 1950s. It was actually one of the coolest things we did in Iceland and when we finished our game, we walked outside to find the aurora shining bright in the skies above.
There are a couple of breweries worth visiting if you’re into craft beer. Bruggsmiðjan Brewery is the furthest from the city centre but Ölstofa Akureyrar and Giant Viking Beer Can are much closer. We were told Einstök Ölgerð, or the Einstök Brewery, wasn’t accessible to the public while we were there and it’s now listed as permanently closed.
If you’re driving in to town from Húsavík along the ring road, keep your eyes peeled for a lookout spot along Þjóðvegur where you’ll be greeted with beautiful views across the fjord to Akureyri.
We didn’t get time to visit any of Akureyri’s museums but there are many to choose from including the Motorcycle Museum of Iceland, Akureyri Art Museum and the Icelandic Aviation Museum.
We visited Akureyri in autumn but during winter the city transforms into a ski resort town with ski slopes open to the public. There are also whale watching cruises which depart from a wharf on Drottningarbraut.
Where’s your favourite spot in Iceland? Let me know in the comments below!