Akureyri is a charming town located in the northern part of Iceland. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and variety of activities, it is no wonder why it is becoming a popular destination for travelers from all around the world. Here are some of the top things to do in Akureyri that our team would like to recommend and you won’t want to miss.
Visit the Akureyri Church
The Akureyri Church is one of the most famous landmarks in the city and is definitely worth a visit. The church was built in 1940 and is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, with its stunning stained glass windows and intricate woodwork. The church’s interior is simple but elegant, with white walls and high ceilings that create a feeling of spaciousness and calm. Visitors can admire the beautiful organ, which was built in Germany and has over 3,000 pipes. The church’s bell tower houses three bells, which ring out across the city on special occasions. One of the most interesting things about the Akureyri Church is that it is a working church, meaning that services are held here regularly. Visitors are welcome to attend services, which are held in Icelandic, and experience the peaceful and contemplative atmosphere of the church.
Explore the Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden in Akureyri (Lystigarður Akureyrar) is a true gem and a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the city. The garden is located in the heart of the city and offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The garden is situated on a hillside overlooking the town and provides spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The Botanical Garden is open from early June until the end of August and offers visitors a chance to explore a wide variety of plant species from all over the world. The garden boasts over 7,000 different species of plants, making it one of the largest botanical gardens in Iceland. The garden is divided into different sections, including an arboretum, rock garden, herb garden, and a collection of Icelandic plants. One of the highlights of the garden is the collection of Arctic plants, which includes a variety of species that are unique to the region. Visitors can also explore the arboretum, which features a wide range of trees and shrubs from around the world, including some rare and exotic species. The garden also has a café where visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee or a light snack while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding area. There is also a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and gifts, including plants and seeds to take home.
Go skiing at Hlíðarfjall
If you’re a fan of winter sports, skiing at Hlíðarfjall is an absolute must when visiting Akureyri. This ski resort is one of the best in Iceland and offers an unforgettable skiing experience. Located just a short drive from the city, Hlíðarfjall has a variety of slopes suitable for all levels of skiers, from beginners to advanced. The resort features 6 lifts and 23 runs, with a total length of over 20 kilometers. The longest run is an impressive 5.5 kilometers and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and fjords. In addition to skiing, Hlíðarfjall also offers snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. The resort has several trails for cross-country skiing, ranging from 3 to 17 kilometers in length. Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the beautiful winter landscape and there are several guided tours available. If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, Hlíðarfjall has a ski school with experienced instructors who can teach you the basics or help you improve your skills. The ski rental shop has all the necessary equipment for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. One of the best things about skiing at Hlíðarfjall is the stunning scenery. The resort is situated on the slopes of a mountain overlooking the fjord and the city of Akureyri. On clear days, you can see all the way to the ocean and the surrounding mountains. After a day of skiing or other winter activities, you can relax and warm up in the resort’s cozy restaurant or cafe. The restaurant serves a variety of Icelandic and international dishes, including local specialties like lamb and seafood.
Visit the Christmas House
The Christmas House, also known as Jólahúsið, is a popular attraction in Akureyri, especially during the holiday season. This charming shop is located in the heart of downtown and is known for its festive decor and unique collection of Christmas-themed items. Walking into the Christmas House is like stepping into a winter wonderland. The store is adorned with Christmas lights, garlands, and ornaments, and the air is filled with the sweet scent of gingerbread and mulled wine. The shop is filled with a wide range of Christmas items, from traditional Icelandic ornaments to handmade decorations from around the world. One of the popular items at the Christmas House is Icelandic Christmas food. They offer a wide range of traditional Icelandic treats, such as smoked lamb, skyr cake, and Laufabrauð (Icelandic leaf bread). These are great options if you’re looking for a unique holiday gift or if you want to try something new during your visit to Akureyri. The Christmas House is also known for its friendly and helpful staff, who are always happy to answer questions and offer recommendations. They take great pride in their store and are passionate about sharing the magic of Christmas with visitors from around the world. Whether you’re visiting Akureyri during the holiday season or any other time of year, the Christmas House is a must-visit destination. Its festive atmosphere and unique collection of Christmas-themed items make it a fun and memorable experience for visitors of all ages.
Whale watching is a popular activity in Akureyri and the surrounding waters, which are home to several species of whales, including humpback whales, minke whales, and even the occasional orca. Whale-watching tours depart regularly from the harbor, giving visitors the opportunity to see these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat. One of the advantages of whale watching in Akureyri is the location. Akureyri is situated in a sheltered fjord, which makes for calm waters and less choppy conditions than some other areas in Iceland. This means that even those prone to seasickness can enjoy the experience without too much discomfort. The whale-watching tours are led by experienced guides who have a wealth of knowledge about the local marine life. They will provide visitors with interesting information about the whales and their behavior, as well as the surrounding area. In addition to the whales, visitors may also spot other marine creatures, such as dolphins and porpoises, and a variety of sea birds, including puffins. Whale-watching tours are available year-round in Akureyri, with the best time to see whales being between April and October. Some tour operators even offer a “whale guarantee,” which means that if no whales are seen during the tour, visitors can take another tour free of charge. Akureyri is the perfect place to go whale watching. The waters around the town are home to a variety of whales, including humpback whales, minke whales, and blue whales. Taking a tour with a knowledgeable guide is a great way to learn more about these magnificent creatures.
The Akureyri Art Museum is a must-visit for any art enthusiast. This museum features a collection of Icelandic and international contemporary art, as well as works from local artists. The museum’s permanent collection includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations, which provide a glimpse into the country’s rich cultural heritage. One of the highlights of the museum is the Icelandic folk art collection, which includes paintings, sculptures, and other objects that depict Iceland’s traditions and way of life. The collection is a fascinating insight into the country’s history and is sure to delight visitors of all ages. The museum also features a rotating schedule of temporary exhibitions, which showcase the works of both established and emerging artists. These exhibitions cover a range of topics and artistic styles, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to see. Visitors to the museum can also take part in various educational programs and workshops, including lectures, talks, and guided tours. These programs offer an opportunity to learn more about the art on display, as well as the artists and their creative processes.
The Akureyri Art Museum is housed in a beautiful building that was originally built as a school in 1916. The building underwent a major renovation in the 1990s and was transformed into the museum that we know today. The architecture of the building is a combination of old and new, with the original schoolhouse exterior beautifully preserved, and a modern interior that provides a stunning backdrop for the artwork. For art lovers, the Akureyri Art Museum is a must-visit.
Relax at the Myvatn Nature Baths
Mývatn Natural Baths is a popular geothermal spa located near the town of Reykjahlíð, about an hour and a half drive from Akureyri. The spa is situated in an area known for its geothermal activity, surrounded by volcanic craters and bubbling mud pools. The warm and soothing water in Mývatn Natural Baths is rich in minerals and is said to have healing properties for various skin conditions and other ailments. The spa has a range of indoor and outdoor pools, steam baths, and saunas, all heated naturally by geothermal energy. One of the unique features of Mývatn Natural Baths is the picturesque view of the surrounding volcanic landscape. Visitors can relax in the warm water and take in the stunning views of the nearby mountains and volcanic craters. The outdoor pools are especially popular during the winter months when visitors can soak in the warm water and watch the Northern Lights dance across the sky. The spa also has a restaurant on-site, offering a variety of Icelandic cuisine and drinks. The menu features local ingredients, such as Arctic char and lamb, and the restaurant has a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. We also offer a variety of tours that include the stop at Mývatn Natural Bath here.
Go on a horseback riding tour in Akureyri
Horseback riding is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Akureyri. The region is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in Iceland, and exploring them on horseback is a truly unforgettable experience. There are several horseback riding tours available in Akureyri, ranging from short rides through the countryside to multi-day treks that take you deep into the wilderness. No matter which tour you choose, you’ll be able to see the stunning beauty of Iceland’s landscapes up close and personal. One popular option is to take a ride through the scenic trails of the Hliðarfjall mountain. This tour takes you through the lush forests of the mountain, with breathtaking views of the surrounding fjords and valleys. Another popular ride takes you through the beautiful countryside surrounding Akureyri. You’ll be able to see traditional Icelandic farms and houses, as well as the lush green fields and rolling hills that make up the region. For those who want to combine horseback riding with a bit of relaxation, there are tours that take you to the Mývatn Natural Baths. You’ll be able to soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters of the baths after your ride while taking in the beautiful surroundings. No matter which horseback riding tour you choose in Akureyri, you’ll be able to experience the beauty of Iceland’s landscapes in a unique and unforgettable way. Iceland is famous for its horses, and taking a horseback riding tour is a great way to experience the country’s natural beauty. There are several companies in Akureyri that offer horseback riding tours, ranging from short rides to multi-day adventures.
Explore the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, is a natural phenomenon that can be witnessed in the northern hemisphere. Akureyri located in the northern part of Iceland is one of the best places to witness this breathtaking spectacle. There are several tour operators in Akureyri that offer Northern Lights tours. These tours are usually conducted at night, as the Northern Lights are most visible after dark. The tour operators will take you to a location away from the light pollution of the city, where you can witness the lights dancing in the sky. The Northern Lights are caused by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and the Earth’s atmosphere. The lights can appear in a range of colors, including green, pink, and purple. They are constantly changing and moving, creating a mesmerizing display that is truly unforgettable. To increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights, we recommend you book a tour during the winter months when the nights are longer and darker. Additionally, it’s important to dress warmly and bring hot drinks and snacks, as the tours can last for several hours.
Take a day trip to the nearby attractions
If you have more time to spend in Akureyri, taking a day trip to the surrounding areas is a great way to explore more of Northern Iceland. There are many options for day trips, depending on your interests and the season. One popular day trip is to visit the town of Húsavík, which is known as the “Whale Watching Capital of Europe.” From Akureyri, you can take a scenic drive along the coast to Húsavík and join a whale-watching tour. You may have the opportunity to see humpback whales, minke whales, dolphins, and even the rare blue whale. After the tour, you can explore the charming town of Húsavík and visit the whale museum to learn more about these magnificent creatures. Another popular day trip is to visit the volcanic area of Lake Mývatn, which is about an hour’s drive from Akureyri. Here you can see unique geological formations, hot springs, and bubbling mud pots. There are also several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Don’t forget to visit the Mývatn Nature Baths for a relaxing soak in the geothermal waters. If you’re visiting in the winter, a day trip to the nearby town of Dalvík for skiing or snowboarding at the local ski resort, located in the mountains overlooking the fjord, is a great option. The resort offers both downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as snowshoeing and snowmobiling. For those who are interested in Icelandic history, a day trip to the nearby island of Hrísey is a great choice. Hrísey is the second-largest island in Iceland and has a rich history dating back to the Viking era. You can take a ferry from Akureyri to the island and explore the local museum and hiking trails. You can find more tours from Akureyri here.
Taking a day trip from Reykjavík to Akureyri
Taking a day trip to Akureyri from Reykjavik is also a great option for those who want to experience the best of both worlds. Domestic flights depart several times a day from Reykjavik to Akureyri, with a flight time of only about 45 minutes. Once in Akureyri, you can explore all that this charming town has to offer, including the many attractions and activities mentioned above. And for those who only have a limited amount of time to spend in Iceland, a day trip to Akureyri allows you to see a different part of the country without having to spend too much time or money on travel. In addition, taking a domestic flight between Reykjavik and Akureyri offers stunning aerial views of Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes, including glaciers, volcanoes, and rugged coastlines. It’s truly a unique and unforgettable experience.
If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, don’t miss the opportunity to explore this charming town and all it has to offer. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply relaxing and taking in the stunning scenery, Akureyri has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of Iceland’s most beautiful destinations.